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Patch is the primary romantic interest in Hush, Hush, but he's also a serious candidate for primary villain status throughout most of the book. While his sexiness is never in question, the question of whether he's good or bad really drives the conflict in the novel. After all, he's a fallen angel—he can't help but be a mix of good and evil.
Author Becca Fitzpatrick has emphasized that he's meant to be the ultimate bad boy and the type of character who provokes opinionated reactions from people:
He's a very strong character, one readers will either love or hate. I like that about him. He doesn't care what people think of him, and as an author, that makes him incredibly fun to work with. I don't feel like I'm always looking over my shoulder, trying to make him likable. He is who he is, deal with it. (Source.)
So let's weigh Patch's various roles, and then you can decide for yourself whether you're on team Patch.
Let's start superficially, shall we? In terms of looks, Patch definitely fits the romantic lead mold with his "long, lean muscles down his arms, broad but relaxed shoulders, and a smile that was part playful, part seductive" (2.11). He's also so ripped that when Nora pushes her hands against his stomach, it is "so hard even his skin didn't give" (26.66). Get this guy on the cover of a romance novel—Patch definitely adheres to conventional expectations for male hunkiness.
Dashing good looks aside, Patch is the kind of guy who can takes total command of a situation. From the beginning of the book, we know that Patch has the ability to establish strong holds over other characters. In the prologue, he commands Chauncey to swear his fealty, which he does. And after just a few interactions with Patch, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, noting, "I was in an uneasy alliance with myself, trying to ignore what had started to feel irresistible" (2.11). You know when you watch reality talent competitions and judges talk about the "it" factor? Whatever "it" is, Patch has it—and people can't resist it.
With such an impressive physical appearance and dominating presence, is it any wonder that Patch has inspired more than a few Man Crush Mondays? Alas, it seems Patch has made some bad choices involving women in the past. To start, the whole reason he fell from heaven was because he lusted after a human woman.
He also calls his relationship with Dabria "a mistake" (23.123), and while he can't control Dabria's behavior, there is a hint from her tirade against him (25.70) that perhaps Patch didn't do a very good job breaking up with her and moving on to his new relationship in a respectful way.
When Patch's attention turns to Nora, he pursues her relentlessly, showing up at the same places she is, initiating physical contact, making her think there's something wrong with her cell phone and his car engine so she can't get away from him, and objectifying her by making frequent comments about her appearance. Will things be different with Nora then with the girls he has pursued in the past? The verdict's still out, but so far, it looks like he sees Nora more as a trophy to be gained than a whole person.
Let's face it: Patch is kind of a tool, especially toward the beginning of the book. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and he's willing to take, use others, and even kill to get it.
The primary thing Patch wants, besides Nora, is a human body, and he's focused on finding a way to kill his vassal, Chauncey, in order to get it. Okay, so Chauncey isn't likable at all, and no one would really mind if he were out of the picture, but Patch still wants to kill the guy for his own purposes instead of, say, the greater good. In this light, Patch comes off as a user and a loser.
Patch has stuff. He has a motorcycle and a nice black Jeep that he wins in a pool game, and when Nora calls him from Portland for help, he says he has been "winning a condo" (21.81). He drops hundos like it's nobody's business, so even though he insists to Nora that he's not actually as loaded as it seems, appearances strongly suggest otherwise. Dude can definitely come up with cash when he needs to. Since Nora and her mom are financially strapped, Patch's provider vibe and material comfort may add to his allure, though she never says as much outright.
The alluring bad boy is nothing new in YA literature or literature in general, but Patch takes it to a pretty extreme level. In a flashback, Dabria says Patch wants to kill Nora, and he admits to coming very close to killing her a few times—you know, by hurling her off a rollercoaster or stabbing her with the knife he uses to make tacos. Each time, though, he stops short at the last second because there's something about Nora that "change[s] his mind" (23.150). Aw? Even before Nora knows these specifics, she repeatedly says she does not feel safe around Patch.
There is also the implication of a fight between Patch and Dabria in which he tears her wings off, but that happens off the page. Still, nothing establishes someone as a predator more than ripping the wings from their prey, making them unable to easily flee.
Okay, so you may have just let out a big, "Huh?" Didn't we just talk about how Patch is predator? Yep, we did. What can we say? Dude's complex.
Of course, rescuers and predators do have some of the same qualities. In particularly, they both require power and strength in difficult (if not downright dangerous) situation. Patch comes to Nora's aid various times in the book: He picks her up in Portland after she witnesses the bag lady's murder; he rescues her from the farmhouse after Dabria sets it on fire; and he refuses her sacrifice, the biggest rescue of all because it saves Nora from death.
After refusing Nora's sacrifice and saving her life, Patch morphs into a guardian angel. The method of Nora's sacrifice—a literal fall from a rafter—acts as a reflection of Patch's earlier fall from heaven. But this time, he rejects the fall and reverses it. Perhaps someone's ready to walk the straight and narrow going forward.
Patch enters Hush, Hush a dangerous Don Juan, but he flies out of it as a guardian angel. Fitzpatrick has said that Patch's evolution is an important part of this book and the others in the series:
In Hush, Hush he starts off as the story's villain. He's not a good guy. Over the course of the series, readers watch his character evolve from a selfish, unfeeling bad boy to someone struggling for redemption, someone capable of love. We also see Patch, a tough and fiercely independent character, navigate his feelings for Nora and his dependence on her. Dependence isn't always about giving up freedom or making yourself weaker; it can be realizing you're stronger together. (Source.)
After considering various facets about his character and Fitzpatrick's thoughts about him, what do you think? Do you love Patch or do you hate him? As this book ends, we're thinking he's best described as a work in progress. For more on his relationship with Nora, swing by her page elsewhere in this section.