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Don't Breathe a Word

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  14,379 ratings  ·  2,368 reviews
On a soft summer night in Vermont, 12-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
Kindle Edition, 463 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by William Morrow
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Denise I'm about half way through and debating on quitting. Reads like it was written by a 6th grader.
Alasandra Alawine It ends like it is being set up for a sequel. Either Phoebe has lost her mind or someone took her baby and switched it with another child. If so Sam s…moreIt ends like it is being set up for a sequel. Either Phoebe has lost her mind or someone took her baby and switched it with another child. If so Sam seems to have decided to side with his crazy family and pretend like Phoebe is crazy.

There also seems to be a lot of unanswered questions how were Hazel and Phyllis able to get rid of all the bodies and clean up the cellar before the police arrived? If they were that good at hiding the evidence why did they let Phoebe and Sam discover the truth? And why does everyone Evie, Becca, Gerald etc go along with them. And who was Phoebe's Mother and how did she fit into the Teilo mythology? (less)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Jul 10, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ¾ at
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
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
jv poore
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t always know what I want when searching for a creepy, scary book. Two things terrify me, faeries and psychotic minds. Naturally, I love Don’t Breathe a Word, because this book features both. Well, at least ONE of those things. Maybe the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe they are so intertwined that it is nearly impossible to know which came first.

In many a review, I have used the word “haunting”. I always meant it. At the time, whatever I was referring to (the entire book or a passage
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie (ShyNotebooks)
Wow. What a ride. I'm left sad and astonished.
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
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“But if people believe in them so strongly, doesn’t that give them power, more power maybe than even the truth?”

This is my second book by this author, I thought I enjoyed the first one so much because it was an audio, but no, it seems I just like her writing style. One of the best things about this book is that it is very difficult to categorize - it could be fantasy or thriller, depending on how you interpret the story. It had me hooked throughout - because the author almost questions the vali
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 gre
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
An excellent read. Lots of twists and turns. I'd like to read more by this author.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
L-J Johnson
Jun 21, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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."
Greta Logan
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
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.
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Keilani Ludlow
Jan 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2011 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
Jun 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I fell into this book and devoured the first two-thirds in mere hours, even though the writing left something to be desired both stylistically and structurally. And then I hit a wall that made me not care what happened. Unfortunately, that wall came right as the resolution or explanation started. I felt the intrigue it held drain out of me and I left it unfinished. It felt like the author was losing steam and that she had a tight grasp on where she wanted things to go until she got to the point ...more
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Twelve year old Lisa walks into the woods, and never returns. She has spent most of her young life believing in the fairie world and believing that she is destined to join them. Did she? Or did she meet a more human fate, kidnapped? Murdered?
What follows is a mind bending,twisted tale. It is set in the present and fifteen years prior when Lisa disappeared. There are also multiple points of view as the tale unfolds. This should have been a slam dunk for me. Unfortunately, While initially intrigu
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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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.

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