[Review] Don't Breathe a Word - Jennifer McMahon

Title of Book: Don’t Breathe a Word
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Publisher: Harper
Publication Year: 2011
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 447

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. 

Don’t Breathe a Word is about a couple with dark past. Sam is a practical young man who doesn’t believe in things that can’t be explained logically. His young sister, Lisa, went missing fifteen years ago in a wood near their home. She disappeared without a trace, only leaving one pink shoe. People believed that she was taken by the fairies because of the local legend. People said that there used to be a village in the wood called Reliance. One day, its inhabitants suddenly disappeared as if they were spirited away, taken by fairies. Sam, with his practicality, doesn’t believe in any of this and he decided to move on with his life. In the present day, he’s all grown up and in love with a woman named Phoebe. Their live might not be glamorous, but they’re happy. Until one day Phoebe got a mysterious call that opened Sam’s past once again.
First of all, the cover of this book is so creepy. It gives out the vibe of this book, spooky. It’s pretty unsettling to me that I had to put the book face down whenever I went to sleep after reading it.
Don’t Breathe a Word is told from multiple perspectives including Phoebe’s and Lisa’s. It opens several days after Lisa disappearance. Then the chapters are told alternatively between present days and the past. This kind of narratives did help me to enjoy the story more because there are foreshadowing events that gave me clues to figure out what was really happened.
Starting this book, I knew that it would be one of those dark and twisted tales. Based on the synopsis, some might anticipate an enchanting story about fairies; spooky, but still magical. People would expect that fairies are kind and gentle creatures. Through Lore podcast, which I’ve been listening to these days, I learned the darker and grim side of fairies. I’m warning you, it’s pretty scary. Fairies are not like Tinker bell from Peter Pan or the blue fairy from Pinocchio. We’re talking about creatures who like to abduct children and replace them with changelings. 
Don’t Breathe a Word is a slow burn mystery. You get a little hint here and there. You might get bored in the first few chapters, but hang in there. It’s getting better. The mystery and the tension keep building up as the story progresses. When I was reading the book, sometimes I felt like the mysteries are adding up instead of being solved; which is fine with me. That’s what makes it a page-turner. It was thrilling and I was even frustrated a bit, eager to find out about the truth.
I love how the two main characters balance each other out; Sam with his logic and science and Phoebe who is more open-minded. These play a big part in the book. At first they will give you these ideas about fairies and the possibility that Lisa crossed over to the fairy world. Then at some point in the book, they give out logical explanations to whatever happened to them. They always did that throughout the book which will make you question whether it was supernatural or human tragedy after all. Honestly I’m not sure which one is more terrifying.
In conclusion, I enjoyed reading this book so much. I’m intrigued with the author’s other works. If her other books have the same ambiance with this one, I’m going to check it out. I recommend this book for those who love psychological thriller with a little taste of supernatural element. 

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