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Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe (edition 2012)

by Sarah Crossan

Series: Breathe (1)

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3704529,266 (3.59)11
Authors:Sarah Crossan
Info:Greenwillow Books (2012), Hardcover, 384 pages

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Breathe by Sarah Crossan



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It was a good, well written book, which I enjoyed. My problem is overabundance of YA dystopians with pretty similar concepts. Particularly, Under The Never Sky comes to mind as something slightly more inventive.

The ideas of Breathe feel important, but I would have loved more explanation as to what actually happened to reduce the saturation of oxygen in the atmosphere that much. I would even take a foreword like in Terminator - a description of bleak, futuristic world and how we came to this point, plus the ever persistent question - what of the rest of the world? For the love of all holy, give me some idea of the global picture, not just one city-state.

Quinn, Bea and Alina are pretty decent characters, but again all three lack that desperate edge which makes dystopian teens so awesome. Alina is supposed to be the toughest of the bunch, but it's sheltered, pampered Quinn who has the most drive.

I loved the world of The Resistance and really wanted to concentrate more on their developing an ability to breathe in 6% oxygen. The leader, I kid you not, reminded me of Tilda Swinton as Sal in The Beach.

She's got that slightly unhinged, ruthless personality which allows her to keep her people under control and relentlessly grow the trees, her babies.

Ironically, it's the secondary characters which shine in this book: the villainous alcoholic Pod Minister, half-crazy Savage pensioner and a revolutionary leader of The Resistance. They were fabulous, and felt more alive than generic Quinn, Bea and Alina.

Pardon the pun, it might not be a breathless read, but it's a very good book, despite me feeling neutral about it. Give it a chance especially if you are a teen.

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  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Simply breathing is no longer something to be taken for granted.

Since the Switch, after the world as we currently know it had deteriorated so far that it was no longer sustainable, the remaining population has lived in the Pods, massive glass domes. Quinn and Bea live in the pod ruled by the Ministry and Breathe that Quinn's father works for. A Ministry they've always trusted to keep them safe.

Aline, does not trust the Ministry or what they tell the people. Part of the Resistance, she's been stealing things from them for a long time. Small tree clippings from the one - and only - place in the pod where trees grow are one of the most dangerous things for her to steal.

When her theft forces her to go on the run, it's Quinn - who's already besotted with her - and Bea who will have to come to her rescue. Planned as a two day trip into the Outlands, Bea and Quinn's trip is looking to be much, much different now. And with only two days worth of oxygen, what will happen to them, in the oxygen deprived Outlands, on the third day?

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. Different novels have played with the idea of different elements of society or things we're used to being taken away or rationed, but this was the first I've heard of or read where oxygen was at issue.. (Video with Sarah Crossan talking about it here)

I really did wonder how a book could have tension when the options were 'keep breathing' or 'suffocate' but Crossan did things really well - and quite unexpectedly, as well.

There was a hierarchical structure built into the society in the pod that played into who had oxygen there - and how they were allowed to use it. The way that worked, carried over into Quinn and Bea's trip and the preparations for it as well as their conditioning for it. I liked that there was so much thought put into getting different characters on different levels, not just in terms of status but also in terms of breathing. I do wish, however, that there had been a bit more world building or maybe just attention paid, to the society created inside the pod.

The bits of it that we did see seemed so well thought out - they established life in the pod as well as how the characters reacted to things or were able to do things outside of it - that I really would have liked to see some more. How things worked, the order of things, day-to-day, if there were other pods- the taste we are given left me wanting more.

Breathe is told from three different, alternating perspectives: Alina's, Quinn's and Bea's. The book does start off with three quite different characters, for one reason or another, so it's very nice to get chapters from each of their perspectives each of them seeing similar things quite differently and letting the reader in on different parts of the story.

Perhaps owing to that first person, we don't get a lot of background - or backstory for the characters. We learn what they're doing at the time of the story and one character has a couple of past anecdotes told. The other two, however, exist, for Breathe mainly in the present. I think their personalities come through strongly enough and any sharing between them would have actually thrown the story off. I do hope, though, that a bit more will make it into the series.

A great debut that is a fast read - it's terribly hard to put down - and one that will leave you so very ready for Book 2, Resist.

Rating: 9/10
  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
Goodreads Synopsis: The world has no air. If you want to survive, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't? And what if you think everything could be different? Three teens will leave everything they know behind in Sarah Crossan's gripping and original dystopian teen novel of danger, longing, and glimmering hope that will appeal to fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth.

National Book Award Finalist Kathleen Duey called Breathe "An amazing story! Sit down. Inhale. Now, while you still can." Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in glass domes full of manufactured air. Protected . . . or trapped? Or controlled? Alina's a revolutionary who believes we can save the environment. Quinn's a Premium who's never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who's never worried about anything but having enough air. When the three cross paths, they will change everything. Sarah Crossan's thrilling and provocative novel is about passion, about yearning for something better, and about breaking free for the very first time. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books proclaims it an "action-packed dystopian series opener to watch out for."

My Review: First of all, I’d like to say that I absolutely loved every minute of reading this book. It was an exciting adventure of standing up for what you believe in, tearing down the government, and being passionate about life, and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. It’s unlike anything I’ve read recently, and the characters are really realistic, as is the world. I feel like it could happen, it was that lifelike and well thought out. I was hooked from the minute I started reading it and although my e reader died a few times reading it, for the most part I couldn’t put it down. There wasn’t many things I didn’t like about the book although as there is with everything, there were a few things. How Quinn only liked Bea after Alina and many other girls turned him down and he over romanticized her during his near death experience. How even though a tank was stolen, the army just gave up and dropped the whole subject after a while. I mean, it’s a tank. I wasn’t a fan of Quinn’s parents, although I think that was kind of the point, and I didn’t like how the Pod Minister didn’t have a name, he was just referred to as the Pod Minister every sentence. I mean sure, I get it, but he was more of a stand by character than a big authority figure. Anyways, that’s about all I didn’t like about the book. The world and the characters were well thought out and seemed factual, I mean as much as fiction could be, the cover of the book was beautiful and very eye catching, I loved that the characters grew and seemed to develop more throughout the book, and how they also acted their age. They also were very passionate about their lives, again like real people would be, and I also liked that there were three different viewpoints to switch from, so that you got every side of the story. It’s an awesome book and I definitely recommend that you check it out if you have the chance to. You won’t regret it. Thanks for reading.

(Radioactivebookreviews.wordpress.com) ( )
  aurora.schnarr | Mar 5, 2015 |
Imagine a world where there aren’t any trees or oceans. As trees died and oceans dried up, oxygen levels fell and people perished. The Breathe Corporation rescued everyone by building a glass dome, called the Pod, and pumping in just enough oxygen to keep everyone alive.

Don't forget to follow my blog so you can get my complete reviews in your mailbox. Until then, here's the rest of my review on this great book: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/breathe-sarah-crossan/
( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
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Breathing is a right, not a privilege, so I'm stealing it back.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In a barren land, a shimmering glass dome houses the survivors of the Switch, the period when oxygen levels plunged and the green world withered. A state lottery meant a lucky few won safety, while the rest suffocated in the thin air. And now Alina, Quinn, and Bea--an unlikely trio, each with their own agendas, their own longings and fears--walk straight into the heart of danger. With two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, they leave the dome. What will happen on the third day?"--… (more)

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