Breathe (Breathe, #1) by Sarah Crossan

Title: Breathe (Breathe, #1)
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Greenwillow
Pages: 373, Hardcover
Release Date: 10/2/2012
Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads
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 a YA dystopian novel with an interesting and convincing idea. Atmospheric oxygen levels have depleted to a meager 6%, killing off most of civilization during a time referred to as “The Switch”. A fraction of society has been saved and are living in glass pods under the control of Breathe, an organization that has discovered how to manufacture oxygen. However, not all pod members are created equal. There are two primary factions of people, the premiums and the auxiliaries. While the Premiums can afford to buy enough oxygen to live a relatively normal life, auxiliaries are rationed only enough to live a sedentary lifestyle. Almost anything worth doing - exercise, dancing, making love -requires excess oxygen that most cannot afford. And naturally, the premiums are a bunch of snobs who stick out their noses at auxiliaries. Oh, and the government has society addicted to higher levels of oxygen than they need so their bodies don’t stand a chance in the “Outlands”. Yeah well, no wonder there is a resistance, which is how we get our plot. People want to grow some trees, the government wants to destroy them to keep control - I’ll leave the rest of the details for you to discover.
This book is written from the viewpoint of Alina, Quinn and Bea. Unfortunately there is not much character development in this novel, and I didn’t fall in love with any of them. I will struggle even to describe them here...  Alina is the member of the resistance and I think is supposed to be the tough, aloof one. Quinn is a Premium with a heart, such that he doesn’t act privileged or consider himself better than the auxiliaries. Bea, Quinn’s best friend and auxiliary, is the quiet and compassionate one and she’s got a huge crush on Quinn who doesn’t even notice her (this is our bit of love story in the novel but it pretty much takes a back seat).

This book was just an average read for me. It didn’t really make me feel anything, except perhaps a small appreciation for oxygen. Again, I felt nothing for the characters, there were no scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat (or whatever reading surface I happened to be utilizing), and the ending didn’t make me long for the next book. I didn’t mind reading the book, but I didn’t mind finishing it either. Yes, I will likely read the second, but I won’t have any desperate yet imaginative thoughts as to how I can get my hands on a copy.



  1. It always sucks when you can't connect with any of the characters. I think that the concept is great and I will try it out, but I will keep in mind that I might not feel anything for them :)


    1. Yes, I'm sure it didn't help that I read this right after unwind, which had 3 great characters. The series still holds promise, we'll have to see what you think when you read!

  2. It's disappointing, I really wanted to read this book but after reading so many negative reviews, I'm not interested anymore. It's a shame really, the concept looks great...


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