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Don't Breathe a Word
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Don't Breathe a Word
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"A fast-paced, exhilarating story about a boarding school shrouded in secrecy and the girl who will do anything to right the institution's wrongs." —Jessica Goodman, Indiebound bestselling author...
"A fast-paced, exhilarating story about a boarding school shrouded in secrecy and the girl who will do anything to right the institution's wrongs." —Jessica Goodman, Indiebound bestselling author...
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  • "A fast-paced, exhilarating story about a boarding school shrouded in secrecy and the girl who will do anything to right the institution's wrongs." —Jessica Goodman, Indiebound bestselling author of They Wish They Were Us

    Critically acclaimed author Jordyn Taylor weaves an addictive thriller perfect for fans of Truly Devious.

    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 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.

About the Author-

  • Jordyn Taylor is a New York City–based writer and journalist, currently the deputy editor at Men's Health magazine; her work has appeared in the New York Observer, Mic, and Glamour.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 5, 2021
    With its boarding school setting and intertwined pair of timelines, this solid novel by Taylor (The Paper Girl of Paris) calls to mind the Truly Devious series. The narrator of the present-day thread is Manhattanite Eva, who recently started as a junior at Upstate New York’s tony Hardwick Preparatory Academy. Eager to make friends, Eva is thrilled when she’s tapped to join the Fives, a secret society, and vows to do what it takes to become a part of the glamorous crowd. Back in 1962, timid Connie, 16, is persuaded to join an experiment dreamed up by Hardwick’s charismatic new faculty member, Mr. Kraus. To test a program that Mr. Kraus says will prepare people for the reality of life after a nuclear attack, Connie and five other students, including her crush Craig, spend four days of spring break locked in the school’s fallout shelter. Through their chatty first-person narratives, Eva and Connie, both white, neatly convey their contrasting personalities and eras while revealing their growing uneasiness with their respective situations. As the novel’s pace accelerates, ratcheting up the tension, the connections between the two girls’ stories become ever clearer. A persuasive argument for the virtues of questioning groupthink and looking beyond glittering surfaces. Ages 13–up. Agent: Danielle Burby, Nelson Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2021

    Gr 8 Up-A group of teens who belong to a secret society at a private boarding school in New York are tested on how well they can keep secrets and follow the dean's strict guidelines. Eva, one of the newest students on campus, isn't sure what she is getting herself into when she is invited to a Fives recruitment party out in the woods. Trying to make friends, she accepts the invitation and the challenges she is asked to complete in order to join the secret society. Alternating chapters offer the story of Connie, a student who volunteers to test the school's nuclear fallout shelter in 1962, with tragic results. Readers will be engaged as Eva and Connie's stories intertwine and the suspense builds chapter by chapter. Many facets of this story could be relatable to high school students who have had to change schools, make new friends, and find their niche. Most characters are cued as white. VERDICT An engaging thriller, recommended for YA collections.-Cassandra Bland, High Plains Lib. Dist., Evans, CO

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2021
    A decades-old secret comes to light at an elite boarding school. In 1962, Hardwick Preparatory Academy "lifer" Connie Abbott is, like many Americans, worried about the bomb. The last thing she wants to do is pretend there has been a nuclear attack, but when her crush suggests she join five other students in an experiment to test the school's fallout shelter, she can't say no. Things go sideways when the participants discover the experiment has a hidden, sinister purpose (think McCarthyism meets Stanley Milgram's famous psychological experiment). In the present, high school junior Eva Storm has been at Hardwick for a week and is eager to make friends. Her chance to fit in comes when she's recruited to join the Fives, Hardwick's secret society. As she goes through the trials (i.e., hazing), she finds out that only five of the six students who went into the shelter in 1962 came out alive and that students are still forbidden from talking about it. The story grows in intensity from there, as Eva's and Connie's first-person narratives collide, the events of 1962 come to a boil, and Eva makes an unsettling discovery about what transpired all those years ago. Personalitywise, the girls are opposites: Eva is an upbeat extrovert while Connie is an anxious introvert. Both are likable, though a bit misguided at times, but they each possess a strong sense of right and wrong. Eva and Connie are assumed White. An expertly plotted boarding school mystery. (Mystery. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2021
    Grades 7-10 Eva Storm is forced to attend Hardwick Preparatory Academy for high school after getting into too much trouble at her previous school. Making friends in a new setting proves difficult for Eva until she is introduced to the Fives, a secret society of high-achieving students. The thrill of being accepted by the most exclusive group in school quickly wears off when Eva discovers a dark secret surrounding the death of a student in 1962. When Eva's friend Erik is expelled for investigating those events, she must challenge the other Fives and the school's autocratic leader, Dean Allenby, who will stop at nothing to protect the school's elite reputation. This is told from the perspectives of Eva and Connie, a Hardwick student from 1962 who witnesses the student's death. The choice of two narrators in different decades helps to ground seemingly disparate events and builds up to a satisfying conclusion. Readers looking for young adult material with a dark academia aesthetic will enjoy this title.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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