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Crescendo (Hush, Hush)

Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick
I read this for a sneak peek on Barnes and Noble. The cover of the book is appealing in a strange way. The black and white background with the falling red feather surely foreshadows something about the fallen angels, which is a theme of the first book in the series, Hush Hush, and this one, as well. It is an intriguing cover because the girl pictured in the foreground with a background of thunderous skies streaked with lightning seems a tragic, forlorn figure rather than a frightened one although she seems to have experienced some kind of trauma.
I wrote those words, as notes, before I read even a part of the book. I realize now that the cover really depicts Nora very well. She is brave and often ventures out into situations that should frighten her enough to keep her away, but she soldiers on, regardless. Perhaps her behavior is impetuous and foolish but the cover clearly shows who she is, a brave, but sad and sometimes confused protagonist.
At first, I read it with an eye to recommending it to my grandchild. However, it is recommended for 13 and up and she is only 11½. While, some books cross age lines, this one does not. It is too preoccupied with romance in addition to the bizarre supernatural themes running through it, as with so many current books today.
Early on, I questioned the main character's reactions to events in her life. On the one hand she seemed so responsible and on the other, she was totally impulsive and reacted without clearly thinking through what she was going to do. She just did as she pleased to "get back" at someone or to search for information which sometimes was private and which she had no right to investigate. She seemed to use people, at random, without thinking about the effects of her behavior on them or herself. It seemed immature, and a bit thoughtless, for someone who seemed more aware of the situation and its dangers. It is that behavior which really draws you into the book, I think. You are constantly wondering about whether or not she will succeed. You will sympathize with her plight but not always with her behavior.
The biblical references raise the standard of the book, for one can hope that the reader will investigate the words introduced, that they don’t understand, and decipher their importance and implications for the story in addition to dreaming about a potential lover and/or romance with a godlike creature who seems to be the symbol of everyone’s “bad boy” today.
The book made me wonder, is Nora a typical teenager? Are all young teens dreaming of nothing but romance and jumping into bed, satisfying their basic needs regardless of the consequences? It made me also wonder why so many female protagonists are often portrayed as selfish and immature, not acting out of cogent thought but out of the foolish impulse of a spoiled child. Why are so many of the males portrayed as tough guys who use females? Is there a message getting through to teens in a helpful way to teach them to think more clearly, to not act so impetuously and to think about the end results of their actions? It seems violence and lust are heavy themes in today's YA selections and I hope that the prevalence of these themes does not result in more “real” violent young adults who think there are no real consequences for their acts of foolishness.
Kids always do reckless things but today’s books seem to encourage that behavior because of their prevalence and because there are few repercussions for their behavior, in the story line. The behavior is often justified or explained away.
Perhaps educators could use the information about teen turmoil, with a selection of these books, to engage young adults and teach them how to make better, more thoughtful decisions. Why don't authors, who encourage this behavior by writing about it, also include messages, somewhere in their books, to discourage it? It is just a thought.
I did enjoy the book and I know that the young adults it is geared to, will also love it.