06 September 2011

{Book Review} Don’t Breathe A Word

By: Me My Shelf And I | 06 September 2011 at 12:01 AM | | | | | | | | | |


Don’t Breathe A Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Pages: 301
Source: ARC
Expected Pub Date: January 3rd 2012
Publisher: HaperTeen
Rating: 3 - 3.5 Birds

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.
Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

At 9p.m. I sat down to start Don’t’ Breathe A Word. 4 hours later I had finished it with out setting it down even once.

This is an honest, deep and powerful account novel, following Joy’s life which she feels she has lost control of. Not because she has made poor decisions, more because everyone makes her decisions for her. DBAW follows her as she tries to reclaim her life and mark it as her own.

I am finding more and more deep Cotemporary and Realistic Fiction novels landing in my lap these days and I am loving it. Trading one darkness, if you will, from the Vampire/Paranormal Romance side of things for the real life darkness’ that many people just call day to day life. I think that these books are all very relevant and give young people something to relate to with all the things they have to tackle day to day.

Don’t Breathe A Word takes you down to the basic's of living on the street. Survival and and making a way for yourself, coming from everything and going straight to having nothing, by way of choice. It never once paints life as an “Ave Rat” as an easy thing or a good life choice. While Joy makes the choice for herself to become a part of this world, others in her little “street family” were not so lucky to choose it.

Each member of her new street family has their own dark and disturbing vices and ways of survival. These things are mostly alluded to, not so much explained in any kind of detail. These parts of the book were my favorite, they leave you knowing what’s about to happen with out having say it. To grab someone with what you don’t say can almost always be more of a hard hitter, then by actually saying it.

My main complaint about Don’t Breath A Word was the ending. (And here you will find spoilers – so skip this if you don’t want to know any.) The ending was so far away from what I expected it to be. Let me explain it like this: You go through this buffet of emotions and circumstances with 4 different people, and come out at the end with a neatly wrapped up package tied up with a bow. Everyone in their place and a place for everyone.

It was hugely disappointing to be very honest. I was reminded of a 1990’s sit come where in a half hour they deal with some majorly traumatic situation and by the end you had everyone hugging it out and it was all better, and off they went for ice cream. It felt very forced, and unrealistic and not true to the story and in the end put a damper on the whole of the books amazing story that preceded it.

It’s not that I am a fan Happy Endings. I like them in moderation, but a story like this shouldn't have been quite so happy, if you see what I mean.

So we round out with a 3 – 3.5 Bird rating because the ending really did effect my take on the story as a whole that much. Endings a re huge for me, what can I say. That said, I did find it relevant and everything up to the point of the last 2 chapters or so, an intriguing story worth putting the time in to read.

Find Holly Cupala:

3 half birdsnew

amber copy

Thank you to the amazing people at HarperTeen who provided this ARC for us to review!


  1. Okay, I want to read this review and I will bookmark it to comment more later. I just wanted to say, welcome to the contemporary side, we have REAL cookies

    Please, excuse my randomness. Is one and something in the AM and I'm in a commenting vibe.

    - Mary [Anxirium]

  2. I can relate to those books that “It’s not that I don’t love happy endings but this one just doesn’t feel like it”... there are just some books which are not meant for those happy endings,..okay so I’m babbling here.

    Great and insightful review though:)


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