Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  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.: 

And here's what I thought:   I liked that this story was somewhat edgy, and that it brought real-life issues of homeless teens into the forefront.  The story is full of characters with flaws, even the characters who seem a bit too good to be true at first --- and I liked that.   The pacing is even, and I liked how the story built as Joy not only made her way through her days, but also in how the story's backstory was built up through Joy's memories, and reflections on her immediate past (the time right before she decided to leave home).   I felt the author did a good job of making a lot of things very authentic; she doesn't romanticize what it's like to be a teen living on the streets.   The story is powerful, and I liked how the author handled not only Joy and her story, but the other characters around her (not just Creed, but May and Santos, as well).

I did find Joy to be kind of frustrating ---- she decides to run away, and she does a bit of planning, but then once she gets into the city, she has no idea what she's going to do, how she's going to eat, or stay warm....  and what about when her medicine runs out?   I suppose this is realistic, and you know, if she had all of these things planned out, the story wouldn't be as good, or as real.   As an adult reading this, though, those were some of the thoughts that I had about Joy and her plan to live on her own, among Seattle's homeless teens.    I also wasn't sure if I liked the ending because it felt a little too neatly wrapped up.

However, overall, I liked this story, and thought it was a pretty good read.   I suppose that's why I gave it two ratings, because I felt it wasn't all the way up to a 4, although it was pretty close.   

First sentences:   Slyt.  Slyt.  Sliding metal cut through the still night, spiraling ribbons of hair into the sink.  But better the sound of scissors than the rattle of my lungs.  One wrong breath would set off the alarm.

Thoughts on the cover:  I think it's ok, although it's not my favorite.  I'm not sure if it's the yellow of the font, or the fact that it looks almost too pretty overall --- but I would have liked something a little grittier, considering the storyline.  


Espana said...

Don't Breathe a Word is an amazingly powerful and fantastically written book that shows you the harsh realities of abuse, teenage homelessness, and other tough issues, without being depressing or losing that sense of hope I long for when reading a book. It was heartbreaking, but it was also funny and exciting and romantic and beautiful.

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Please note that I am officially designating this blog an award-free zone. Thank you!!

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison