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Don't Breathe a Word

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,291 ratings  ·  389 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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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Emily May
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it


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
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014

"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. It's a 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 too much.
From her asthma.
From her boyfriend that goes too far.
She turns to the streets of Seattle to find the homeless boy who offered her help when she needed it
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)
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
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

"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
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Dianne C.
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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 McBride
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-loves

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)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book! Wonderful, great characters, and a compelling story, loved this book!
Heartbreaking and yet hopeful. A beautiful read :)
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He had reduced me to ashes.
And now I would rise.”
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya
Poorly written.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
oooooooofffff !!!!!!! ok !!! After that ending , now I can't take a good breathe and thank the author for this great book and great story ... ...more
Princess Bookie
May 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My Thoughts: Wow, whoa, insane! I know this review is going to be difficult to write because that is how awesome of a book it is. I started Don't Breathe A Word late on a Thursday night before bed. I figured I'd just read a few chapters and than go to bed. So much for that! I read the whole book in one sitting and lost track of time. I looked up at the clock when I was finished and it was 3 in the morning. Yes, that is how good it was.

We are introduced to Joy who lives with her family. Don't Br
Sarah {Literary Meanderings}

♥ Find my reviews on Blogger ~ Reviews by Bookish Sarah

- - -

This book opens up to our protagonist, Joy Delamere (16 or 17 years old - I waited too long to review this so I don't remember which...), setting up her own “kidnapping” - except she's really running away from home.

The problem? It's more than just one thing. Joy has severe asthma and because of a brush with death when she was younger, her parents practically suffocate her by watching over her too closely - she feels like a burden. She
Melody Manful
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This novel had a heart and a soul. It takes you for a heartfelt ride through the streets of Seattle, where both the bad and the ugly awaits.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
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
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up and if I had known I'm not sure if I would have picked it up, simply due to the fact that I don't read a lot of dark YA. But sometimes you stumble onto a treasure and don't know what you have found until you open it. That was the case for me with this book.

The story surrounds Joy. From the outside you would think that she is perfect. She has a great family, a loving and dedicated boyfriend, Asher, but from the inside Joy is
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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)
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011

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
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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

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