Don't Breathe a Word

( 194 )

Overview

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...

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Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Family secrets and fairy lore create a shifting reality in McMahon's unsettling novel about the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who longed to become Queen of the Fairies. Fifteen years after Lisa goes missing, her younger brother, Sam, gets a strange phone call that leads him and his girlfriend, Phoebe, to discover a book, supposedly written by the King of the Fairies, that Lisa used as her bible to cross over, and which prompts Sam and Phoebe to meet up with Sam's cousin, Evie, to see if they can figure out what happened to Lisa. Nothing is as it seems from that moment on, and Phoebe's longtime fear of a dark man in the shadows seeps back after she discovers, in true woo-woo fashion, that she is pregnant. McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) alternates between the past and present with loads of portent and foreshadowing, creating a rural Vermont chiller with a Rosemary's Baby vibe, but even after a surprising villainess emerges and more than a few disquieting passages about Lisa are burned through, many readers will remain in the dark. (May)
Chevy Stevens
“Beautifully written and spooky, Don’t Breathe a Word wraps around you and pulls you into a dark world of fairies and family secrets.”
Randy Susan Meyers
“Jennifer McMahon never flinches and never fails to surprise as her stories twist down unexpected roads. Don’t Breathe a Word balances love and horror as McMahon weaves a young couple into a perverse fairyland where Rosemary’s Baby could be at home.”
Joshilyn Jackson
“Jennifer McMahon’s novels are like the perfect winter truffle: dark, rich, earthy, and an absolute, decadent pleasure. Don’t Breathe a Word is a haunting page-turner that kept me up, spine shivering and enthralled, way past my bedtime.”
Wall Street Journal
“[A] strange and unsettling shocker ... With the tale’s outcome utterly unforeseeable even as it races along, “Don’t Breathe a Word” leaves you breathless.”
Library Journal
A young girl disappears in the woods one summer night. The only clue to her whereabouts rests with her brother and her cousin, who never reveal what they know because to them it seems crazy—another one of her wild imaginings. The King of the Fairies was coming to take her away, she told them. And so, it would seem, he did. But 15 years later, Sam Nazzaro has grown up and moved on with his life when he receives word from his long-lost sister. She is back, and the Fairy King wants to make good on old promises, she says, to take what belongs to him. At first Sam is disbelieving, but soon he and his girlfriend, Phoebe, find themselves wrapped up in a sinister plot, no longer knowing what is real and what is imagined. VERDICT McMahon's (Dismantled) latest literary thriller seems designed to keep readers guessing, but with an overly complex plot and excess of characters, the thrill of suspense is lost amid confusion and frustrating loose ends. Only for the author's fans.—Leigh Wright, Bridgewater, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061689376
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 212,345
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer McMahon is the author of Dismantled, the New York Times bestseller Island of Lost Girls, and the breakout debut novel Promise Not to Tell. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 194 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(62)

4 Star

(61)

3 Star

(32)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(26)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 195 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    spine chillingly creepy

    First off the book is written from two different perspectives: phoebe, present day and Lisa, fifteen years ago detailing the days just before she disappeared. I enjoyed this format very much. I also liked the weaving of fairy tales and real life it makes the reader question what is real and what is not, and what's really going on beneath the surface of all the characters and their lives.

    I loved how scary this book was. I read the first half off and on for a few nights before bed (i'm surprised and proud I was brave enough to fall asleep!)and then the second half all at once today. its a really good creepy/heart racing goose bump causing book that's best read in one sitting so you get lost in it and can't put it down. I would definitely recommend it if you want an escape that is mysterious and creepy but doesnt exactly have a happy ending...or any ending at all really :P (leaves you with some questions to figure out for yourself)
    I'll definitely read another one of hers.

    20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Breathe A Wprd

    Fifteen years ago, 12-year old Lisa who is obsessed with fairies, disappears. Jump to now; having received new information, her brother Sam and his girlfriend Phoebe try to track her down. Jumping back through both time periods, we learn of Lisa's obsession with the King of Fairies, and the secrets hidden with Sam's family. Did Lisa find the land of the fairies or is it something more sinister?

    Was this a fantasy book or a mystery? I guess you could say a little of both. I had trouble getting into the story, but once Sam makes some headway into his sister's disappearance I enjoyed it more. The ending left me wondering, what was the author trying to say? I was somewhat frustrated.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Very Good - Keeps You Guessing!

    I really enjoyed her other book, "Dismantled" so I decided I'd read this one. I'm a huge fan of mysteries and this one will keep you guessing! Jennifer McMahon has become one of my favorite writers because just when you think you've got it figured out, you don't. Some people didn't like the references to fairies, but I think its a breath of fresh air in a typical crime mystery.

