Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon

Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: eGalley (courtesy of Netgalley and Harper Collins)
Genre: Paranormal Thriller, Adult
Publication Date: 5.17.2011
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.

One thing's for sure, do NOT read this book at night, even if you are tucked nice and safely into your own bed! Don't Breathe A Word has the creepy thrill factor down pat, and it doesn't hesitate to violate widely known "safe spots." I loved every creepy chill I had, though, even as I flipped all the lights on, sat up so I could see around me better, and tucked the blanket under my legs real tight. I just couldn't stop reading for anything as unimportant as my own fear.

There is something alluring about this book, that kept me up reading all night. The story was scary, tragic, nutty, and just hopeful enough to keep me awake and unsure of how the ending would turn out. It is a very good book. Jennifer McMahon created a genius tale for adults, one that takes its readers back to childhood in a haunting way. I loved that.

Despite all that, I cannot recommend this book. So begins what could become a pretty lengthy explanation:

There were many ways the ending could have turned out. As I read, I could see the paths in my mind, mentally closing them off one by one, as each was ruled out by events in the story. As it got closer to the end, I saw two paths left, and hoped and hoped that it wouldn't be the one I feared it would be. I could sense what was coming, lurking at the back of my mind, and I really hoped I was wrong. I wasn't.

*This is where some spoilers come in...I'm sorry, but I can't explain this without them.*

Are you still reading? Well, if you are, I assume it's because you want to know what happens. To be blunt, little girls are taken, their lives ruined and the children they're forced to have, taken from them, and some very important people who shouldn't be, are in on it. We know some of this from the start (it's in the description), but it is that last part that was such a shock. And after a heated revelation/conversation towards the end of the book that contained no emotion on one party's side, a personal line had been crossed. 

Please don't think I'm being prude. I accept the fact that these things happen, and it isn't an automatic "line-crossing" if I come across them in books. But the utter lack detachment, the lack of explanation as to why these people were in on it and why they did it, and even the question of what good it did to have those specific people in on it all in the first place, is what really throws me.

And even then, after all this, the ending throws me again by leading the story onto that other path, the one I had hoped it would go on before, but really it was all just one huge path, leaving the story with no redeeming factors. None. 

Am I making any sense?

I sure hope so, because *the spoilers are done!*

I cringe as I type this, because the story was just so excitingly good...up until that line was crossed. I if you've been following my blog, you know I have been super excited to read it. Now that I have, I just can't recommend it. I originally planned to give a lower rating, but I raised it a little because it was such a good book otherwise.

Read this if:
...you want a thrilling read, and you don't mind getting into the imagination of a child...even if it makes you wonder what is real, and what isn't.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Lots of swearing. Talks about incest towards the end, and describes one incident very briefly.}


  1. Its sad when lines are crossed in books, but unfortunately it does happen. I'm sorry that ruined your enjoyment of this, especially as you were so excited for it. It sounds so good as well.

  2. O definitely doesn't sound like it's for me. Great review.

  3. Got shivers just reading the review.

  4. I'm still undecided about whether I want to read this one or not!

  5. Cait: Thanks for your comment. It was really sad, but you are right that it happens. It just sucks when the rest of the book was so good!

    Juju: We're fellow scaredey cats, if I remember right, which means you definitely don't want to read this book. :)

    Ann: Lol. It was THAT creepy!

    Jules: If you end up reading it, I'd love to know what you think about the ending.

  6. I just finished reading this and I totally agree with you on the "do NOT read at night" part! I think it was one of those books that you can't stop thinking about but you want to so bad, because I really enjoyed it but once night came I wanted my sleep and I just couldn't help but think about the "Dark Man" AHHH. Hah, great review though! :)

  7. Lol, I was totally afraid of him, too! Didn't sleep a lot that first night, lol. Thanks for visiting!

  8. I has all my favorite genres horror, suspence, and never-ending fairy tales


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