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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Don’t Breathe a Word

Today a review of Jennifer McMahon’s new paperback original.

I quite enjoyed her 2007 coming-of-age novel, Promise Not to Tell (Harper), so I was happy to see that this one also has teen potential. Both novels will appeal to teens who enjoy a good, creepy mystery.

MCMAHON, Jennifer. Don’t Breathe a Word. 464p. Harper. 2011. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168937-6. LC number unavailable.

Don't Breathe a Word

Adult/High School–Twelve-year-old Lisa wants to meet the King of the Fairies and has been exchanging gifts with him in the woods near her Vermont home. Her subsequent disappearance rocks her small town. Did she cross over to the land of the fairies and become Queen as she wished, or did she meet a more realistic, horrible fate? Fifteen years later, Sam, Lisa’s brother, a dedicated realist, thinks she is dead. Phoebe, his girlfriend, isn’t as sure. When they get a message from someone purporting to be Lisa, they embark on a crazy journey that turns their worlds upside down. Dual first-person points-of-view from both Lisa (15 years ago) and Phoebe (in the present day) draw together complex, parallel stories that seem to come to a conclusion only to open the possibility, once again, that things are not what they seem; that there’s something quite off-kilter in the world. This dark, psychological thriller has a conspiracy theme reminiscent of Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby (Random, 1967) and layers of red herrings, each one spiraling back on itself. Recommended for teens who enjoy dark fantasy and mysteries.–Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.