Standalone Saturday 2 ... Don't Breathe A Word

Welcome back to Standalone Saturday, where I feature a book that actually wraps up at the last page. No cliffhangers!  This week's feature is:
Don't Breathe a Word
by Holly Cupala
January 3, 2012
Source: ARC traded with a friend
Mature content: Publisher recommends for 14 and up

I went into this book knowing little about it and came out a huge fan. This is a gripping and beautifully written story about abusive relationships and life on the street that isn't preachy or depressing or melodramatic. It's just .... really good!

Joy seems to have everything -- a loving family, a rich, gorgeous boyfriend, and a comfortable upper-middle class lifestyle in Seattle. But she's suffocating. Joy has asthma, which means that her family watches over her every breath. Then there's Joy's boyfriend, Asher. He's the rich son of her father's boss. But he belittles her. He wants to control her. He threatens her family if she doesn't obey.

So Joy runs away, joining the shadow word of Seattle's homeless population. Life on the street is hard, especially for a young girl. But Joy is determined to tough it out. She finds a new street family, a group of kids who look out for each other. But there are dangers. While Joy's family never stopped looking for her, neither did Asher. Neither did Maul, the guy on the streets that everyone fears. And then there's Joy's asthma. She needs expensive medication to keep it under control.

I've never experienced the things that Joy does in the book, yet her story seemed completely believable to me. I'd guess that the author did research on abusive relationships and into the harsh realities that teen runaways face on the streets. Parts of it were hard to read, but Cupala's lyrical writing and unforgettable characters drew me in and wouldn't let me go.

I'm off to put Holly Cupala's first book, Tell Me a Secret, on my TBR list!

This amazing ARC is one of the choices for my Not-Going-to-ALA-Box-of-Swag giveaway.

In case you're curious, here's a couple more possibilities for the box:

Catastrophic History of You and Me



  1. Great review! This book sounds really great, and I have it on my TBR list.

  2. When I first heard about this book I didn't really get what the big deal was. It just didn't appeal to me. After reading your review, I think I may give it a second chance. I really want to read more standalone books and would love a gritty read. Thanks again for a great review!

  3. Now I really want to win your giveaway--even if it does make my TBR larger!

    This book sounds wonderful and gripping but do you think you will need a lighter book next to balance it out?


    1. It was a dark book but hopeful at the same time. Hard to explain. Just read it!

  4. Woo! Now I want to read that too! I'm jealous of all your ARCs lol. And by the way, pick BloodRose for the other boxed book! It just sounds awesome!

    1. I'm going to give the winner a list of 8-10 ARCs and they can pick up to 6 that they want.
      Bloodrose was great. Don't read any spoilers!!!

  5. I'm loving stand alone books right now. I already have DON'T BREATHE A WORD on my radar.


  6. Hey, terrific review! That book sounds awesome! Harper Teen never disappoints.

    PS I hated Bloodrose with a passion. It angered me so much, haha.

  7. The cover AND the storyline are attention grabbers! I am putting this book in my TBR list.

  8. This definitely sounds like an amazing read. I already know I will love this book. I am still wowed by the fact that Jen willingly goes to live on the streets and wants to tough it out on her own. That shows great strength and bravery. This book is on my TBR list and I can't wait til I read it.


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