Rating: 3.75 stars
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Length: Novel

Two exciting but unsettling worlds collide for Krish when he gets the opportunity to be an intern on the Warped Tour. No one knows Krish as the blog writer, Guru, and he intends on keeping it that way for a number of reasons. Right now, he is focused on two things: getting a chance at landing his dream job as a contributing writer at a prominent music magazine and finally meeting his crush, lead singer and bass player for Hush, Silas Franklin. Both things are within his grasp and when he finally meets Silas, it’s as if kismet ordained it.

Krish and Silas immediately have a connection and realize they share both similar interests and a deep emotional connection develops between them. But Krish grapples with the guilt of not revealing to Silas who he really is and, with each passing moment, he fears that if he doesn’t confess soon, it may be a death knell for the rapidly growing emotional bond they are both experiencing. Could it be love so soon, or is Krish just blinded by the reality of being close to someone he’s admired for so long?

R.L. Merrill gives us what I think might be the first novel in a new series focusing on a member of the metalcore band, Hush. Summer of Hush introduces us to all the members of the group and gives us just a taste of the idea that all hide something in their past that has shaped them into who they are today. Beginning with Silas and his online crush for the Guru (aka Krish), the novel takes us through some pretty insane moments on the start of their summer tour and musical comeback after the sudden death of one of their members. While we never really seem to get the full story on why Gavin chose to commit suicide, the band is still reeling from the event a year after it happened. Now with a new guy in his place, they are trying to get their careers back on track and secure their place as top performers.

Alongside this minor plot point, the author gives us a tiny bit of information on each member and what I felt became some strange moments featuring them in order to reveal they have a backstory that has left behind issues they are still dealing with today. One scenario, in particular, is what happens to Brains, their drummer, that sparks this seemingly over-the-top attraction to a virtual stranger, Paul. I wish I could go into more detail, but I think that would lend itself to some spoilers that might ruin the novel for you. Suffice it to say, it was such a strange segue into divulging that Brains had some past secrets that I really thought it was just so implausible as to actually be ridiculous. This began to happen pretty often and we would have these sudden dramatic turns in the story that seemed designed just to indicate that further books may be waiting in the wings about other band members. If that’s not the case, then I must say I think there are some major dangling plot points that never got resolved in this particular book.

Having noted that, let me focus on Krish, who I really enjoyed and grew to love and Silas, who also was lovely to meet. Theirs was almost an insta-love situation that was only mitigated by the fact that they were both crushing on each other for over a year or more through Krish’s online blogging. Though they had never met in the flesh, they had a mutual attraction and bond over the fact that they both had a tragic loss in their lives. The feelings that accompanied that time gave them common ground on which to build a mutual admiration and desire to meet. When they finally do get together, it’s no surprise that there is an immediate connection and intense emotional bond. While I still think the “I Love You” portion came too quickly, their story line was the most solid and believable to me and I really enjoyed watching them overcome the obstacles to get to their happy ever after.

Krish felt so genuine to me—between his guilt over hiding who he was from Silas and his often taking the time to go off alone and try to work through all the conflicting and rapidly surfacing feelings he had for Silas, I really got to know this character and liked him immensely. Silas, too, tugged at my heart. His desire to be seen as someone who was stronger than everyone gave him credit for being and his instinctive role as father hen to the rest of the guys endeared him to me right off the bat. Needless to say, these two together made for an almost perfect match.

While Summer of Hush had a few problems here and there, it was still a strong novel that focused on healing and a gentle kind of love that was really very sweet. With lots of action and heaps of emotional pathos, I think the author writes a solid story that many will enjoy.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.