Hush Money (Talent Chronicles #1)

ABOUT Susan Bischoff

Susan Bischoff
I’ve got a thing for love stories and superheroes. I’m working on something I call the Talent Chronicles. This series began with my desire for more superheroes! More romance! More Superhero!Romance. Talents are people born with supernatural abilities, trying to find their way in a w More...


They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities.

And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret–some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. And that’s where Hush Money begins…

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Kids with psychic abilities tend to mysteriously disappear when they get noticed. Joss has spent years trying to hide. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss, who is best friends with her long-time crush, who is actually talking to her. Life just got more complicated.

Hush Money is a novel of approximately 50,000 words, and is rated PG-13 for strong language and one suggestive scene. It is recommended that parents read the sample provided by their retailer before purchasing this book for tweens/younger teens.

I've always been drawn to Romance and romantic storylines. I've also always been drawn to superhero stories on TV and in movies. Unfortunately, movies and TV often fall short on the romance aspect, and comics often miss the point completely. So here are all these wonderful, heroic people, and fantastically creative plots, never living up to their romantic potential. I wanted to work on a series that would allow me to combine my love of both genres for all the readers out there who love the heroic characters and superhero vibe of shows like Buffy and Smallville, but keep watching for the soapy, melodramatic relationship drama. In my fictional world, Talents are people born with supernatural abilities. They represent a small percentage of the population, and through a natural progression of human nature, the Talents become feared and persecuted by the general population. The government, ever helpful, creates laws to “deal” with them, as well as a special agency, the National Institutes for Ability Control, or NIAC, as it is commonly known. Unfortunately, although NIAC is charged with protecting the Talents from themselves, as well as protecting the public, their purpose is also to study these phenomenal abilities. NIAC isn’t shy about stepping on civil liberties and human rights in the name of protecting the public and advancing science. And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret–some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. That’s where Hush Money begins the series, in which a high school girl must choose between keeping her secret and doing what’s right to save a friend.

You remember the early seasons of Smallville, back when Clark was mooning over Lana, they were all still in high school, and every week was an episode about stopping some isolated problem and the important thing was keeping his secret? If you're like me and really miss those days, Hush Money is absolutely for you. In a market that's positively flooded with stories about teen vampires or fairies, Bischoff provides a refreshing and absolutely believable world about teenagers with superpowers. Chloe Sullivan would have plenty of fodder for her Wall of Weird--in the best possible way!

In this debut novel, heroine Joss must come to question the deeply ingrained secret keeping behavior she's always lived by in order to do the right thing and help a friend who's being blackmailed by the class bully. Joss was so three-dimensional, I swear she had a locker next to mine in high school. She shared my disgust of the pink and girly, and she has this great crush on borderline bad-boy Dylan (who is exactly the right mix of rebellious and nice guy). I can't wait to see what Joss and her friends get up to in the next installment!

An absolute must read from this up and comer in the YA genre.
~Kait Nolan, author of the Mirus series

I had the honor of reading an advance copy of this book, and I just want to say, WOW! I occasionally read YA books, but I have to be in the mood for them. I wasn't exactly in the mood for a YA when I picked this up, but the writing style and characters sucked me in immediately. There were SO many funny lines in this book, things I wish I'd come up with. It's a very fun read.

I love the premise, that there are kids born with powers, known as Talents, and they're being taken off to this super-secret school where bad things happen. It created a real sense of urgency to the story. I love the comic book feel of this world Ms. Bischoff has created.

Bischoff has a talent for writing well-rounded, believable characters. Even her secondary characters are well-defined and believable. I loved Joss's kid sister. SO funny.

I can't wait for the next book in this series.
~Zoe Winters, author of the Preternaturals series