Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
AH’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-
Imagine a world where oxygen is lacking. Instead of the usual amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, the levels of oxygen plummet, resulting in the need for breathing masks and cumbersome oxygen tanks. This is the world of Breathe, a novel by Sarah Crossan.
Sometime in the not so distant future, an event called The Switch caused oxygen levels to decrease. Mankind found a short term solution care of a company called Breathe. People moved to large glass pods and breathed air manufactured by Breathe.
Breathe is narrated by three alternating points of view. Each narrator is a teen living in this world and each brings a different perspective to the story. Quinn is a teenage boy lucky enough to belong to a Premium family. The Premiums have a lot of advantages and opportunities in this world. Only Premiums can afford the costly air for daily life activities such as work, exercise, and even sex. Bea is an Auxiliary. Auxiliaries do not have the same opportunities as Premiums: their homes are not as nice, they work more hours, and they do not have the same educational opportunities. Bea is very intelligent but her background ensures that she will not progress unless she manages to marry into the Premiums. The third narrator Alina is a member of the Resistance. Alina is fierce and strong and fully committed to her cause.
The three narrators’ lives collide at a chance meeting at the border. Quinn and Bea are going on a weekend camping trip and Alina is escaping for her life. Quinn inadvertently smuggles Alina out of the pod and he and Bea accompany her in her search for the Resistance base. As they journey through the ruins, Quinn and Bea realize that their life in the pod is a lie.
I loved the main characters. Quinn had everything going for him, a good life, a great future, and the adoration of Bea. Bea was smart and hopeful. She was kind-hearted and her crush on Quinn was so cute. Alina was idealistic, carrying her seedlings over great distances.
The world of Breathe was fascinating. While I had difficulty in believing a scenario where the Earth’s oxygen levels would be so depleted (personally, I could believe polluted more than depleted), the author sets up the world nicely. I found the author’s explanation for The Switch intriguing. Adding in a conspiracy element based on the production of oxygen was a nice touch.
For me, the best part of this book was that there was a possibility of hope, a possibility that the environment could be repaired. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Resist. Breathe is recommended for young adult audiences ages 12 and up.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for a review copy of this book.
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