Welcome to the world of crushes, teen and new adult angst, and unrealistic romance stories. Welcome to Paranormal Romance! What fans of this genre love about it is the romance you're just not going to get in any other setting. The unrealistic main character who cannot help but be attracted to the otherworldly type romantic interest. But, in the same instance, it is realistic, because you know you'd probably react the exact same way if some hot AF alien decided to show up in your living room one night. Now, I know this genre is more aimed at straight women, because we seem to have a flux of straight female romance writer's out there who want to create these types of stories, and I know that it gets a lot of stick for not being realistic and promoting "unhealthy" relationships, like Twilight, for example. Which is why this genre is geared towards older teens and adults only, people who are capable of separating fantasy from reality. But I promise this is a good addition to the genre, one that manages to avoid most of the "negative" tropes.
I am one of those fans, and have been since I was a teenager, so after three-four years of not reading much because of my degree and working two part-time jobs, I wanted to get back into the soul-sucking type of reading I used to do. And so I set out on a journey to rediscover Paranormal Romance, and stumbled across this beaut of a series. The Hush Hush Saga.
I picked the boxset of four books up from The Works for £12, so didn't invest much in the series, and was hooked by the first paragraph: "I walked into biology and my jaw fell open. Mysteriously adhered to the chalkboard was a Barbie doll, with Ken at her side. They'd been forced to link arms and were naked except for artificial leaves placed in a few choice locations. Scribbled across their heads in thick pink chalk was the invitation: WELCOME TO HUMAN REPRODUCTION (SEX)."
This told me a few things straight away: that it was for older teens, and wasn't going to wash over the important parts of a romance that younger books (for good reason) leave out; that it was going to have a realistic main character who is just as frustrated and flustered by sex ed class as the rest of us are/were; and that it was going to have some satire and humour. I also particularly loved the writing style and it's lack of empty descriptive prose, its use of an informal style in first person, and the way the formatting and layout was handled.
I read the entire four-book series in about five days. I got barely any work done, and was a walking reader-zombie for the most part of my life while devouring this epic story. But what is it about this book series that I loved so much? Well, it comes down to two things, plot and characters.
The plot of this series is actually something that could stand on its two legs without the romance, despite the romance taking the lead role in this party. It has sustenance to it, something I find lacking in other Paranormal Romance books, especially young adult ones. There's mystery involved, secrets, and an obvious "other world within the human world" vibe. But it's really the mystery that keeps this book going. Did I see Patch being a fallen angel coming? No! Well, yes because of the cover, but otherwise no. I knew he was something other than human, but there were no obvious signs to the specifics.
That brings me to my second favourite thing about this series: angels. This does not focus on the typical paranormal creatures (vampires, shifters, and demons), this focuses on something I have seen little of, and personally haven't read before. It was unique, something different, a fresh twist on the normal alpha male trope (more on that later in the blog), and an interesting complication in an already complicated relationship.
Patch, oh Patch! Despite his stupid name, he is an amazing love interest. There's so to him for you to unpack and sink your teeth into. He's complex, not controlling, realistic, and hurts just like normal men do. It's refreshing to see. He also isn't an alpha male, and this something that is addressed in the books. Nora wants to take part and take her place (purposefully remaining cryptic to not give spoilers away), and initially Patch hates the idea, but eventually they become an stoppable team. His and Nora's relationship is one that will go down in romance history for me. They are so strong, and they take on the angel world (quite literally) together. Neither of them stop fighting for each other. In that sense, it's very Romeo and Juliet (although, it doesn't have the same tragic ending).
That leads me to Nora, our kick-ass main character for the entire four-book series. She's pretty, flawed, takes charge, is smart, and knows her own limits and life. She knows what she wants, and she will stop at nothing to get it, despite some of the more traumatic bumps that happen along the way. Somehow she's always in danger (isn't that how these stories always go?) but she never gives up. She's one of my favourite heroines ever, and I would be quite interested to see her translated onto the big screen (really want a movie!).
Vee is the best friend of this story, and one that actually plays a really important role to Nora, one that doesn't just get chucked to the sideline the moment Nora has a boyfriend (my main issue with Twilight). They stay side-by-side until the very end, and that is something I admire the author for taking the time to do. She has probably one of the most colourful personalities in the whole fictional world of Hush Hush, and her story is just as interesting as Nora's, and could probably have its own book.
There you have it! If you're looking for an amazing young adult Paranormal Romance as a nice easy read, this is for you. What books would you recommend I read next?