Dec 2, 2011

Review: Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Title: Don’t Breathe A Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publication Date: 1.3.2012
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: A

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

Joy can take her 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 hurt of bullying, the meaning of family, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

This book has actually been sitting on my shelf for a few months I kept putting off, and now I am kicking myself. This book was, simply put, INCREDIBLE. It has so many layers, so many twists and turns, so many gut wrenching moments … It’s a contemporary YA masterpiece. This book has cemented a place on my shelf forever, and Holly Cupala is a writer I can’t get enough of.

Joy is a heartbreaking character. What drives her to ultimately abandon her home, safety, love, and security is gut-wrenching. I felt an immediate kinship to her because I also suffer from severe asthma. When she mentioned her mother obsessively cleaning the house to eradicate any stray speck of dust, I completely understood because that was a perfect description of my mother and me.

When Joy moves from the suburbs to the streets, she sheds every inch of “Joy”—from her hair to her name (she adopts the name Triste). On the streets she connects with Creed, a boy she had seen before in passing. Together, with two other friends, they form a pseudo family that take care of one another. The truth is that homeless, starving Triste is freer than Joy ever was.

Cupala pulls no punches and there are several moments that had my pulse racing. This isn’t a flowers and frills book about a girl who finds herself on the streets. The novel is gritty and graphic, and often shows the lengths people will go to so they can simply survive another day. Think of the worst case scenario for a teen living on the street and Cupala tackles it head-on with more grace than I could've thought possible.

This book is being released mere days into 2012, and if it’s any indication of the books to come next year, I cannot wait. This book is amazing and stunning and beautiful and every other fabulous adjective you could use.

Buy: Amazon


  1. Ohh this sounds incredible. You're review has me dying to read it now! I'm always looking for a really good contemporary read to fill the space between the fantasy and paranormal on my shelf. I'm definitely looking forward to this book now!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  2. definitely looking forward to this book now!tnx 4 the review

  3. Sounds like a book that addresses a lot of serious issues that need to be addressed within society...and especially for young adults. your review certainly caught my attention and I will be watching for this book!

  4. I'm so happy you loved this book! I'm going to read it after seeing your review:) and what's great is that Holly Cupala is donating part of the proceeds to a girls' homeless charity.

  5. I loved this book and it was so heavy, but the author did it perfectly. Great review!

  6. Thanks for the great review :) I enjoy books that address current and relevant social issues and/or ills. Such books should be on required reading lists in schools along with the classics. Students may better relate to such contemporary novels with characters very much like themselves.

  7. I have been wanting to read this for a while now. Your review makes me want it even more.


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