Don’t Breathe a Word — Jennifer McMahon
Can you say creepy? In “Don’t Breathe a Word,” 12-year-old Lisa is obsessed with the remnants of the abandoned village in the woods behind her house. It is where she communicates with the Fairy King and believes he will someday appear to her and take her as his queen. While her younger brother Sam and cousin Evie accompany her on many of her escapades into the woods, both worry she is far too obsessed with this fantasy. And yet both are secretly terrified that the king may exist.
Not far into the book it’s soon apparent that there is more going on than just mere fantasy. Amidst the secrets between Lisa’s mother and aunt, a father who no longer speaks, and cryptic gifts left for Lisa in the woods, the mystery is both mystical and familial.
Fifteen years after Lisa’s disappearance that fateful summer, Phoebe, Sam’s girlfriend, is quickly embroiled into the drama surrounding Lisa after a note suddenly arrives leading the couple to believe she has come back. From the very beginning we are told that Phoebe has been visited by a dark shadow man from the time she was a little girl. This unsettling little tidbit leaves the reader wondering what exactly is the genre of the book, making it all the more spellbinding to read. Is there a Fairy King? Or was Lisa’s disappearance 15 years prior nothing more — although equally horrifying — than a mundane abduction. The truth, as it turns out, is all the more disturbing.
“Don’t Breathe a Word” was one of those stories that can impact you long after the last page has been turned. And if you’re a fantasy lover like me, the idea of a fairy world where beautiful immortals rule is a wonderful thought. This, however, turned me off on fairies for the time being.
With the last sentence read and the book closed, the creeps set in and decided to stay. It was late, well after I should have been sleeping, and I closed the book and set it down, eying the bathroom warily. The soft glow of the bedroom light was comforting, but the hallway was dark and I was sure it was full of shadow men. But I had to put my 33-year-old mom pants on (cute, fitted stylish pants, mind you) and check on my son before going to sleep. And seriously, the creeps didn’t leave for days. Just writing this gives me a spine tingle. Cute mom pants on.
Recommendation: This book definitely casts its own spell on the reader, so I would recommend it for anyone who likes a good mystery that is sure to disturb. You can get a used copy for as low as 99 cents on the Barnes & Nobles website.