I’ve been on a huge YA kick this year. You can actually read more about my opinions on the why of that in my guest post over at Nadia Lee’s blog. I flipping LOVE YA. In that vein I like to recommend all the YA I read that I like.
***WARNING: SERIOUS PIMPAGE BELOW***
Hush Money is the debut title from my dear crit partner Susan Bischoff. I would, of course, be pimping her book no matter what, but it helps that it’s FLIPPING AWESOMESAUCE. Fresh voiced, teen, superhero romance sans sparklay vamps or werewolves or fairies with a very real life heroine and hero who aren’t annoying. What’s not to love?
I’ll tell you: nothing.
From the book description:
They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. For Talents, keeping their secret is the most important thing in their lives. For some, that need for secrecy begins to define who they are.
That’s how it is for Joss, a high school girl who does everything in her power to go unnoticed. She’s incredibly bright, but strives to maintain grades that are good yet not too good. She doesn’t participate in school activities, keeps quiet in class, eats by herself. Despite her longtime crush on Dylan, she wouldn’t even think about trying to talk to him. Joss doesn’t make friends of any kind, because friends can draw attention, friends can make you slip up, friends can make things complicated.
When new girl, Kat, steps in to rescue Joss from an uncomfortable situation with Marco, the class jerk, she doesn’t realize what she’s getting into, and it blows up in her face. Joss finds herself torn between a desire to do the right thing, to find some way to help a girl who was kind to her; and her need to mind her own business and fade into. For the first time, Joss begins to question the way she operates, and starts to long for connections with other people–especially a connection with Dylan, who’s finally starting to talk to her.
But what’s up with Dylan’s sudden interest? As Marco’s best friend, can he be trusted at all?
It’s bad enough when a girl’s got to worry about friends, boys, over-protective dads, and shoes that pinch, but when you throw in blackmail, government agents with guns, and really annoying little sisters…that’s just about too much to handle, even for a girl with an ass-kicking superpower.
“Come on now, son. Let’s not make this difficult,” the agent said to Phil.
“Difficult how?” Phil asked. “You mean like this?”
His eyes turned bright red, glowed, and then a beam of red light shot up to the ceiling. It popped with a little burst of flame and rained plaster down on the agents. Everyone jumped back, someone screamed, and then the room seemed to freeze.
“That’s it. We need everyone on the ground, now!” The agents drew weapons, but they were just Tasers. They’d hurt like hell, incapacitate, but they probably wouldn’t kill anyone. I wasn’t so sure about Phil. Still, as much as a dumbass as Phil was, he was kindred, a Talent, and these guys were jack-booted thugs. No way I was lying down to make their jobs easier.
And then it happened. So fast. The lead agent took aim at Phil, pulled back on the trigger and I just reacted, flinging out that invisible line in my mind like a whip, wrapping it around the weapon, yanking hard. What everyone saw was the gun flipping out of his hand and landing on the carpet several feet away. The electrodes meant for Phil pinged harmlessly against the stone fireplace.
Phil was reacting too, though, this time aiming his vision at the agent and hitting him in the shoulder. The man screamed, clamping a hand over the spurt of flame from his clothing and dropping to the ground. The other three agents, also unable to hold onto their weapons, rushed toward Phil.
And that’s when the dolls started to move.
Hush Money is a novel of approximately 50,000 words, and is rated PG-13 for strong language and one suggestive scene. It is recommended that parents read the sample provided by their retailer before purchasing this book for tweens/younger teens.