Monday, February 13, 2012

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Title: Don't Breathe a Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperCollins
My Copy: received from publisher
Summary: 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, to its rules of survival, and to love—a world she won’t easily let go.

Set against the backdrop of the streets of Seattle, Holly Cupala’s power­ful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the secrets we keep, and the ways to redemption. But above all, it is an unflinching story about the extraordinary lengths one girl will go to discover her own strength.
My Thoughts:
Um, holy crap. Don't Breathe a Word is THE book of 2012. Nothing has affected me or made me think this much since Ballads of Suburbia two or three years ago. Once I started reading, I could not set this book down and even though I finished it in the final days of 2011, I still cannot get it out of my head. Everyone needs to read this book - when I finished, I texted about ten different people and forced them to purchase the book for themselves. I suggest that you do the same!

Okay, so what makes the book so wonderful? Well, um, everything.

Holly Cupala has officially established herself as being an incredible writer of tough subjects, first with Tell Me a Secret and now with Don't Breathe a Word. She writes with such vivid prose, throwing the reader straight into tough situations and holds absolutely nothing back. She writes with such raw honesty that even the most close-minded readers will find their thoughts challenged, if not changed completely.

The plotline of DON'T BREATHE A WORD is superior to any other novel on teen homelessness. As someone in a middle-class family, it's hard to imagine that some of these things happen but Cupala makes it real. My favorite aspect was that this wasn't just a novel about homelessness or an abusive relationship. It was a novel about friendship, love, and what either of those actually means.

While the prose and plot add so much to the story, it's the characters that truly make Don't Breathe a Word one of the best books out there. I don't think I've read a book with such real, messed up characters in a long time. The reader will find themselves identifying with Joy, whether you've ever been pushed as far as she has or not, and sympathizing with May, Creed, and the rest of the gang. Creed is one of the best male leads out there - he's sweet, strong, and so imperfect. He screws up and says the wrong thing and he doesn't have that psycho possessive thing that so many other male characters seem to have lately. Oh, and he plays a guitar. Asher, as evil as he is, is also a great character, perhaps because he is so bad and therefore real.

I could go on about this book all day because, honestly, the one downfall is that it ends. I wanted to stay with these characters forever. Holly Cupala is officially one of my favorite writers and I highly, highly recommend Don't Breathe a Word. It is the best teen contemporary out right now and I don't say that lightly. So do yourself a favor and go buy a copy!

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