Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Paperback: 299 pages 
Release date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Goodreads Rating: 4.12 
Goodreads Summary: 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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Don’t Breathe a Word is an incredibly touching story about Joy Delamere, a girl undermined in the protective cage of her parents because of asthma and her boyfriend’s abuse. Her life radically changed within a year when she met Asher, whose words reduces her self-worth slowly— driving her to abandon everything in her life behind and change her name to Triste, and seek help from the person who’s willing to provide her safety. 

The first thing I noticed and loved about this book is Holly Cupala’s writing. I usually steer away from darker contemporaries but I made this one an exception and read it as a challenge to myself. I can say it was well worth the risk. Holly Cupala worked her magic by weaving lyrical and candid words. These words hooked me more than I thought it would and taught me things without being preachy. It made me examine the dynamics of family and friendship. Blood or not, people who treat and love each other like family is considered one. It also took me into a journey of looking into the real world—the homelessness, the abuse and so much more. 

At first you’d think Joy’s running away from home is a drastic decision. But throughout the story, Joy slowly reveals to the readers her reasons and in the process transforms into a stronger person. From the Joy who was driven by fear, she became the Triste who has courage and strength to stand up on her own. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of her street family. Meet Creed: the alluring street musician who saw through Joy’s misery and let her join his street family. Their family consisted of two other persons, May and Santos, who have provided comfort for Joy and helped her adjust as well. 

This book is full of emotions that Holly Cupala effectively conveyed to her readers. I finished it in one sitting and I was emotionally involved the whole time. The ending wrapped up with everyone getting their paths straight. It ended a little bit too neatly but other than that, I have no other complains. 

If you love Contemporary and want something that deals with some issues not often tackled in YA, then this one is for you.

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