Review: Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Title: Don’t Breathe a Word
Paperback, 299 pages
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Book Summary:
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.

Don’t Breathe a Word is brilliantly beautiful. There really isn’t much to say here – when I was finished I closed the back cover and just kind of sat there, thinking about everything I had just read and how the ending came together and the lessons learned.

The characters were all amazingly built, with backgrounds and stories and lives that you cared about, even though they weren’t the main protagonist. I don’t know much about being homeless (basically all I know is what I’ve read in a book), so watching Joy struggle to just survive on the streets really opened my eyes. She had to worry about things I would never have even considered had I been thrown on the streets. And she doesn’t make the right decisions always, which makes it more of a realistic read – sometimes you read a book where a character gets in a compromised position and just perfectly figures out what they are doing and how to get out, but Cupala takes her topic seriously and writes it truly from Joy’s perspective.

I liked Holly Cupala’s debut, Tell Me A Secret, but Don’t Breathe a Word is a perfect example of why you should read an author’s sophomore book – Tell Me A Secret was a good read, but Don’t Breathe a Word just blew me away.

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Review: Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala — 7 Comments

    • I have found myself really enjoying the books that have so much content it doesn’t seem possible that I read it all in 300 pages, and this is definitely one of them. Let me know how you feel about it after you read it!!

  1. Wow – awesome. I’ve heard such great things about Don’t Breathe a Word. I read one interview where Holly was talking about how she got to know different homeless kids (in Seattle, I think?) in order to be better equipped to write this book. I’m excited for the day when I finally get to read it!

    • Ooh that sounds like a really interesting interview! I am going to keep my eyes peeled for it – it explains how well she was able to write certain aspects of the book for sure.

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