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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Goodreads
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.
I cannot say enough about Don't Breathe a Word. It stole my heart and haunted my dreams. I couldn't stop thinking about it after I put it down, and it took me over a week to figure out what I could possible read next that could live up to the enjoyment and satisfaction I got out of reading this powerful novel.

Joy's story answers the question: How far would someone go to escape their own life?

Her plan is to disappear in plain sight. She walks out of her comfortable existence, away from the safety of her home, her loving but overprotective family and her perfect but controlling and verbally abusive boyfriend to find the only person she thinks can possibly understand - a homeless boy named Creed who sees past the facade.

To rid herself of the old, she has to start from scratch but the journey isn't what she thought it would be. It's dangerous and frightening, and, even though she's stumbled upon him several times before, Creed is nowhere to be found. It isn't until she's lost everything - possessions, money and her medication - that they cross paths, but the reception isn't as warm as she'd hoped.

Reluctantly, Creed and his band of Ave Rats take her in and teach her how to make it on the streets. They look out for each other, panhandle for cash, dumpster dive for food, and even break the law in an effort to survive.

Told in flashes of past and present, Don't Breathe a Word is captivating and terrifyingly at the same time. Weighty social issues like homelessness, drug use and prostitution are exposed in gritty detail. This moving story about people struggling to find their place in the world, some of whom are in danger of losing themselves along the way, will wring out your emotions like a wet dishcloth. In places, it will knock the wind right out of you.

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2012 and remains one of my favorite reads of 2011. To recap the note I sent to author Holly Cupala after I turned the last page, "it was A-FREAKING-MAZING." I could evangelize on behalf of Don't Breathe a Word until the cows come home, but you simply have to read it yourself to experience each heartbreaking and heartwarming moment. It is definitely a book that will stick with me for a long time.


  1. I'm gonna be reading this soon! Very glad that you loved it so much. Now I can't wait to get to it!

  2. Not my usual genre. Not my usual themes. But I think I'll give this one a try. awesome review :)