REVIEW: Hush Money (Talent Chronicles #1) by Susan Bischoff

Title: Hush Money
Author: Susan Bischoff
Series: Talent Chronicles #1
Date of Release: August 3rd 2010
Pages: 194

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.

The cover is very enchanting, the way the mist-like feature is un-curling around her face is as if her secret is slowly becoming uncovered and being revealed. It also highlights the secrecy around her and others abilities but the honest importance that revolves around them.

Joss has a secret. She has a Talent. And those who have a Talent must be revealed... immediately. But when people begin to become forced into Marco, the schools bully's plans, their futures and reputations are put to the test as it is revealed that they are being threatened, in the worst possible ways. Through this adventure they will uncover who is to be trusted and who shouldn't. But will someone stop him and find out his deepest, darkest secrets? Or will they all be wound around his finger with no chance of escape.

I will be honest, I really disliked the protagonist Joss, at times. She came across as very weak and, at times, became very selfish and did what was best for her even if the consequences could scar others lives. However, then at times, especially where her new friends and family were concerned, she would fully expose herself, in a way knowing no-one would suspect her. This confused me as to why she didn't help others when it was not always obvious she was the Talent in question. She was very caring though and always tried to put her family before herself, even if it meant her Talent would be revealed.

The plot really surprised me, I wasn't expecting the true mass of suspense and danger that would really be involved and portrayed. Additionally, the secrecy and conspiracies around what really goes on in the research facilities was really clever and instantly grabbed your attention. However, I found it was really strange how no-one even suspected she had a Talent especially because of how quiet and reserved she is.

Then we have the ending... cliffhanger! I am one of those people who actually loves a cliffhanger. There are still so many questions swimming around in my brain I found were unanswered, I just want to grab the next book and devour it.

I did enjoy certain aspects in this first instalment of the Talent Chronicles, so I do hope that in the second instalment, Heroes 'Til Curfew, to hopefully have at least a few of my questions answered. Furthermore I would like to see the development of Joss's character and see her hopefully grow stronger. 

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