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Don't Breathe a Word
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Don't Breathe a Word

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,367 Ratings  ·  1,974 Reviews
Don’t Breathe a Word is a haunting page-turner that kept me up, spine shivering and enthralled, way past my bedtime.”
—Joshilyn Jackson, author of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints

“Jennifer McMahon never flinches and never fails to surprise…as [she] weaves a young couple into a perverse fairyland where Rosemary’s Baby could be at home.”
—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The
Paperback, 447 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Harper Paperbacks
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 10, 2012 Jayne rated it did not like it
(from my book blog)

Uuuuugughghghghhghg I was SO disappointed by this book. Reviewing Sharp Objects a few days ago put me in the mood for a good, creepy book, and I thought this was going to be exactly what I needed. Just look at the plot description!

"Family secrets and fairy lore create a shifting reality in McMahon’s unsettling novel about the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who longed to become Queen of the Fairies. Fifteen years after Lisa goes missing, her younger brother, Sam, gets a s
Mary Catherine
Mar 21, 2011 Mary Catherine rated it it was amazing
Take a moment and stare at the cover. Really, just look at it for a few seconds. It’s a bit unnerving, isn’t it? This little child with wide eyes seems to be staring into your soul, seems to be silently daring you to reveal secrets you’ve kept for years. Do you suddenly feel the need to look away? Maybe you’re wondering why her face seems to show a mixture of despondency and maybe a bit of fear in the midst of inquisitiveness and uncertainty.

That’s what it will feel like when you read Jennifer M
This premise sounded intriguing enough. I love it when fantasy crosses over into reality and you're never sure if the truth is really magic or something so disturbingly human. You're never sure which you'd prefer. Don't Breathe a Word does that exactly (p.s., I hate that title). For the first two-thirds of the book you're sure its fantasy and that this somewhat malevolent take on fairies is the explanation to it all. And then secrets are unraveled and what the blurg, there's a practical explanat ...more
Nov 14, 2015 Bonnie rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, 2011
Yay! I love winning books. Thank you Goodreads. :)


Okay first off? The summary of this book does not even begin to prepare you for the weird ass, beyond twisted little journey that the author takes you on. I spent the majority of this book so mixed up with trying to determine exactly what the hell was going on.

Bottom line? This book was one big:

Yep. That’s me. Reading this book. In utter confusion.

Now that’s not to say that this was bad of course; I really enjoyed reading this. The first at
Mar 13, 2011 Chara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Captivating. Slightly creepy. Very different from what I expected after reading the publisher description. Spooked me in a way I haven't been from reading a book. Its like when you're a child and you run up the stairs, not looking behind you, because you're unsure if the boogeyman is really back there or not.

The ending was surprising. It was obvious that there two major ways the story could go. I was so drawn in to the story and characters and all the imaginative ideas and tales from the childre
Aug 15, 2011 Megan rated it liked it
Don’t Breathe a Word started off as a well written and creepy tale. Somewhere along the way the characters never became fully developed, and the crazy events spiraled a little out of control. The bestest book ever? No. Totally engrossing and entertaining? Oh yeah. This book reminded me of a really good Lifetime movie. (But I gotta confess I love Lifetime movies; the good ones, the bad ones and the ugly ones!) So this fluff-infused eerie and suspenseful novel is the perfect brain candy for me. Li ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
If you have read this book all the way to the end, you know the truth. We are here, walking among you. We are stronger, faster, smarter. We walk with silent footsteps. We can see into your dreams.

And we lie.

Always remember that we lie.
I have never been much interested in fairy stories (and judging by my GR buddies' books, there are A LOT of them out there). So some reason stories of the Seelie Court, or half-fairy chosen ones, or fairies secreting away the special main character for some great
Is it just me, or was this book ridiculously poorly written? I felt like I was reading a book written for fifth graders. Choppy writing, nonexistent characterization, clumsy dialogue, children who didn't sound or act their age -- all there was was plot, basically, and even that was convoluted and confusing.

Lisa, older sister to Sam, disappeared at the age of twelve either to a supernatural world or as a victim of a sordid kidnapping. Fifteen years later, adult Sam's strangely dimwitted girlfrie
Aug 23, 2012 Mhgoblue rated it it was ok
Well, that was...not very good. Poorly written. There were a few parts that were legitimately creepy. But!

The book was all telling instead of showing. Every few chapters, the whole story would stop so the author could lay out some new character's backstory and personality in a perfunctory info dump. Lazy, sloppy, and boring writing.

