Halloween Character Booktacular: Holly Cupala + Giveaway

Welcome back to our site to during the Halloween Character Booktacular celebration. OUaT's day to post is every Weds during October. You can follow the full schedule HERE. This event is hosted by A Book Lovers Review and Good Choice Reading.

Today we are featuring one of my favorite books written by one of my favorite authors. Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala. You will get to read an excerpt from Don't Breathe a Word

Holly Cupala Links: WebGoodreadsFacebookTwitterYouTube

Biography: Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. She has worked with the Western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, been a readergirlz diva, and now serves on the board of the University of Washington Writing Program. When she isn't writing and making art, she spends time with her husband and daughter in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope.

TELL ME A SECRET is her first novel, and her second, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, is now available from HarperCollins. Ten percent of the author's proceeds go toward World Vision's Hope for Sexually Exploited Girls.

Excerpt from Don’t Breathe a Word


Holly Cupala

The night of the Halloween party, everyone from the normals to the most strung-out hipsters jammed into an abandoned warehouse building for what was sure to be an epic party.

They took IDs and cover at the door, but Creed had a backstage pass—he was handling equipment for all three bands taking the stage, if you could call it that. Plywood sheets scattered across some crumbling concrete blocks, with a tangle of cables and extension cords.

Creed dressed in his usual raggedy T-shirt, jeans, and army surplus jacket, though he had borrowed my black eyeliner to complete his look—either zombie or dead rock star. I didn’t ask. We weren’t talking much since the fight.

I wore a shredded black lace number I’d smuggled out of St. Vincent’s under the potato coat. My skin had whitened as my cough wore on, dark circles spreading under my eyes. I could barely keep them open some days.

That night, I tucked an inhaler and my cell phone against my ribs before stashing the coat in a bush. I ran through the rain into a totally different universe—one populated with the manic menagerie of the underground.

A cough caught me off guard and shook me violently. It was cold in here, and then hot, with not enough air for the hundreds of people pouring in.

“How do I look?” Santos appeared in a shiny pleather skirt and bustier with a weird, enormous thrift-store necklace with fishnets and heels. I had to do a double take. He almost looked like May, except without the track marks and haunted pallor. He wore heavy makeup—lashes long and exaggerated, lips the color of dried blood. He made a prettier girl than May.

“You look hot, actually.”

Santos grinned. “Yeah?”

I giggled. “Yeah. You make a pretty smokin’ girl.”

Santos grabbed my shoulders and planted a crazy kiss on my lips. “You, too, beautiful. You know I love you. Oh, that reminds me.” He dug into his pocket and pressed a half-full bottle of amoxicillin in my hand. “Hard to get this time—sorry it took me so long.”

I silently offered a prayer of thanks. This would keep the floodwaters in my lungs at bay just a little while longer.

When Santos disappeared back into the crowd, I touched my lips and came away with a streak of red on my fingers. My skin still tingled, like in that kiss there had been some kind of farewell. A surge of missing came up in my chest—missing the squat house. Missing Santos coming up the stairs in the middle of the night and cuddling in a puppy pile with May and Faulkner. Missing the simple kindness of coffee made from old grounds. Missing Creed.

The DJ worked magic on the crowd, first lulling them with hypnotic beats then tearing them up with gut-wrenching guitar riffs. It seemed like everyone under the age of twenty-five was here, sweating and kissing and throbbing into this twisted night. It was illegal to smoke in restaurants and public buildings in Seattle, but in this dingy warehouse the lights bounced off a choke of haze.

At first, I thought Creed didn’t see me, he was so focused on his job. But then he spotted me in the outer rings of the pit. He nodded, then went back to his work.

The first band took the stage late, ripping through their instruments in typical Seattle indie style. No one batted an eyelash when I found my way over to the keg and scored a free beer. Creed didn’t drink, which made me want a cold draft all the more. He leaned against the wall behind the stage, closing his eyes like he was listening to a lullaby. Even if the music sounded like it came out of a garage, maybe he could hear the hidden beauty of it, woven among the notes.

Santos was working the crowd, laughing and talking to a thick figure in full getup. My eyes kept wandering back to him in his costume. He looked as much like a real girl as May or me and nothing like the boy I remembered from the pool, bare and as dear to me as any of my own brothers.

That seemed so long ago now. That was the night I’d first lied to them, and I’d been lying ever since.

At last the band ended their set. Creed sprang into action, a tall shape moving in the darkness. The DJ went back to the pulsing techno.

I weaved my way back among the bodies, watching for allies and enemies as I went. My teeth chattered at the chill that swept through the room, and I wrapped my arms around myself. Some guy in creepy clown outfit grabbed me. “What’ll you do for twenty bucks?” he asked with a leering grin.

What would May have said, now that she had given all of her powers to Maul? I ignored him and pushed past with my beer in hand.

Creed frowned when he saw me. He looked out over the sea of heads. “May’s here,” he shouted through the throng of sound. “Maybe you can find her and see if she’s okay.”

I stared at him. A retort died on my lips. For Creed, checking on May was only that: checking on her, nothing more. I suddenly felt ashamed for ever thinking anything else. I would tell him, as soon as the party was over. Maybe I would tell him the truth…about everything.

For now, I just nodded.

The second band started up, ramping the music to the next level. Neeta would have loved it. She’d be hovering around the merch table as soon as the show was over, chatting easily with the band. The table, piled with T-shirts, CDs, and buttons, was guarded by a werewolf and some kind of mutant punk video-game monster ready to put up a fight if someone like Santos tried to filch a sticker.

Creed talked in low shouts with one of the organizers—the band was cutting their set short because of some argument between the lead and drums. I tried to catch Santos’s eye, but he’d disappeared. The guy he’d been talking to was nowhere to be seen.

I slipped around the edges of the smoky hoard, the room spinning a little as I went. Noise from the string of giant speakers filled the space where warm, weirdly costumed bodies didn’t.

No one noticed a skeletal girl in a slip as she staggered back and forth, grinning a bloody grin before letting her strap fall down one shoulder and pushing against one guy, then another.

Nobody except me.

As she teetered closer to me, I could smell a stench on her breath like an open grave. She looked around, but it was impossible to recognize anyone in the pounding sound and darkness. Maul could be everywhere and nowhere, like God or the devil. It didn’t matter if he was actually watching, as long as we felt like he was. Just like Asher.

Don't Breathe a Word
Author: Holly Cupala
Pages: 320 pages
Reading Level: YA
Release Date: January 3rd 2012
Review Source: HarperTEEN
Available: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound
Review: Yara's 
Two chapter sneak preview

Summary: (from goodreads) Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words—tender words, cruel words—until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe…if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

How was that excerpt? If you haven't read this book, DO IT NOW!!! We are giving away a signed copy of Don't Breathe a Word and an special edition audiobook of Tell Me a Secret. Read the rafflecopter terms and conditions below. Don't forget... you can also enter to win a Kindle + $25 Amazon gift card just for following the tour! Full details over at Good Choice Reading or A Book Lovers Review!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That was a great excerpt. It really drew me in. I just have to know what she is hiding and lying about. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  2. I really love Holly's writing style!!!! She really knows how to engage the reader.

  3. What a great excerpt - now I really want to read this book!

  4. wow the book sound so cool and then i would love to read and blog on it

  5. This book is so so awesome! The characters, the plot, I completely connected:)

    Thank you:)

  6. Thanks for the giveaway and excerpt!

  7. Oh, I looveee the writing! Don't Breathe a Word sounds like a great story, and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Thanks for the excerpt, the book looks amazing! Happy Halloween!

    Val Pearson
    lastnerve2000 at gmail dot com


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