Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon is definitely one of the most engrossing and disturbing books that I have read in a long time. I was unable to put this book down until I had read every page, and when I was forced to take a break, the story haunted me- pulling me back into the pages. Don’t Breathe a Word combines horrible people and things that go bump in the night into a twisted story that will haunt the reader long after the story is over.
This book alternates perspectives between Lisa, a young girl who disappeared, 15 years ago and Pheobe, the girlfriend of Lisa’s sister, in the present day. The chapters from Lisa’s perspective gave the reader information on the actual events of the days leading up to Lisa’s disappearance and the chapter’s from Pheobe’s perspective revolve around Pheobe and Sam (Lisa’s brother) trying to figure out what actually happened to Lisa, as there are some strange occurrences that seem to imply that Lisa is still alive and back from “the world of fairies”.
The plot in this book keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, wondering what is going to happen next. The parallel story-lines of the past and present intermingle nicely, creating lots of tension to keep the reader turning the pages. The plot in this book also throws out tons of plot twists, especially at the end of the book, ones that the reader will definitely not be expecting.
The characters in this book are all fabulous. Each of the characters acts in a relatively realistic way and it’s easy to imagine the characters as real people. Most of the characters have had traumatic experiences in their lives so it is easy to justify all of their actions and it is easy to understand why the characters act the way they do. The fact that all of the main characters faced some sort of horror throughout their life makes this book that much more terrifying, from a real world perspective.
When I first began reading this book I was unsure about the writing style. The sentences were simple and not quite descriptive enough for my tastes, yet the story quickly sucked me in. Once I was glued to the story I found the writing to be polished and easy to read, definitely perfect for this type of book.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a book that will haunt you long after you’ve finished the story or for anyone who is interested in books involving scary, mythological creatures and real world villains. I will definitely be reading more by this author.