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The world has no air.
Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in a glass dome full of manufactured air. If you want to live, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't pay? And what if you think everything could be different? Alina's a revolutionary who believes the Resistance can save the environment, can break free, and she's on her first mission. Quinn's a Premium who's never had to worry about having...
The world has no air.
Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in a glass dome full of manufactured air. If you want to live, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't pay? And what if you think everything could be different? Alina's a revolutionary who believes the Resistance can save the environment, can break free, and she's on her first mission. 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 all three cross paths and walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered.
“This joins the ranks of Roth’s Divergent and Wells’ Partials as a provocative, character-driven, and action-packed dystopian series opener to watch out for.”
Posted August 29, 2012
This was an advance reader copy of the book and I was so glad I had the chance to read over this book. Its set in the future in a very dystopian society that is having to live in large pods after Earth's inhabitants killed off first the oceans, then the trees and the oxygen levels plumeted so much that you cant exist outside the pods without air tanks. But three teenagers, Quinn; a Premium and part of the ruling class of people in the pod, Alina; part of the resistance group trying to show that life outside the pod is possible, and Bea; an auxiliary or second class citizen, who secretly is in love with Quinn, are all thrown together in a wild series of events that leave you stunned.
The locations are all unknown in the book, but the destruction and the desolation are mind blowing. Ms. Crossan left things blurry just enough that if you read this, you can almost make the pod locations anywhere you want them to be. But in doing so you also can imagine the way your area would look in this very different world. I found it chilling in its real possibilities. The chances of this being reality is so far from the truth, but after reading this book and the explanations given, you can see how it just might happen.
I have to say that this is a wonderful new series and I cant wait to see what happens next. If you like science fiction with a little romance and action, this will be a great book for you!!
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Posted October 4, 2012
The premise of Breathe, that population has gotten so out of control that we cut down all trees to use the land for farming to feed all those people, is an interesting one but essentially unworkable. Yes, there’s no doubt that we could be far more conservative of our natural resources but it really doesn’t make much sense that this scenario could come to pass with no indication that the worldwide scientific and health communities tried to find other ways to feed people. Also, why is it that a corporation that distributes air through scuba tanks is in total control when such tanks have been in use in today’s world for many years and come from many sources? And what on earth is “The Switch” that the author refers to so frequently? If the outer Zones of the pod contain people who are seemingly worthless to the authorities, why do they prevent them from leaving?
Clearly, much more worldbuilding information is needed but perhaps we’ll get it in the next book. In the meantime, let’s look at the characters. Bea, Alina and Quinn, along with Quinn’s father and Cain Knavery, the Pod Minister, are fairly well fleshed out—at this stage, I think Alina is my favorite because she’s by far the most interesting—but I felt very little connection to any of the secondary characters and, in truth, they don’t seem to be very important for the story. Perhaps the second book will make them more relevant and engaging.
There are ominous hints that the dreaded Love Triangle will occur but, in fact, it doesn’t really. There’s no Insta-Love either, thank heavens, since Quinn is oblivious for a long time to the feelings of one of the girls. I appreciate the author’s restraint in these relationship matters and the way she allows the boyfriend-girlfriend thing to develop without dwelling too much on all the teen angst so often prevalent in YA fiction. When you get right down to it, friendship takes precedence over weak romance and that’s quite all right with me.
The author does have a way with words and, despite what I felt were shortfalls, she managed to keep me reading. I liked the multiple points of view narration (although I really don’t like the present tense that the majority of YA authors insist on using) and there’s no question the premise, with all its flaws, is different and has a lot of potential. I hope Ms. Crossan will step up the pace and energize her characters in the second book because I will definitely be reading it.
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Posted December 9, 2012
“Breathe” by, Sarah Crossan
In “Breathe” we are introduced to Alina, Quinn, and Bea who all live in a dome that protects the population from suffocating in the oxygen depleted outside world. When Bea and Quinn leave for a scheduled trip outside the dome they run into Alina who is trying to leave illegally. Quinn and Bea decide to help Alina but once outside the safety of the dome the three encounter dangers that none of them are prepared for.
I really liked this book. The idea of living in a world with little to no air is terrifying to me. Breathing is something that we don’t spend much time thinking about and I can’t imagine having to wear an oxygen tank all the time. I really felt for these three kids and I don’t know that I would have held up as well in the same situation.
“Breathe” had some great themes woven throughout it, like friendship, loyalty, and compassion. The friendship that turns to love between Quinn and Bea was really sweet to watch. I also really enjoyed seeing people who should hate each other learn to work together for the greater good. I felt like the characters were well written and I cared about what happened to them.
“Breathe” is Quinn, Bea, and Alina’s story but there are so many other characters to love in this world. Maude is a secondary character but she is one of my favorites. I found her fighting spirit and take no crap attitude extremely entertaining and I could have read much more about her. I also really loved old Watson.
