Don’t Breathe a Word

Holly Cupala. HarperTeen, $8.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-176669-5
Cupala (Tell Me a Secret) plunges readers into the traumatized interior life of asthmatic high school junior Joy Delamere. Faking her own kidnapping, Joy cuts and dyes her hair and runs away from her suburban Seattle home and her abusive and controlling boyfriend, Asher. She heads for the notorious homeless haven of Capitol Hill, seeking freedom and an enigmatic musician named Creed, who once told her to find him if she needed help. Creed invites her into his makeshift home and family, which consists of fiery May and the more welcoming Santos, who teach Joy to steal and to survive. “Part of becoming a family was finding your place in it,” Joy thinks. “And despite the terrible air, I hoped there would be room to breathe in this one.” The tense, riveting story flashes between Joy’s past and present, illuminating the brutal extent of Asher’s efforts to control her and Joy’s slow process of rebuilding her self-worth with the help of her new friends. Though the hopeful ending is overly tidy, the characters and setting are tangibly and impressively rendered. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-209404-9
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