Author: Holly Cupala
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: ARC Tour
Joy Delamere is suffocating...
From asthma, which 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.
Joy is a character who is afraid and desperate to get away from the controlling people in her life. She needs an escape. So she runs away to live on the streets and find a boy named Creed who had once offered to help her. She tries to be smart about it and quickly realizes that maybe she's in over her head. She seems almost helpless at times, and her vulnerability is a big part of what she has to grow out of. Asher is so slimy and vile. I can understand how Joy could become desperate to escape him. Creed and his friends have their issues, but are really just pretty amazing kids in need of some help.
The plot moves along pretty quickly as Joy learns the ways of the street and comes to witness some of the depressing horror of it that she didn't think through fully before she ran off to become a part of that world. It does contain some gritty stuff, mostly through dialogue and suggestion rather than being up front and graphic. Joy is protected by Creed from the worst of it. Some might think the story loses a bit of its edge because the main character doesn't get low enough to destroy herself, but I like that she and Creed try to keep themselves separate from some of that stuff the best that they can. And it gives Joy a chance to show the others that maybe they can find other ways to survive.
Don't Breathe a Word is a powerful read that touches on topics that are sometimes ignored or purposefully overlooked. I'd recommend it to fans of contemporary realistic fiction and issue books, particularly those dealing with emotional abuse or life on the streets.