Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{May 29, 2011}   Don’t Breath A Word, by Jennifer McMahon

From Goodreads: On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen. Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.


HarperCollins has been extremely gracious to allow me to read a copy of this recently released novel, via Netgalley, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is highly suspenseful and fast paced, and the alternating chapters between past and present were fascinating. Told in the third person narrative to give the reader access to all the characters’ thoughts and feelings, McMahone creates a beautiful story of love and betrayal. I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of past and present, giving the reader a glimpse into the days leading up to Lisa’s disappearance, yet still focusing on Phoebe and Sam’s present struggle to find the truth, fifteen years later. As this novel tends to focus on the adult world, Sam and Phoebe being grownups, I wouldn’t necessarily classify this as a YA novel, though it has been categorize as such. Here’s why: the opening of the novel describes a sexual encounter between 20-year-old Phoebe and her 40+ something boss—who’s married. That, and the dark twisted background that rises to the surface within the novel, makes me a firm believer that this is for an older crowd. I was a little stunned going into the novel as I thought it was YA, so I think it’s pertinent readers are aware of what they’re getting into here. I enjoyed the novel thoroughly, but personally, this isn’t something I’d give a fourteen year old; some of this is very heavy.

This novel is a rollercoaster ride. Faeries exist… no, they don’t exist… yes, they exist… no, they don’t? What I really loved about McMahone’s story was that it kept me guessing. Each time I thought I had it figured out, I was pulled in another direction, and this lasted all the way up to the final page. As I write this, I’m still sitting here trying to decide what is truth and what is fiction. There is a very fine line that McMahone creates within the novel, and it will have you turning the pages, frantically trying to figure out if this is indeed a paranormal novel, or just an everyday story of betrayal and intrigue. I suggest you pick up a copy and decide for yourselves. Three and a half stars.


Jenn says:

Loved your review. It looks like a compelling book and I thought your review was extremely well written and intriguing. I definitely am interested in reading this book after having read that, but I’m definitely certain it’s not one that’s going to appear on my 10 year old’s book shelf. Thanks for offering the review.

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