EROTICA

Hush

Interlude. May 2015. 278p. ISBN 9781941530276. pap. $15.99. EROTICA
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Quirky college student Wren is one of the "gifted," a blanket term for people who possess varying levels of telepathy. In Wren's case, he can sense people's thoughts and emotions, but his true power lies in manipulating them and in projecting his own desire onto others. Cam is a quiet boy who escaped farm life in Nebraska for city life in Chicago, although he finds it difficult to embrace the wild college lifestyle of parties and hookups. The two have an unspoken electricity that sparks in their stats class; though Wren can detect and compel attraction, he has to admit that this boy has a power over him as well. Yet ever since his heartbreak, Wren made a rule never to "play" with someone for too long. All his life, Cam has been zipped up and shut tight, but Wren has him spilling wide open. Once the two acknowledge their connection, will they be able to work past their insecurities and make it more than just a game? In her debut novel, Sierra explores Cam's emotional confinement and burgeoning self-discovery with poetic delicacy, as she does with Wren's guilt and complete fear of relinquishing himself to the vulnerability of a relationship. Through a great deal of character exposition, Sierra skillfully captures the frustration of navigating identity and interpersonal relationships for those to whom it doesn't come easy. The subtle twist of fantasy enhances the narrative while also complicating the notion of consent, particularly for Wren.
VERDICT This new adult novel plays on the tamer side of erotic, but it is a worthy read and a valuable addition to the genre.

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