Breathe by Sarah Crossan

BreatheBreathe by Sarah Crossan
Series: Breathe #1
Published by: Greenwillow on October 2, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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Rating: ★★★½

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . .

The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

ALINA
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.

QUINN
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.

BEA
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?

Breathe is an interesting sci-fi dystopian book told from three different points of view! We have Quinn. He’s a “Premium” — the elite in this new kind of society. His father works for the Breathe corporation. He has always had plenty of oxygen and lives the high life. Bea is Quinn’s best friend.. to her utter dismay. She wants to be more than friends! But Bea is just a “lowly” auxiliary. How can she stand up against all the eye-fluttering, hair-flipping Premium girls? And finally, we have Alina. Alina is part of the Resistance — the group of people that has taken a stand against the government in the Pod. They live in the Outlands and do their own thing.

It was awesome reading from all these characters’ POVs and seeing their stories intertwine. However, I think the characters were a little under-developed. Maybe it’s because Sarah Crossan spread herself thin by trying to fully develop three characters.. but whatever the reason, I just didn’t get strongly attached to any of them. I mean they were interesting and I could clearly tell them all apart through their ‘voices,’ but they were missing that extra layer of depth.

Bea is a pretty great character though. At first, Alina looks down on her and accuses her of just swallowing all the stories and lies she was fed. But really, she just sticks to what she believes to be right, and that’s awesome. At first she might look like a Goody Two-Shoes who follows the law unquestionably, but she’s not. She’s just a kind-hearted, helpful person. It’s hard not to love her.

I really enjoyed the story behind Breathe but part of me is bummed that we didn’t see more of it. I’m kind of a detail whore and I always feel like we never get enough. We do get the story behind Breathe and why people have to live in this “Pod,” but it’s just quickly explained on literally 1 or 2 pages. I’m just the kind of person that always wants more more MORE! I want to see how it happened and know exactly who did this, rather than some vague descriptions.

I enjoyed Breathe a lot, but it wasn’t the earth-shattering book I was hoping it would be. My expectations were really high—probably too high—so I was a bit disappointed. It was a good book but I felt like the story wasn’t that original. I guess I feel like I’ve read a lot of books this year about humans destroying our world. Like The Lost Code, where we’ve destroyed our planet to the point where radiation is so intense that it will kill you, so people live in this big dome that protects them. That’s not too far off from Breathe where there’s so little oxygen left that people live in a Pod that’s pumped full of oxygen. I mean Breathe wasn’t totally unoriginal, but it just didn’t blow my mind. It didn’t shake my core. I wasn’t giggling insanely and I never felt like I absolutely could not be parted with the book.

Ultimately I suppose Breathe was just missing that X-Factor — that little something special that makes a book amazing. Even though there are sad parts of the book, they never really felt heart-wrenching. I wasn’t feeling the panic, the despair, the helplessness. I think this book had a great opportunity to touch on deep emotions like loss and pure horror, but it didn’t fully take advantage of it. A lot of these “book-changing moments” felt very quick and fleeting. One minute we’re reading about something totally devastating, and the next minute we’re ready to move on. I feel like with a bit more work, Breathe could have been a really intense and emotional book. All the material is there: the lack of oxygen, the conspiring company, the betrayal, the murders, the lies, the loss… It just needs some more depth and emotion.

I know my review is really critical, but that doesn’t mean this book was horrible. And maybe it was just me. Maybe I’ve just read too many similar books, which is why Breathe didn’t truly shine. This book wasn’t perfect, but I still thought it was an enjoyable read and very easy to get through. I wasn’t in love with it, but I easily and happily got through it in almost one sitting.

The Verdict

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