Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

When her boyfriend's words and actions become abusive, high school student Joy runs away, leaving behind her home, her family, and her friends to start a new life in Seattle. To stay under the radar, she decides to live on the streets - but she is ill-prepared for what awaits her there. Attacked, robbed, and weakened by severe asthma, she is lucky to win the support and trust of a street kid named Creed.

Joy adopts the name "Triste" and adapts quickly to living in a squat with her new roomates: the aforementioned Creed, an abrasive girl named May, the mysterious Santos and his ferret, Faulkner. Dumpster-diving for dinner is a far cry from suburban life, but it's better than being physically and emotionally suffocated. Or is it?

Don't Breathe a Word, Holly Cupala's second novel, reminds us that when we can never truly run away from painful truths. Certainly, we can try, but the truth will find you, and it's better to confront it than to hide from it. Love shouldn't suffocate you. Love shouldn't hurt. Take a deep breath and dive into Don't Breathe a Word. The truth will set you free.

Favorite Quotes

A trickle of courage surged through my veins like the cold air in my lungs. - Page 25

She looked five years younger just then, a little girl in her five-foot skin. - Page 160

My first memory was the day I stopped breathing. - Page 265


If you read Cupala's first YA novel, Tell Me a Secret, you may recognize a few faces that pop up in Don't Breathe a Word - but you'll have to read the books to find out who, because my lips are sealed.

(I love how the titles of Holly's books go together, don't you?)

In the meantime, you can watch this video Holly posted, a tour of real places in Seattle which appear in the book.


Don't Breathe a Word has a built-in soundtrack. One of the characters is a musician. Some important scenes take place at live music events, and Holly Cupala puts real bands like Freezepop and Ming & Ping on stage. If this book was made into a film, the score should be an undercurrent - like what Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor did for The Social Network, but with softer edges and moments of silence, to suit Joy's true nature.

Holly has already created a great playlist for her book, so I'll keep my own playlist short and sweet!

Here are the songs that played in my mind while I read the book:
He's Hurting Me by Maria Mena
Blood from a Stone by Jonatha Brooke
I Can't Stay Away by The Veronicas
Frontload by Freezepop
Sing Me Sweet by Matt Nathanson
Breathing from the musical Edges by Pasek & Paul (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)
Fragile (Free) by Maria Mena

Related Posts
Don't Breathe a Word Trailer & Giveaways
Tell Me a Secret, and I'll Tell You One...
Book Review: Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Interview: Holly Cupala
Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens
Playlists: Good Music for Good Books
Tags: books, playlists, reviews

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