Holly Cupala breathes life into the world of Seattle’s street kids in her new young adult novel, Don’t Breathe a Word. (See what I did there?) All kidding aside, Cupala handily and delicately addresses some serious issues in her latest book — never shying away from the tough subjects, much like in her first book, Tell Me a Secret.
Don’t Breathe a Word tells the story of teenager Joy Delamere — whose well-meaning but overprotective parents will do whatever it takes to keep her safe from a serious case of asthma — even trust her untrustworthy boyfriend Asher to protect her. But when his cruelty goes too far, Joy goes to extremes to escape him — running away to a homeless boy for help. It’s on the streets of Seattle where Joy will discover the dangers of keeping secrets, and just how strong she really is.
Cupala’s writing is every bit as raw, gritty and honest as her story. She draws you in, balancing Joy’s memories of happier times with the dangers and challenges of life on the streets — yet the lines aren’t so clearly drawn. She makes it easy to see Joy’s dilemma, and the reasons behind her difficult decisions.
Likewise, Joy isn’t the only character facing darkness and keeping secrets. Don’t Breathe a Word explores a plethora of contemporary issues — yet the book never feels like a lecture or a lesson. Cupala’s story unfolds so naturally that the truths within it never feel forced or deliberate.
Don’t Breathe a Word is the type of story that will wrap itself around your brain and refuse to let go, lingering with you long after the last page.
Don’t Breathe a Word is in stores today.
(PS. Fans of Tell Me a Secret will also notice a few sweet and lovingly placed cameos!)