The main characters not only didn't react to anything the way actual people would, but whenever they learned important plot points and clues, they got amnesia over th
Jul 12, 2011 Cheryl rated it did not like it

I chose to read this book because the cover caught my eye, a friend had read it, and it got a lot of good reviews. It was difficult for me to get into it, though, simply because of the premise. I mean, seriously, who ever heard of evil, murderous fairies? Everyone knows fairies are supposed to be good. (Like the fairy godmother who gave Cinderella everything she needed to go to the ball. And the Tooth Fairy. And let's not forget the Fairly Oddparents.) The very few times I was able to s
May 20, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
From the best-selling author of Promise Not to Tell and Harper Collins Publishers of New York city, comes a thrilling page-turner that pushes the limits of this world and that of fantasy, written by Jennifer McMahon.

Starting with the first chapter, the protagonist, a young woman named Phoebe proves to be unlike other girls her age, showing characteristics fostered by her absent father and alcoholic mother. Promiscuous at a very young age, the teenage Phoebe seems to have grown up far too quickly
Jun 21, 2011 Gregandemy rated it really liked it
Another Goodread's giveaway win!! Thank you!
I was intrigued by the cover and the author's summary, but I must admit it I was expecting more of a fairy version of Chronicles of Narnia. That, this is definitely not, but I wasn't disappointed. I got hooked quickly into the mythical and creepy story. For most of the book I had planned to give it a 4 star review. It was so different and capitivating. I didnt want to put it down, well, atleast not until it was dark outside and then it got a little sc
L-J Johnson
Jun 26, 2011 L-J Johnson rated it did not like it
I wasn't familiar with this author so I had no preconceptions if the final reveal of this mystery was possibly supernatural or not. The first two-thirds were pretty good; fast-paced, atmospheric, fairly spooky, decent character development. Three children - Lisa, her brother Sam and their cousin Evie - play in the woods in the ruins of a deserted village and the two girls become obsessed with the idea of fairies living there and contacting them. Sam doesn't buy in. Lisa disappears one night afte ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Kat rated it it was ok
Second creepy book of this weekend (the third one is The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain, though creepy in a different way). It draws you in and keeps you in suspense for a good many pages and ufortunately I finished it. I so wish I didn't. What I liked about it at first was the class difference, so rarely touched on in the books I read, between the two protagonists, Phoebe and Sam, and the mystery of the disappearence of Sam's sister Lisa 15 years earlier. Lisa went off to the woods to join t ...more
Cat Russell  (Addicted2Heroines)

I really don't know what to say. Never has a story left me so unsettled.

Do I believe in fairies? No.

Am I now worried that there's a hidden trapdoor underneath my bed? Absolutely.

This is not your average fairy tale that inspires sweet dreams. This is a psychological thriller that is likely to give you nightmares.

"I don't believe in magic," she said.

"You will."
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
First part of this book was outstanding!
Second part not so much.
I was disappointed in how the story turned and went into kind of an obvious direction. Still an okay read though.
Jan 28, 2015 Josephine rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2011 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friends and I call this "The Creepy Girl Book", which I love. When you walk past this book while reading it, you instinctively want to turn the cover face down because it's so...well, creepy. Honestly, I was uncertain about how to rate this book. There were so many twists and turns that it was difficult to keep it all straight and I'm still not sure I know exactly what happened, but I think that's how the book is intended. I don't read fantasy and when I was reading this book, I was back and ...more
Greta Logan
Feb 21, 2014 Greta Logan rated it it was ok
As many problems as this book has, its biggest is this one: it is addicting. I could not put it down.

Whatever Jennifer McMahon hoped to accomplish with writing this extremely bizarre book, she certainly succeeded in the suspense department. I haven't been so hooked on a book since The Da Vinci Code. However, that does not by ANY means mean this book was good.

I mean, look at the cover. Look at the title. Look at the premise. It's stupid. There is no way anything like this could possibly not be s
Feb 26, 2016 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fear the faeries. Seriously. I've been reading McMahon out of order, but with a dedication of a fan and a passion of a completist. And so, I've finally read this one and it definitely did not disappoint. McMahon is one of those authors that have impressively crossed over from the considerably more lucrative mystery genre into the realm of a much more niche literary horror. This is the book that really shows where and how that happened. On a fence, half and half, this is an irresistible and unput ...more
May 04, 2011 Beadyjan rated it it was amazing
It's a sheer pleasure to review this exciting new book kindly provided by Netgalley

Reading the publishers blurb might lull you into thinking this is a teen fantasy fairy romance - well think again, this is no cozy bedtime tale.

