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Don't Breathe a Word

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,653 ratings  ·  370 reviews
Joy delamere is suffocating.

From asthma, from her parents, and from her boyfriend, Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out. She can take his cruel words, his tender words . . . until the night they go too far.

To escape, Joy sacrifices her suburban life to find the one who offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. He introduces her to a world of fierce loyalty
Paperback, 299 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by HarperTeen
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29th out of 293 books — 2,595 voters
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Community Reviews

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Emily May


I did that stupid thing where I don't check what a book's about before I start reading it with Don't Breathe a Word. The synopsis on the back of the paperback I have is quite ambiguous but it looked like a relatively short, interesting read. I began to be concerned when I realised it was another tale about abuse, I would never have started it so soon after a powerful novel like Split had I known.

However, Don't Breathe a Word is actually a completely different type of novel. Split is very rea


"No one would believe that words could be as damaging as fists."

Don't Breathe A Word can be easily overlooked because of the many contemporaries out there. But really it shouldn't be. It's a very unique story that is indeed flawed in some ways but it shines in others.

It is told from the point of view of Joy Delamere. She is running away.
From her parents,that care about her too much.
From her asthma.
From her boyfriend that goes too far.
She turns to the streets of Seattle to find the homeles
April*procrastinator and proud*
Whenever I hear the name Creed i always think of "Creed" from the office XD
And I plan on naming my future child Asher, so if I read this book I'll be like "NO MY BABY DON'T DIE!" and "Sweetie, you're faaar too young to have a girlfriend."
And also, is he that bad guy!? If he is... then no... just no. He's gonna get a serious time out for that.
Lalaine *myficbookreviews*
"He had reduced me to ashes.

And now I would rise." - Triste


Raw, gritty and terrifying but beautiful. Don't Breathe A Word is a kind of book that will give you a healthy dose of realism. It has the kind of characters that will make you feel their struggle, frustration, anger, pain and happiness as if it was yours. The kind of book that will make you think hard, throwing yourself questions if you were in her shoes, "what would I do if it was me"? The beautiful writing pulled me into the story from

I am on the roll. It seems that every book I picked up in last five days was just simply amazing. Same thing goes for Don't Breathe a Word, novel written by Holly Cupala. One thing I really hate is when great books are overshadowed by most recent trashy romance novel. Tara Kelly, K.B. Hoyle, Holly Cupala are just some of authors that, by my humble opinion, deserve more attention.

It has been two years since I read Holly Cupala's debut novel, Tell Me a Secret. That book wasn't what I expected. I
Melannie :)
It's been a while since I last had such an intense reading experience as the one I had while reading this book. I knew from the moment I read its synopsis that this was going to be good, but I never imagined it will touch my soul to this proportion.

I'm struggling with words right now, because no matter what I say, I won't be able to describe the strong feelings this novel evocates in me. I will just tell you, this is a story you don't want to miss.

Joy is been dealing with a very difficult sittua
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

Holly Cupala is one of the authors my girl Glass put on my list called - authors-you-must-meet and I obeyed. Of course she was right. She always is. In the world of contemporary novels where everything is pink and lovely and where all stories get the happy ending it was time for reality and to discover more of a real world.

Because of Glass' review I was prepared for that mostly, but when it hits you it also makes you realize that you emotions you cannot pr
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
Don't Breathe a Word is one of those edgy books that's raw, emotional gripping and tackles the tougher things teens deal with now a days. I normally have to be in a certain mood to read these type of books, but Holly Cupala's writing is brutally honest, powerful, and lyrically written which made it hard for me to stop reading it. I got to a point in the story that I wanted to know more. The other thing I liked, is that Holly doesn't shy away some pretty tough subjects, and she gives readers a re ...more

"There comes a point when a runaway decides it's safer to live on the streets than to live at home."

Sometimes life takes a wrong turn that we question fate for what it is and what it's doing. Even the person we grown comfortably with could cause physical and emotional pain that it'll terribly screw us. We feel vulnerable and helpless we think the whole world dropped in front of our eyes. Of course, every body feels like shit once in a while but we are still g
Dianne C.
I'm a little disappointed that I didn't like this book more, considering the glowing reviews I saw on goodreads. First off, I was glad to see links and information to raise awareness of the homeless population and what the average person can do to help. I also liked that Joy's experience being homeless wasn't all roses and daisies, but showed how unbelievably dangerous it really is.

