Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Don't Breathe a Word

Don't Breathe a Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Indiebound | 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.

This is one of those novels I knew was going to be rough going in, and when it met every one of my expectations...I'm not sure how to feel

Joy suffers from incredible emotional abuse from her boyfriend, and when she finally reaches the last straw, she believes running away (making it look like a kidnapping) is her only option. I appreciated that Holly Cupala managed to create such a suffocating life for Joy before her breaking point, that you could completely understand why she came to the choices she did.

From there on Don't Breathe a Word delves into the live of homeless teens as Joy learns to become a street kid. She meets Creed, a boy she believes understands her, and he and his friends become her new street family. Each one of them is equally messed up, doing whatever they can to survive, no matter what.

For all the careful attention to the reality of homeless kids on the street and the emotional intricacy, Don't Breathe a Word didn't sink its hooks into me. I felt bad for Joy and Creed and the others, and I truly appreciated the message Holly Cupala is trying to send, but I couldn't connect with all the characters as much as I wanted to. I wanted to connect to Joy so much more than I did. With everything she goes through, I wanted to be torn up with her, to cry for her or cheer her on as I read, but none of that really happened.

There is a good book here with a rare theme in YA these days, with a good look at emotional abuse and homesless teen life, but ultimately, I couldn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted.

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