Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Title: Don't Breathe a Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary Romance
Release date: January 3rd, 2012
Pages: 301 (ARC)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Source: Won

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.

Holly Cupala creates an incredibly heart-wrenching story about a girl trying to live her life the way she wants to, without feeling trapped or limited because of her severe asthma.  She's always under constant watch.  Her parents walk on eggshells when it comes to her health and her boyfriend seems to care, but as we learn throughout the book, not everything is what it seems.

While first starting this book, you're left out on so many large factors that lead up to Joy's decision to run away from home.  You may say, "Well, her parents are just doing what's best for her," but sometimes it's not enough.  Secrets begin to unravel when Joy is out in the world, living on the streets with 3 other homeless teenagers.  They take pity on her, because most of them are certain she won't survive.  After all, she comes from a wealthy gated community and the only sense of survival she's dealt with comes from surviving asthma when it came close to killing her--twice.

The characters are very believable and each of them have a raw, emotional story to tell.  There's Creed, May, and Santos, and as you may have guessed it, Creed is the brooding musician that first steps up to help Joy (or Triste, as she chooses to call herself).  He's the protector of his street family, May is the only girl until Joy comes along, and Santos helps Joy out by getting her asthma medication when she's left with none.  No matter what, this family they've grown into have each other's backs, right?  But when Joy does something to save one of their lives, will her decision be the right one?  Could it ultimately help one of them or will it destroy all of them?

The author's writing style is edgy, compelling, and absolutely wonderful.  I've always loved stories that deal with the hardships that break a character, and it's not hard to see that Joy was broken and desperately trying to get away from her controlling, abusive boyfriend.  One simple look into both Joy's and Triste's lives and I instantly know that I'd never want to be put in her shoes.


  1. Wow, it sounds like a wonderful story! I've had this on my wishlist for a long time but now I'm sure I want to read this. Great review! :)

  2. Great review!! I really loved this story, too... although, you're right. Would not want to be in her shoes!!! ouch!

  3. Ohh, so glad you liked this one! I've been on tenterhooks about it ever since I heard of it, but from your review it sounds as if Holly Cupola manages the whole dark grittiness well. :)

  4. It sounds like a wonderful book, thanks for the review!