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Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
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Don't Breathe a Word

by Holly Cupala

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An emotionally gripping story about running from abuse and finding love.



I found myself entwined in Joy's story and crossing my fingers for a happy ending.

She was unlike any character I have ever read. Her mental state is broken down by her boyfriend so she decides to run away in search of the boy who promised protection. She doesn't realize how hard being homeless is though. She shuffles through the streets, gets kicked out of stores, and is attacked by other street walkers. She never runs home though.



Dangerous approaches her one night and Creed steps in to save her. He then proceeds to take her to an abandoned home. There she learns that her new friends all have secrets of their own. Together they come together to provide for one another.



What happens when Joy is forced to bring the past to the surface? Does she leave street life behind? or does she hide and continue to live in hiding?



READ, READ, READ.... You will not be disappointed! The suspense is nail biting and romance is one of a kind. I just loved Creed... He was protective, kind, awkward, and talented. He really made this a MUST READ.

( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
Joy Delamore's asthma is suffocating her. Her parents barely let her go anywhere, if they do they want her supervised by one of them. Her older brother has been charged with her care. They'll do anything to keep anything from happening to her. All this after Joy's asthma almost claimed her life.

Her new boyfriend promises them to he will take care of her. Soon, he's smothering Joy just as much - or more.

She can only take their 'caring' and Asher's intensity for so long before she has to get away. Joy leaves it all behind to seek out Creed, the one person who has offered her help; a homeless boy.

Leaving her old life behind Joy finds a new life on the streets of Seattle and learns more about her self in a short time than she ever did in her years in with her parents.


After reading Holly Cupala's first book Tell Me a Secret and finding it incredibly emotional, I very, very much wanted to read Don't Breathe a Word; I was thrilled when Harper sent me a copy to review. About a seemingly completely different subject matter - yet also a difficult one to approach - than Tell Me a Secret, Don't Breathe a Word is also about a young girl finding her own strength in the midst of a very difficult situation. One where a lot of people (of any age) could easily lose themselves.

Holly Cupala writes great novels of girl-power that are also just about you-power, whether you're female or male. I do think that Don't Breathe a Word will work better with male audiences (given the subject matter) than her first book.

Cupala's sophomore novel is much stronger and more consistent, if maybe less emotional, than her first book.

I had more of a personal connection with the story in Tell Me a Secret so it's possible that's why I found that tale to have more of an emotional impact. This one does have more of a subtle emotional kick all of the way through.

I'm thrilled the publisher gave me the chance to read and review this title and am already looking forward to Holly Cupala's next title (and recommending this one!).

9/10
  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
I snapped up the e-book of Don’t Breathe a Word from the library based on the great reviews I’d seen, and this is the first book I’ve read by author Holly Cupala. I didn’t know much about it before diving in and before I knew it I had torn through half the book. Cupala’s second book is a gritty and engrossing read that tackles the homeless issue. This addictive book has heartbreaking characters and unsettling situations that kept my attention throughout.

The story is that Joy is in an abusive relationship with Asher that has taken over her life. She sees no way out of it and has nowhere to turn. Even her overprotective parents who watch her like a hawk due to her severe asthma can’t help her out of this mess. She remembers a boy who witnessed Asher’s behavior and offered his help. With just that promise she takes to the streets to find the boy and try to survive on the streets on her own.

Life on the streets of Seattle is tough and Cupala does not sugarcoat the difficulties that Joy faces on her journey. It is eye opening to see the challenges Joy faces on a day to day basis to find food, shelter, and other necessities, all while trying to manage her chronic medical condition. It was hard for me to believe that Joy didn’t feel she had anywhere else to turn but the streets, but I have to admit it makes for a fascinating read. The situations seemed harsh and are uncomfortable to read about but felt realistic and kept my eyes riveted to the page.

Through interwoven flashbacks we get a glimpse of what drove Joy out of her home. Asher is a creepy guy on many levels, and the opposite of the protector in her street family, Creed. In addition to nice guy musician Creed, Joy bonds with May and Santos who show her the ropes and help her find her own value, even though they have overwhelming challenges of their own. They have each other’s backs and act as a family living one-day at a time.

Though the homeless storyline was enough to hook me, the relationships also stand out. It is unusual to read about the terror of emotional abuse such as the case between Asher and Joy. Though most of the book focuses on life after the escape from Asher, brief flashbacks of their relationship are powerful and gave me a sense of the destructive hold he had over her.

Cupala is a great storyteller, and kept the tension ramped up throughout. I cared about what happened to Joy and the other characters, and found the ending ultimately satisfying. This is a fast, empowering read that should appeal to contemporary fans. ( )
  readingdate | Jan 7, 2014 |
This. Book. Is. Heartbreaking. ( )
  ccathee17c | Jun 7, 2013 |
This is a powerful book where the main character Joy goes on a desperate journey to figure out who she is without an overbearing boyfriend and her hovering parents. To learn to breathe on her own. Literally. She has severe asthma which her parents micromanage. When she first met Asher, it felt dangerous, fun and like a break from the controlling--boy was she surprised when he begins to question her, be obsessed with her every move, and even hurts her.
She takes very dramatic precautions to escape, and I couldn't believe the minute details that she thought of in order to pull it off. It shows a world that I haven't gotten much exposure to, especially in the ya genre.
The flashbacks are a little jolty, but overall I liked the character that it shows, how she got where she was, and why she felt that way. I could see the measures she took and the end picture, and then little by little what got her into that situation. I just wish there was more indications when the time frame was changing to orient me a little more.
I really loved reading the dynamic and loyalty with the Aves. The lengths they go to protect and care for each other as well as what they're running from and what they have to do to survive really takes my breath. It is powerful, gritty and I couldn't get enough.
The ending wasn't what I expected, but I was still satisfied with the emotional wrap up and the depths of emotional development. It was sweet and powerful, and perfectly imperfect.

Bottom Line: Powerful and emotional, character driven contemporary. ( )
  brandileigh2003 | Apr 21, 2013 |
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For my family,
and for Amy, Pam, Deanna, Glynis, Kristine, and Alice --
sisters not by blood, but by choice
And for Shiraz. Always, always for you.
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Slyt. Slyt. Sliding metal cut through stillness, spiraling ribbons of hair into the sink.
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Book description
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength
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Joy Delamere is suffocating from severe asthma, overprotective parents, and an emotionally-abusive boyfriend when she escapes to the streets of nearby Seattle and falls in with a "street family" that teaches her to use a strength she did not know she had.… (more)

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