I’m not sure if this book is the first in a series but I really hope to read more about what happens to everyone. I feel like all the characters in this book have many more adventures to share with us. I will happily read anything else that Sarah Crossan creates.
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Posted January 11, 2014
Breathe is divided into five parts:
Part One – The Pod
Part Two – The Outlands
Part Three – The Resistance
Part Four – The Battle
Part Five – The Ashes
At first I was hugely disappointed that Breathe follows the same overused formula as most other popular dystopian novels, and it didn’t seem as though it would be offering anything new. I’m saying “at first” because once I got past the first part of the story and started warming up towards the characters in the second part, by the time the third part came around I was completely hooked and had realized by then that Breathe, however similar it might seem to many other dystopian novels, do in fact offer some unique content.
- Two female and one male protagonist. Two of them are auxiliaries from the impoverished zone of the Pod, and one is a premium from an affluent class of citizens.
- The concept: air is a luxury and citizens of the pod have to pay air taxes for the oxygen they breathe.
- Going camping means strapping on an air tank and spending a few days outside the pod in the “outlands”.
- Citizens (especially the auxiliaries) aren’t allowed to run, walk faster than three miles an hour, or grow plants or food; and they need a permit to carry heavy loads because they’ll be using more oxygen.
- The explanation for The Switch is original. For once the world didn’t end by way of disease, war, or some experiment gone wrong. But, at its core, the bottom-line theme of Breathe that motivates the characters to rebel is still the same as what you’ll find in any other dystopian novel – the need for freedom on their own terms.
- One good thing about this book is that it gets you thinking about conservation, and that as a topic for a dystopian novel deserves two thumbs up. I think a lot of us take oxygen for granted.
- Unlike many other dystopian novels in which the MC chooses to rebel, this one is somewhat different as to it being more a matter of Quinn and Bea unintentionally joining Alina on her journey to the RATS headquarters in The Grove, than it is about them having rebelled from the word go.
- Despite there seeming to be a love-triangle in the first few chapters, Breathe isn’t as heavily romance-driven as many other popular dystopian novels, which is a relief. It has a story to tell and the romance is sweet, but thankfully not the main focus.
- It has boatloads of action and is low on insignificant details such as character backgrounds and other useless info, thus helping the story move along at a steady pace.
As I said before, it took me awhile to warm up to these characters. They seem rather bland at first, but a good ways in, once they’re in the Outlands, their personalities really start to shine. My number one favorite character is without a doubt Maude Blue. It’s hard to forget sharp-tongued crazy ol’ Maude Blue. She’s one of the secondary characters but one that makes an impact not only on the reader but also in the story. The rest of the characters – main and secondary – are all fully developed. The Pod Minister is evil incarnate, but he was also unbelievably annoying.
So much in this story simply defies logic, but I’ve come to realize that in these types of novels this is generally the trend. Logic doesn’t necessarily exist in dystopia. When it comes to world-building, Breathe unfortunately doesn’t offer anything new, but what it lacks in world-building, it makes up for with an exciting storyline. The world Sarah Crossen has created has the potential to be so much more. The ending was satisfactory and not so much a cliffhanger as it is an open ending on which to build the next book.
Final verdict: Breathe undoubtedly has a few miniscule flaws, but for me it didn’t take anything away from the story. I wouldn’t recommend you move it to the top of your reading list, but it certainly is worth the read. I’m planning on reading the next book in this series.
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Posted October 8, 2013
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Book One of the Breathe series
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC won from a giveaway
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
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.
What I Liked:
What a refreshingly amazing dystopian novel! I am so, so happy that I got the chance to read this book. Lately, I've been in a slump when it comes to dystopia novels. I've read so many, and they all start to sound very similar. This book was so different! And there is a key part of this book that I absolutely LOVED. Watch as I ramble about that part, a few paragraphs down.
This book is written in the points-of-view of three characters: Bea, Quinn, and Alina. In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Alina, who steals a plant with a friend. We are introduced to Bea and Quinn, who live within the dystopian society and are more privileged than Alina. Well, at least, Quinn is more privileged than both Alina and Bea.
Bea and Quinn are best friends. Bea is totally in love with Quinn. Both of them don't meet Alina until a few chapters in - and when that happens, Quinn is intrigued and interested in Alina. Immediately, I didn't like Alina. Although Alina had no romantic interest in Quinn, I still didn't like that she received his attention over Bea.
I think the author definitely did an EXCELLENT job with that - clearly showing how each character felt about the others. I thought it would be difficult to understand things, with the fragmented chapters in different points-of-view. I mean, one chapter with get Alina, the next Quinn, back to Alina, then Bea... I thought the book would be choppy. BUT, Crossan does an amazing job with keeping the story going despite characters being in different places (sometimes), and despite the differing thoughts and emotions running high.