I thought the writing was disjointed when flashing between present and past. I know the author was trying for suspe
Another beautifully written book by Holly Cupala that's heartbreaking, gritty and real. Everyone needs some breathing room in their lives but for Joy, it's become a struggle of life or death. Each breathe leads her one step closer to suffocation or one step closer to freedom. Freedom from her parents constant worry, freedom from her boyfriend Asher's control and freedom to figure out who she's meant to be. If she can manage to escape, to find the homeless boy who offered to help her, maybe she'l ...more
To have TWO characters coming from a family of wealth and choosing the streets because they don’t like their home life and decided to throw a tantrum, only to be the only two characters that end up together at the end? It disgusts me. I still think that I could have maybe liked this read…and then I was introduced to the protagonist and since she was introduced in the beginning of the book, wellllll…

Joy is a goddamned idiot. Her incredible ignorance and naivety runs deep, and throughout this read
Don't Breathe a Word is probably the most powerful story I've read. Seriously. This book suckerpunched me right in the heart and I'm still reeling from the blow. Holly Cupala's writing is gorgeous and lyrical and absolutely perfect for the harsh situations that Joy deals with.

I feel like there's a lot of places in this book where it would be easy for some critical readers to question Joy/Triste's decisions if not for Holly's brilliant character development. I was yanked so far into Joy's mind an
Hannah (The Irish Banana Review)
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.
This is the kind of book that hits you in such a way that you NEVER see it coming.

This book as suggested to me, and I begrudgingly put it on my TBR list. With books like Don’t Breathe a Word , Poughkeepsie or any other book that is so blantly real I hesitate at. Sometimes they are just a little too much for me.

Times like this... I’m glad I ignored my reluctance and read it anyways...

Joy has lived an extremely sheltered life. Hindered by the effects of having asthma, she feels even more suffoca

Asher turned me to ashes.


Little Birdie...

I don't care if they know.

I only care if you know, Joy.

girl on trash heap Pictures, Images and Photos
An amazing story that will leave you
raw and breathless.

5 stars because...(view spoiler)
Inspired Kathy
Jan 21, 2012 Inspired Kathy marked it as to-read
Book Giveaway & Author Interview on my blog - ends 2/20/12
Heartbreaking and yet hopeful. A beautiful read :)
Read this review on my blog, Mindful Musings.

In a Sentence: Don't Breathe a Word is a compelling contemporary that brings the world of a homeless kid to life.

My Thoughts

Though this book was just released yesterday, for weeks now I've been reading scores of reviews from bloggers who received advanced copies of Don't Breathe a Word. When I found my own review copy in my mailbox, I was excited to get started. I'm not sure if I've even seen a negative review of this book yet. Most of the ratings h
Holly Cupala has done it again. Two years ago I was super impressed by her debut novel, Tell Me a Secret. This year I am even more impressed with her sophomore novel, Don’t Breathe a Word. Holly Cupala writes YA contemporary with an edge and I adore it.

Joy starts out seeming a bit like a spoiled kid who has everything in life handed to her. It’s partly because she is so sheltered because of her asthma but she really doesn’t seem to know how to survive on her own. Taking to the streets seems to
Page (One Book At A Time)

I was really looking forward to Holly Cupala's sophomore effort. I loved Tell Me A Secret. I was hoping that she had a knack for tacking tough subjects and turning them into something real. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed with this book.

