Study Guide

hush Summary

By Jacqueline Woodson

hush Summary

First, some truth: hush is not an edge-of-your-seat thriller. In terms of action, well, there's just not a lot. Most of the book is an internal monologue from the protagonist, Toswiah Green, as she comes to accept her family's changed situation and her new identity, Evie Thomas.

Here's the deal. Toswiah lives with her Mama, Daddy, and older sister, Cameron, in Denver, Colorado, where her father is a cop. Toswiah's family is black, while most of Denver is white.

One day, Toswiah's father sees two white cops gun down an unarmed black teenager, and he decides that testifying against them is the right thing to do, even though it means his family will have to enter witness protection, leaving behind everything they've ever known: their names, their identities, their house and car and stuff—even Toswiah's grandma and pet, Matt Cat.

When the novel opens, the move to a new town somewhere in the Northeast has already happened, and Toswiah (now Evie) and her family are learning to deal with it. Toswiah/Evie switches between what is happening in real time and memories of her life in Denver.

Each family member handles the identity crisis in a different way. Mama turns to religion, while Toswiah/Evie finds running; Cameron, now called Anna, devotes herself to her schoolwork so she can go to college early and get out of the situation. Daddy sits by a window all day, just staring out.

The crisis comes—but the also healing begins—with Daddy's unsuccessful suicide attempt. Toswiah/Evie begins to forgive her father, and he begins to return to himself as they appreciate what they almost lost: each other.

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