Anyway. So, the thing about the plants. In the beginning of the book, Alina steals a plant. In this story, there are very, very little sources of natural oxygen left in the world. There are no trees. Think the Lorax - no trees, no oxygen. The society is protected in a bubble, and if people go outside the bubble, they need crazy expensive oxygen tanks and masks.
Well. Bea and Quinn are going to take a trip out of the bubble. Alina is trying to escape the bubble with the plant, but doesn't have clearance. So, guess how everyone meets? With prince Quinn pretending Alina is his girlfriend, and the two of them going through the easy, privileged Premium line, and Bea left to go through the other, slower, less privileged line.
I love this part of the book - the no trees thing. I love the inclusion of an environmental sustainability theme. As an environmental engineering major, I really like seeing authors include real-world hazards in terms of the environment, especially plausible occurrences, like deforestation.
The story of this book is so fascinating! Alina, Bea, and Quinn all get out of the bubble, and Alina finds her way to the revolutionaries. But of course, Bea and Quinn are dragged into her mess. I love how nice and wonderful Bea was throughout the book, but then when she wanted or needed to be, she was tough and strong. Her character development was superb - I could clearly see her growth as a character.
The same can be said for Quinn - he developed from a single-minded follower to a free-thinking leader. I was kind of on and off in terms of how I felt about him throughout the book, but by the end, he had made enough decisions that I thought deserved of my approval.
Alina... I don't know how to feel about her. She definitely is my least favorite character of the three, but it's not like I don't like her, I just like her the least. I spent the majority of the book disliking her because of Quinn's feelings for her, and how she handled some situations. I still don't know if I like her or not, but I like her role in this book.
In terms of romance, I'm actually not going to comment on that aspect, because it's complicated. There is a love triangle, BUT, it's the type of love triangle that I don't mind, because... well, you'll have to read the book to find out! I absolutely abhor love triangles, but this book's love triangle wasn't all that bad.
The plot of this book is pretty great! I have a few complaints (see below), but I enjoyed it for the most part. I was definitely left wanting more by the end of the book. Good thing I have Resist!
What I Did Not Like:
I already established that I didn't really like Alina, throughout the book. I'm interested in seeing how Crossan will use her in book two. I think Crossan wanted readers to dislike Alina a little, but I think I dislike her more than most people. Her decision-making skills are a little poor, in my opinion (Alina's, I mean).
I also thought the plot of this book was a bit slow at times. I totally understand that with the three points-of-view, it's hard to keep the story going, because there is three times the amount of content to condense into a normal-sized book. But the book dragged on at times, like in the middle, and at the very end. I felt like the climax was a bit cliche, and lacking. But that could be the me that has read way too many dystopia novels talking.
Would I Recommend It:
YES! Especially since there is a very important environmental theme running through this book. Love it!
4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm so glad I have Resist! I cannot wait to dive in!
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Posted June 12, 2014
Posted June 11, 2014
I purchased this book when I turned eleven years old. For some unknown reason I didn't read the book for another eleven months. A little over a month ago I read sixteen pages and stopped reading it even though I was intrigued. I continued reading the novel one month later and I could not put the book down. I finished the story in about two and one half days and I was happy with the interesting, creative, dangerous, and thrilling plot. The characters each had their own quirks that I enjoyed. They were not annoying and I liked the book. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys sci-fi books. The novel was really good and I will try to get my friends and family to read this book because of it's greatness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 3, 2014
Very interesting concept in this book but not written to the peak of it's potential. In other words, it was good not great. Not alot of excitement in this story. Has just enough energy to let you finish the book. I really had high hopes for this novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 2013
Posted October 9, 2013
Breathe has been on my TBR for awhile now and after requesting and receiving its sequel, Resist from Edelweiss, I have finally gotten to it! While I enjoyed these two books, I didn't LOVE them. I found the premise to be unique enough, and Crossan did a great job with the multiple POV's used. However, there were times I felt this duology just didn't have the spark that I was looking for in a dystopian.
As I said, Breathe is told from three different POV's. I know a lot of people don't like multi-POV's and I usually feel the same way. However, I felt it flowed really well and I had no problems keeping up or having trouble distinguishing between characters and storylines.
We hear from Alina first and she is a part of a Resistance movement against the government. This is a world where oxygen is controlled and depending on what caste system you fall in, your oxygen levels are regulated. Citizens are forced to live in 'The Pod', as there is no way to survive outside of it- unless you have a healthy supply of oxygen (tanks). Alina is a feisty character, and I actually ended up liking her. She is on a mission to gather plant clippings and even when the mission is endangered, she is determined to follow through.
