Hannah (The Irish Banana Review)'s Reviews > Don't Breathe a Word

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
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Jun 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-ya, ya-contemporary
Read in November, 2011

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. I felt an immediate kinship to her because I also suffer from severe asthma. When she mentioned her mother obsessively cleaning the house to eradicate any stray speck of dust, I completely understood because that was a perfect description of my mother and me.

When Joy moves from the suburbs to the streets, she sheds every inch of “Joy”—from her hair to her name (she adopts the name Triste). On the streets she connects with Creed, a boy she had seen before in passing. Together, with two other friends, they form a pseudo family that take care of one another. The truth is that homeless, starving Triste is freer than Joy ever was.

Cupala pulls no punches and there are several moments that had my pulse racing. This isn’t a flowers and frills book about a girl who finds herself on the streets. The novel is gritty and graphic, and often shows the lengths people will go to so they can simply survive another day. Think of the worst case scenario for a teen living on the street and Cupala tackles it head-on.

This book is being released mere days into 2012, and if it’s any indication of the books to come next year, I cannot wait. This book is amazing and stunning and beautiful and every other fabulous adjective you could use.
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