Maybe it's 'cause I didn't have a religious upbringing, so I'm totally ignorant about such things, but I always associated angels with adorable cherubs and the occasional porcelain Christmas-tree topper. Was I missing out on all the hot, brooding, misunderstood, winged guys they were teaching you about in Sunday school? Well, I'm making up for lost time now, let me tell you, with two new YA books: "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick and "Fallen" by Lauren Kate. (Check back here later for a Book Report on "Fallen.")
Patch doesn't exactly sound like the kind of angel you'll see on an ornament anytime soon. Despite the silly name, he's kind of a classic bad boy. He's the black-eyed, lean, cocky senior transfer that 10th-grader Nora Grey is forced to partner with biology class. (Is a whole new generation of girls suddenly very interested in bio these days?) He seems to know everything about her, right down to her college ambitions and her love of baroque music, and something about him scares Nora a whole lot. But something else about him makes her want to know more.
Nora herself could be considered a typical YA protagonist: She's good in school, writes for the school ezine, has never really been interested in the boys at her school, nor has she bothered trying to fit in with the in crowd. But she is set apart by a few things: the horrible murder of her father in a robbery a year ago, her impulsive attraction to Patch, her slightly insane bravery and her spunky, boy-crazy best friend, Vee.
There's also the fact that you can't just brush off Patch as a misunderstood bad boy, because though Nora's having a hard time resisting his relentless flirting, she also can't ignore the fact that some very scary stuff has been happening since he showed up: a masked man jumping in front of her moving car, a near-death experience on an amusement park ride and then an actual assault at gunpoint on someone she cares about. And by the way, these action sequences are riveting — almost as much as the moments when Patch stands just a little to close to Nora. (Shivers.)
Why shouldn't she blame all this on him? He's got a wicked temper, spends all his time in pool halls and won't tell her a thing about himself. Of course, it could be the seemingly perfect other new guy, Elliot, who's also very interested in Nora and who may or may not have had something to do with the suspicious death of a girl at his old prep school.
You'll notice I haven't mentioned angels in a while. Revealing the whole fallen-angel mythology behind the story would basically mean spoiling a lot of the book. Just know that there are fallen angels, the half-human offspring of fallen angels called Nephilim (who have a pretty good reason for resenting the angels), the Nephilims' descendants and a whole lot of sexual tension mixed in just to complicate matters. And if they taught you all of that in Sunday school, I am sorry I missed out.