I’ve been looking forward to Heroes ‘Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff since I finished Hush Money (see review here). When Ms. Bischoff signed on with an agent, I was sure it’d be forever before this book saw the light of day. Lucky for us, Ms. Bischoff decided to stick with the indie route and put Heroes ‘Til Curfew on the market now rather than later. 🙂 So the blurb from her website:
All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?
a longer version…
In the world of the Talents, kids with supernatural powers are condemned to government research facilities from which they do not return. For a Talent, the most important thing is keeping the secret…
–Six weeks ago, Dylan Maxwell slugged it out with his best friend. Over a girl.
But Marco had it coming. After all, it looked like he was going to use his supernatural strength to kill Joss Marshall. That should have been the end of it, but Marco’s got bigger plans for crime in Fairview than Dylan ever understood. This time he’s going after the town’s merchants with a crime wave that threatens Joss’s family’s business and all the Talents’ secrets.
–Six weeks ago, Joss Marshall was alone.
Now there’s Dylan. It’s not always comfortable being just friends with the guy she’s had a crush on forever. And the more she learns about the boy with the easy smile, who always seems to know what to say, the more she learns how much they have in common. He’s so much more than she understood, and so much more than she could stand to lose.
That was then, this is now.
And now, everything changes.
Where as Hush Money was a suburban fantasy, Heroes’ til Curfew was more of a paranormal romance. An interesting change, which I didn’t expect, but at at the same time, didn’t surprise me, considering the ending of Hush Money.
Heroes ‘Til Curfew started off a bit slower than Hush Money. For a while, I was afraid it’d lack the fast paced action I loved in Hush Money. Reading Hush Money was like sprinting a marathon — all go, go, go! Heroes ‘Til Curfew, on the other hand, started off walking, then picked up to an easy jog with a couple of burst of energy which led to a wee bit of running. For the most part, the pacing was more typical of what I’d expect in a novel, so definitely not a bad thing.
So paranormal romance I say? The romance started off sweet… rather innocent. Cute, I’d say… then it turned intense and hot. At times, it was like being in an adult novel. Good thing? Bad thing? I don’t know. It’s easy to pretend that teenagers don’t have similar feelings as adults… simply because we want them to be sweet and innocent. However, if you’ve spent time in high schools, as I have, you’re likely to come across some hot make-out sessions. Excuse me, young lady, but I believe your need to pull your skirt down and get off his lap.
In this sequel, sex seemed to play a huge role in the plot… not that the characters were having sex, but rather sexual issues weren’t skirted and sex seemed to influence many of the actions (heroes and villains alike). One thing I did notice was Ms. Bischoff truly tried to address the issues of rape in this work. I read quite a bit of criticism on the subject in Hush Money. This time around, I got the impression she wanted to clear up any misconceptions.
Overall, I think Ms. Bischoff made a bold move to go as heavy as she did with the sexual undertone in a young adult novel. Then again, we see it on TV all the time… adults (20-30) playing high school students to get around the rules dealing with minors and sex. Though parents might be a little leery to let their kids read it, I think the story would go over well with high schoolers.
Would I let my daughters read it? If I were a parent who didn’t talk to my kids about sex, I’d say no. But since I do talk to my kids, I don’t see a problem with this work. Quite a few kids start dating in high school. They’re going to experience sexual feelings (emotionally and physically). Beating around the bush isn’t going to change that. Heroes ‘Til Curfew addresses some of those feelings without getting too physical (heavy petting and kissing only). Of course, being the parent I am, I’d end up talking to my daughters once they finished reading it.
The characters: I have to say, this was the cast of thousands. I honestly couldn’t keep up with most of them or their talents. I think it’d be real cool if Ms. Bischoff had an index of the characters and what they could do on her website. That would have been highly helpful while reading. For now, I’ll stick with the big players.
Josh was quite different this time around. She’d grown into her role as leader and advocate. No more hiding in the shadows, waiting for others to get out of the mess they got themselves into. She was a true player. The cautious side was still there — don’t get caught — but she wasn’t afraid to step forward. In Heroes ‘Til Curfew, her flaw was the inability to trust. Would she learn to let others help her?
Dylan… hmmm. He had quite a bit more of a point of view in this work. However, it still seemed mostly Josh’s story. His presence (other than being Josh’s love interest) seemed more to prove his worth to Josh. To show he was more than breakable glass. In truth, that really wasn’t his problem, but rather Josh’s perception of him (her problem). Again, her inability to trust others interfered with her relationships.
And the villain! Marco returns. We actually got an opportunity to spend some time in his head, and I loved it. At one time, I actually thought I understood him, thought he had some redeemable qualities, and he was just misunderstood due to his circumstances. I really rooted for him to have a pivotal moment and come around. Well, I’m not going to ruin the ending… you can read the story to see if he turned good or not.
The only thing I really didn’t like and think slowed the story down was the characters spent way too much time thinking. I’m not sure if it was intentional. Sometimes I thought it was, as side characters would note the contemplative silences. Hey, are you listening to me? Or characters would mentally yell at themselves to stop thinking so much. Personally, I would have preferred a bit of brevity in the internal dialogue area.
All in all, Hereos ’til Curfew was an excellent sequel to Hush Money.
By the way… am I the only one who thinks of Kick-Ass when reading the Talent Chronicles?
Tell me! Is that not Joss and her dad, or what?