Joy is fleeing her life. Leaving behind her parents, always hovering because of her asthma, and her abusive boyfriend, Asher. She flees the comfort of her suburban home, her friends, and virtually her entire being, headed for the streets of Seattle, hoping she can find the boy who once offered to help her.
On the streets, Joy finds a new family, but with that sole comfort comes a price. She's dirty, has no money, winter is coming, and the fear of being beaten up, robbed, or raped is an every day reality. A harsh reality that so many teens in Seattle and all over this country, face every single day.
Joy's story is fictional, but it gives a voice to the thousands of teens on the streets that no one speaks for. So many of us would think that Joy's comfortable, middle/upper class home, caring parents, and kind friends would be enough to keep her happy. No one sees what's underneath...what causes pain for so many and forces them to run away. I loved the honesty in the story and in Joy's emotional state and how her feelings are still that of a teen girl's, even after being forced into adulthood so quickly.
Written on a tough subject, this one won't be for everyone. Rape, abusive relationships, drug use, prostitution...they all make appearances. The amount of cursing is definitely up there, though realistic in its use. I'm typically not a fan of lots of f-bombs being dropped unless that type of speech is actually a true part of the story and I really felt it fit here. That being said, I would still advise parents to possibly screen this book to see how comfortable you are with your teen reading it. Mature subject matter, but IMPORTANT subject matter.
I've never read a book by Cupala before, but I'm thoroughly impressed. Can't get Joy and her story out of my head.
Don't Breathe a Word
Review copy provided by publisher