I liked the story set up. We know something horrible has happened to Joy and we know that involved Asher. We're just not sure exactly what it was. I enjoyed the drastic opening we get. Joy is running away and she's making it her mission to make it look l
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Joy Delamere had a pretty good life, with a decent family and some close friends. All that changed when she started going out with Asher, a rich boy with a cruel streak. But after overlooking all of the problems with their relationship, one night Asher goes to far. Joy decides to run away because she knows that Asher will never let go of her any other way. Making it look like she was kidnapped, Joy escapes from her house and disguises herself by bleaching her hair, wearing goth-like clothes and ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, 2012
After reading Tell Me a Secret, Holly Cupala's first book, I couldn't wait to read more by her, so when I first heard about Don't Breathe a Word, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible. The book sounded amazing, and after seeing all the great praise it had been getting as well as the gorgeous cover, I just wanted to read it even more. Luckily, I was able to get an early copy and I dove right in only to find one AMAZING new contemporary read! Seriously this book was even bette ...more
Nina (The Bookish Confections)
Don't Breathe a Word started out fast for me because the main character escaped from her home and had her adventure out in the streets. It was fast in a way that I felt like I have to catch up with her or else I'd be left behind. Okay, I'm not making any sense. But really, that's how the start made me feel.

Joy run away from her home because she was suffocating, physically and emotionally. She has asthma and she needs to have her meds all the time. Someone has to watch out for her or else she may
Alyssa hoffmaster
more reviews here

I had no idea this book was going to be so good; honestly I didn’t think it was going to be that tough of a subject.

I have read another one of Holly’s books and I liked it, but this one was amazing. I read it from start to finish in a couple of hours, and although it was such a tough subject and a tough book to read I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the words. I was in a trance wanting to know what would happen…. What the outcome could be.

I have read many books about runaway t
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
This is a powerful book where the main character Joy goes on a desperate journey to figure out who she is without an overbearing boyfriend and her hovering parents. To learn to breathe on her own. Literally. She has severe asthma which her parents micromanage. When she first met Asher, it felt dangerous, fun and like a break from the controlling--boy was she surprised when he begins to question her, be obsessed with her every move, and even hurts her.
She takes very dramatic precautions to esc
Tara (Fiction Folio)
Joy is dealing with asthma that significantly affects her life and has overprotective parents who coddle her beyond belief. Her brother resents her for being “weak” and having to take care of her growing up. And her seemingly beautiful boyfriend is abusing her, both emotionally and now physically. Having had enough, Joy escapes into the dangerous streets of Seattle, attempting to make it on her own and escape the horrors of her life. It’s out on the streets that Joy meets Creed, a boy who has hi ...more
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Holly has done it again! She has set a world that draws you in and you can't leave until all is finished. Man oh man where to start with this review. I have so much jumbled in my head because this book is so heart wrenching and so close to home that at times I laughed and at times I cried. I am so greatful to Holly for sending me an ARC copy and The DBAW Team for allowing me to be a part of the team and spreading the word about DBAW.

Joy has asthma really bad asthma. She has spent her entire life
Bailey (IB Book Blogging)
Don't Breathe a Word is so utterly compelling and honest that I was speechless after turning the last page. This is the most horrifying yet captivating story of abuse that I have ever read. Holly Cupala enthralled me with her flawless writing and engaging characters. Don't Breathe a Word is one of the best books that I have ever read.

Don't Breathe a Word is a daring tale about Joy, and how she goes to extreme lengths to get away from her abusive boyfriend. She runs away to live the life of a hom
Don't breathe for me is a incredibly powerful and raw novel. It's sheer realism can be brutal and upsetting but it is done tenderly. The story revolves around Joy who is in a abusive relationship with her boyfriend Asher. She is suffocating both physically from her asthma and emotionally. Finally she has had enough and runs away in order to find the homeless boy who had offered her help upon witnessing Asher's controlling and abusive behaviour. He seems to be the only one who can really see her. ...more
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  • Try Not to Breathe
  • Drowning Instinct
  • Virtuosity
  • One Moment
  • Never Eighteen
  • Life is But a Dream
  • All These Lives
  • In Too Deep
  • Pieces of Us
  • What Happens Next
  • Zero
  • The Survival Kit
  • Breaking Beautiful
  • My Life in Black and White
  • Bitter End
  • Someone Else's Life
  • The Waiting Sky
  • Ditched: A Love Story
Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. When she isn't making art and writing, she spends time with her husband and children in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope.

Part of the author's proceeds from this book will go
More about Holly Cupala...
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“When the worst happens and you still survive, it sets you free from fear.” 45 likes
He had reduced me to ashes.
And now I would rise.”
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