    PS: Just a side note; I live in Vermont (which is where the author is from) and have to say that the Lord's Prayer Rock DOES exist. I used to ride by it every day on my way to school. Might add a little extra spook factor for you :)

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2011

    Pales in comparison to her other novels

    I have read all of Jennifer McMahon's other books and absolutely loved them. This book, however, was one major dissapointment. From the clumsy characters to the sloppy and hard to follow plot, it seems like Ms. McMahon should stay out of the silly fairy world and stick to her "real world" story-telling.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Kritters Ramblings

    What a twisted, crazy weird story. The synopsis reeled me in hoping for a story about a girl that goes missing and her brother who is finding clues 15 years later. This may have ben the underlying premise of the story, but the inclusion of a weird fairy story that has been passed down from former generations made for a weird book that I couldn't put down. I flipped page to page to find out how the story all fit together, but I was definitely disappointed by the inclusion of this weird underlying story of a fairy land.

    Short and sweet this time - a good book in the mystery aspect, but I definitely did not enjoy all the fairy talk. I would only recommend this book to those who enjoy the supernatural and the mystery.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Modern twist on haunting fairytale idea

    You start out really liking some of the characters and being intrigued by the mystery of the fairytale surrounding their childhood. You become more involved as you attempt to puzzle out what is real and what was childhood memories gone wacky. Then you lose patience with the characters and the author as the storyline becomes more convoluted and hopelessly entangled in an unbelievable mess at the end.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    Not worth the money or time to read

    I found this book to be repetitious, poor story line and not entertaining. I figured out the story line in the first 2-3 chapters and the ending lacking. I read it all the way through just because I bought it. Also several misspelled word or missing words.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    would not recommend this book

    The book was good at first but then the ending was awful. Not anything like I thought it would be from the description that was given by the author. I was very disappointed.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    So disappointed!

    Great start... Not sure what happened.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    Disappointing read.

    I expected a much better book from reading the synopsis however, this book was a complete waste of my time. It should be listed as Paranormal fiction. Would not reccomend it and will not read other books by the author. Disappointed.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Great book

    This was a great book. My first book by this author and i will definately read more. I enjoyed the telling of events from past to present. Ending leaves you hanging but in a good,
    suspensful way. I would recommend this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Highly recommend!!!!

    This book was angry read that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I could not put the book down once I started. I loved the integration of the
    Wet and present between chapters and loved how real the faires seemed to be. The characters were real and relatable and I loved how the book was dark and edgy. Truly a great read

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not your average fairy story! Creepy read. :)

    Don't Breathe a Word

    I loved this book. It wasn't anything like I expected. This isn't a average fairy story.

    You are better off without any preconceived notions about this story, so I'll be brief on its description.

    A 12 year old girl, Lisa, tells her brother that she has found a door into another world and is leaving to meet the King of the Fairies. She goes to Reliance, a mysterious abandoned town of the past within the woods behind her home, and disappears. Nobody seems to know what exactly happened to her.

    Years later, Phoebe becomes involved with Sam, Lisa's brother, and questions Lisa's disappearance, the fairies, and Reliance. Her quest for the truth leads to so many twists and turns I couldn't begin to describe them all.

    The characters in this book are so real. I soon forgot there are no such things as fairies.or are there?

    The character descriptions and imagery are strong. An imaginative tale that kept me glued. A creepy and entertaining read.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    family secrets and faerie tales create a creepy adult book

    Fifteen years ago a young girl disappeared in the woods behind her home. She told her brother she was going to live in the faerie world with the king of the faeries. No clues were ever found. Now family secrets and the supernatural collide and tumble as the book drives to an unexpected and unnerving end. Jennifer McMahon has created a creepy faerie tale for adults in her fourth book, Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel. Shove some boxes under your bed or pretend you don't hear things that go bump in the night.

    Disclaimer: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    CA-REEEEPY!!!!

    Just when you stopped being scared of what is under the bed... Wow. This was definitely a page turner. The blend between reality and fantasy is pretty good. Just when you think you KNOW, you don't' know.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    Great

    SCARY AWESOMENEWS

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    I loved this book! I could not put it down. And when I wasn't

    I loved this book! I could not put it down. And when I wasn't reading it, I was definitely thinking about it! It gave me the creeps! I love that it was a mystery yet Jennifer McMahon worked in the fairy/paranormal aspect into it.



    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Odd and pleasing

    Odd story, well written and peaked my interest through till the very end. I enjjoy this authors amazing creativity.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    Read this book

    A total page turner I was hoping I could finish it before my plane landed (I did).
    Totally different than anything I have read in a while. Told from two different places and times even when you can see the two times/places collide, you don't know what's going to happen. This book combines the supernatural and the creepiness of the real world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    I'm Hooked!

    This is a very deep story! Just when you think you have it all figured out the plot thickens. Are you ready to wrap your head around a new type of thriller? Chew on this one for a while and prepare yourself for one twost after the next! Good luck and enjoy the ride!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 195 Customer Reviews

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