What it is however, is a thrilling, tense, psychological chiller abounding with rollercoaster twists and turns. It grips you by the throat with sharp pointy little teeth and shakes you until you want to scream!

The storyline zips back and forth between the present day wher
Aug 06, 2011 Pei rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure I would enjoy a book about fairies supposedly in the real world for the first few chapters, but I persevered as part of a book club read. The more I read, the more drawn into the story I was and I began to enjoy the little twists and the turns and the mysterious happenings in the past and the present. It isn't particularly scary but it does has a hint of suspense in it. As the plot began to unravel in the last third of the book and everyone's lying and everyone's got a secret, it s ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Jan 26, 2012 Keilani Ludlow rated it did not like it
Weird and weird. It involves a kidnapping, a family with some serious issues slowly coming to light, and possibly the unnatural. The question is - was the girl kidnapped or taken by fairies. It continually bounces back and forth between making you think it's a realistic book with a creep who has the kids convinced he's the king of fairies, and a fantasy book set in a realistic world that does cross over with the world of magic. I'm of two minds on this book. It definitely kept me riveted, to see ...more
Jul 18, 2011 Ns rated it really liked it
If you like thrill and chills, give Don't Breathe a Word a try.
I can't remember the last time I read a book that creeped me out, but this book remedied that quickly enough. In a good way.

The people we meet come across as very ordinary but quickly their reality will shift into one filled with mysteries and secrecy that will leave you anticipating their next move. Phoebe and Sam's lives are disrupted when Sam's past returns in the form of Lisa, the sister who went missing fifteen years ago. How is
Jan 17, 2011 Erica added it
This is Jennifer McMahon's fourth literary thriller, and I think it is her best. All involve women uncovering the secrets of a past crime, but for me this one has the best combination between past and present. I read the entire 445 page book in two days, and would have read it faster if I didn't value my sleep. The resolution of the mystery might be a little too much for some people, but I found it to be a) rewarding (as in, it made sense with the rest of the book and was not something i complet ...more
Elle ✦ Pretty Little Books ✦
:: 5 Stars for this Haunting Page Turner – ITS TWISTED! ::

Woahhhh. This book took me on a ride! Author Jennifer McMahon knows how to deliver a creepy story that thrills! This book is beautifully written and successfully weaves a story about love, family secrets, and fairytales! I fell in love with this book from page 1 and couldn’t put it down until I finished all 447 pages. Readers be warned: this book is filled with the unexpected and none of your questions will truly be answered until the ver
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
May 15, 2011 Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it really liked it
In this stunning novel by Jennifer McMahon the line between reality and fantasy is blurred by secrets and lies, madness and myth. Lisa is twelve years old when she disappears in the woods behind her home. Legend considers the woods dangerous, an entire village had once vanished leaving behind only an infant boy, but for Lisa, it is a place of magic, a door to the realm of the fairies ruled by King Teilo and her greatest wish is become his Queen. Fifteen years later, Lisa's brother Sam, and his g ...more
Mar 08, 2011 TC rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This the author's fourth book, but the first I have read of hers. It is described as interweaving family secrets, dark loves, and the allure and fear of the supernatural. I'm not necessarily a big believer in all things supernatural but I'm certainly open minded and as it sounded quite dark and mysterious it appealed to me.

One night 12 year old Lisa goes into the woods behind her Vermont home and disappears. She has told her brother Sam that she has met the King of the Fairies, and that he is go
Samia Joseph
Jun 10, 2011 Samia Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cressida, Shazia
Shelves: 2011-reads
This book was creepy. I have not read a book that gave me chills the way this one did in a long time and I would have never guessed how creepy it would be based on the publisher's description. I loved the book and could not put it down finishing 447 pages in less than 2 days. I gobbled it up and when home alone reading, literally feeling my spine tingle.

So if I loved it so much and ran through it so quickly, why only 3 stars? The first 2/3 of the book were AMAZING. The character development, th
Apr 02, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
From Goodreads: On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.
Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is f
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I'm the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
More about Jennifer McMahon...

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“Ain't no point worrying about what's been or what's gonna be. You just gotta do your best right now. And trust everyone else is doing the same.” 27 likes
“...they were exactly what the other needed; the missing piece that made everything else magically click into place.” 14 likes
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