Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: Hush by Stacey R. Campbell

I know, I know....two book reviews in as many days! I was gonna wait on this one, but I got a little to anxious, so without further ado, I bring you Book Review numero 2!

Title: Hush
Author: Stacey R. Campbell
Publisher: Green Darner Press. January 23, 2013
ISBN: 9780988478404
Summary: For small-town girl Blakely Henry, any hope of finding her biological parents died when she stopped believing in fairy tales and Disney princesses. That is, until she spots her boarding school’s new British exchange student, Max Ryder, staring at her. Why would a boy who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine be looking at her? Because Max knows something Blakely doesn’t. 
Following the tragic demise of one of Europe’s most beloved royal families, Max has stumbled upon information he thinks may lead to a lost royal heir, and now he is on a quest halfway around the world to see if he’s right. 
Sworn to secrecy by his university professor and the headmaster of Lakeview Academy, Max is admitted into an exchange program with the sole purpose of finding out the truth. But will his personal feelings for Blakely get in the way? 
When a stolen email surfaces, Blakely and her friends’ lives are threatened, and Max starts to question what he is really after.
From the exclusive rolling lawns of Canada’s most prestigious boarding school to the University of Saint Andrews’ hallowed grounds, Blakely’s quiet, unassuming life is turned upside down. Is she really who she thinks she is? Can she survive long enough to help Max unearth the truth?

I started reading this book because I recently received the ARC for book number two in this series via NetGalley. Personally, I don't like reading books out of order so I bought the ebook on Barnes & Noble and began reading. And I'm sure glad that I did!

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first. It's one of those 'lost princess' stories in which the girl is a princess but she doesn't know it, and the boy is responsible for discovering who she really is and keeping her safe when her royalty is confirmed. In general, I think that the whole 'lost princess' plot line is overdone and boring, but I was pleasantly surprised by 'Hush'.

First and foremost, I loved the characters. While they were a bit one-dimensional and maybe too typical, they were likable enough. Blakely, as the main female protagonist, was fairly easy to relate to despite her princess status. Max, with his British accent and his rugby skills, was quite easy to fall in love with. There was no question as to what Blakely saw in him. It was easy to develop a relationship with the two main characters, which is something that I think is extremely important when it comes to reading a book. I even found myself being drawn to the supporting characters and wondering what their thoughts and lives were like as I was reading.

I discussed the plot a bit earlier, but now I'd like to dig a little deeper. What I liked the most about this book is that it pulled me in. I did not want to put the book down, even after sleep began to overwhelm me. And even when I did, finally, put the book down, I immediately had to do a little 'review blurb' of what I was feeling in the moment.
"I cannot put this book down! Even now, I'm finding myself writing a review outline rather than sleeping and wishing that I could still be turning the pages (figuratively as I'm reading the ebook version) of the book. I told myself to put it down because it was probably best for me to save the rest of the book for the morning rather than staying up all night to read it. With just 100 pages left until the end, I'm thinking that staying up wouldn't be so bad--I doubt I'll sleep well without knowing the ending anyway. It's been quite a while since I've read a book that I was so reluctant to put down. I mean, I began reading at about 5pm and now, at nearly 11pm, I'm halfway done and yearning to read more. If this is how I feel about the book now, I can't wait to finish it…and to move on to number 2 in the series!"
What really got me was the mystery in the story. While I knew what was happening and who Blakely was from the beginning, the anticipation of her finding out who she was kept me interested and pushed me to read on. There were also the plot twists (I won't spoil it) that literally made me gasp! I love that Campbell emphasized the importance of family and friendship in the story as well. Blakely's family and friends played a big part in the story, rather just focusing on the relationship between Blakely and Max. 

I did love the relationship between Blakely and Max, though. I especially loved that it was not a love triangle! Frankly, I'm sick of books that play on the whole love triangle thing so this was definitely refreshing. The innocence of their relationship took me back to my own High School relationships. It was a sweet reminder of first love and it was beautifully written.

Another thing that I absolutely loved was the setting. There were a few different settings throughout the story but the one that stuck with me the most was Lakeview Academy. I attended a Boarding School as well, so I could imagine very clearly the school and the lives of those students. It definitely brought me back to my days as a high school student. The imagery that Campbell uses to describe all of the various settings, though, made it easy for me to visualize the scenery and made me feel like I was right there with them. 

There were some things that I didn't like, but they were pretty minor things in comparison to all of the things that I loved. While I loved the fact that the chapters were short and there were mixed POVs, the change of Point of View could be a bit confusing at times. Sometimes, the change made sense (like when chapters changed), at other times, changes were made right in the middle of a chapter and I wasn't sure who we were focusing on anymore. Another thing that I was a bit disappointed about was the climax. Maybe it's because I'd seen it coming but it felt a little anticlimactic to me. This was also a personal thing, but I couldn't imagine the climax scene in my head at all. After the climax, the ending did seem somewhat rushed and I kind of wish that we could have seen Blakely settle in to her role as Princess of Tamura a little better, but it turned out just fine in the end.

Overall, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I would certainly recommend it to my friends and followers. If you're looking for a good, light-hearted YA romance, this is the book for you! It is an easy read that will leave you intrigued. It took me just under a day to read it, so if you find yourself in the middle of a boring weekend, fill it with this read.

Star Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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