ARC Review – Don’t Breathe a Word

Title: Don’t Breathe a Word

Author: Jordyn Taylor

Release Date: 18/5/21

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 26
(see below for breakdown)

2.5 stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I received a free ARC copy from Harper360 in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Present Day:

Eva has never felt like she belonged… not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something.

But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?

1962:

There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy. However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences.

Separated by sixty years , Eva’s and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out.

My Thoughts

This book sits firmly on the fence for me. It was well written and was a fun read but I felt the structural decisions took all the mystery out of what is a mystery plot.

The book is set in two time points, present day and the 1960s. Other than the mention of mobile phones there is little to distinguish between the two. The voices of the two characters are very similar. I also found the switch between the two perspectives sort of ruined the mystery aspect. Our present day character would get one piece of the puzzle and in the next chapter the full picture would be revealed in the 1960s perspective. This meant there was no tension built over the book and therefore the plot just felt a little flat.

The characters were also rather dimensionless. We didn’t get to really explore anything about them other than the aspects that lead to the mystery. There was a cute romance but it was very much a side story. The ending sort of neatly wrapped some stuff up while ignoring a lot of other sides of the story which again just left me feeling slightly unsatisfied with the book.

Yet, despite my complaints I did enjoy reading it. It was a quick read and I did like the concept overall.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 4

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 5

CHARACTERS – 5

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 4

PLOT – 4

ENJOYMENT – 4

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

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