Our other two narrators, Bea and Quinn, are best friends and while they are both from different castes (Quinn is a Premium, meaning he gets more oxygen and is able to do more activities, etc. and Bea is an Auxiliary and lives with her parents, who struggle every day to earn what they do) they care about each other greatly. (Bea more than Quinn at this point- she's in love with him) Quinn irritated me a bit because he of course couldn't see what was right in front of him. After briefly meeting Alina in line, he finds himself attracted to her and can't stop thinking about her. Bea patiently sits by and wonders if he'll ever look at her the way she wants him to and I felt out of the three Bea was the weaker one- she is compassionate and kind, but doesn't come outright and say what she feels.
A camping trip outside of The Pod turns both Quinn and Bea's lives upside down. After running into Alina, who needs to get out of the Pod before she is caught for taking clippings, the three set out on a journey that will unknowingly change everything. Alina is heading for The Grove, one of the Resistance hubs and after being separated from Quinn, brings Bea and a Drifter named Maude Blue, with her. It is here that Bea learns about the true purpose of the Breathe corporation and how the government is regulating oxygen. However, the leader of The Grove, Petra, is an unfeeling woman who is concerned only about the Grove's safety. Alina has led strangers to this place and Petra is not a welcoming leader.
After being separated from Bea and the others and being stranded, Quinn finally starts to put things into perspective for himself. It isn't Alina he calls out for for help, and when he finally regroups with them, it isn't Alina he wants. Sometimes it takes almost losing the most precious thing you never realized you had, to force you to confront what was always there, but you were to blind to see. I liked Quinn and Bea's relationship because as best friends it really seemed more natural. Quinn's character really shocked me, especially the stance he took at the end of the book. I was proud of him for standing up for the truth and what the public needed to hear and it really set the stage for the second book in the series.
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Posted September 27, 2013
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A fascinating premise by a promising author! I'm looking forward to the sequel to see what's happened with the characters and their world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2013
I’ve wanted to read Breathe by author Sarah Crossan since I saw the moment I saw the cover a few months back, the whole “city inside of a dome” image seemed pretty cool to me and since the terrain looked like something out of a certain World of Warcraft expansion, I knew that this novel was both a dystopia and a worthwhile read. After reading the synopsis, I could only think one thing: The Lorax. And not the children’s book, but the movie adaptation where everybody has to buy air and where there are no trees left on earth… you know the one (and if you don’t, Google it). Now while Breathe isn’t a colorful musical, it still was an entertaining read.
Breathe takes place after the Switch inside of the Pod which is basically one of the world’s last cities inside of a dome where it’s inhabitants are ruled by the Pod Minister and the rest of the Ministry. There are no trees outside the Pod, no chance of survival, no oxygen, nothing. Inside of the Pod, citizens must buy oxygen because without it (obviously) you die. After the Switch, citizens were basically broken up into two classes: the Auxiliary class and the Premium class. The first class is pretty much the poor, it’s the families who don’t have enough money to pay their air tax and are unable to participate in anything that will use up too much oxygen. The Premiums are the rich, they are able to do whatever they please with their air, in that they are able to do everything that the Auxiliary class cannot and live without much concern. If there are any citizens who are foolish enough to stand up to the Ministry they become a “terrorist” and are forced to live in the barren wasteland outside where they stand no chance of survival for a number of reasons.
It isn’t until main characters Quinn, Bea and Alina all meet the truth behind the Pod comes out. The three characters meet by chance, when Alina is trying to flee the city. Quinn and Bea come across her and help her escape into the wasteland beyond the Pod. There the three characters meet Maude Blue, a Drifter who after attacking them helps them in their search for the Grove; a safe haven where it is claimed to have free oxygen and is ruled by a rebellion. As they continue their adventure in this dystopian world, the characters find themselves facing dark truths about the Switch and the Pod.
Breathe starts with an action filled first chapter, I mean literally, it had me on the edge of my seat and definitely had me prepared for whatever awesomeness would lay ahead. However, the novel does lose its quick pacing (for a few chapters) and instead builds up the world of Breathe, I honestly preferred the world building as opposed to non-stop action and it is definitely worth while since in the novel, if you can’t imagine the world, you’re gonna have a bad time. While Crossan builds up the Breathe universe, she also gives us an idea of the character relationships and home lives. After maybe four chapters I was able to easily understand two of the three main characters’ lives.
In the novel, the three main characters do spend a lot of time together and I was able to see the contrasting of personalities done through dialogue. I could see which character was more willing to do what had to be done than the others and during the thought process, it was easy to see that Bea has a crush on Quinn and believes it isn’t reciprocated while in Quinn’s head it’s revealed that he totally likes her back. That’s some Gossip Girl type stuff going down in a dystopian future. My only real problem with Breathe was that it was hard to differentiate characters during the chapters that were in their point of views. I felt like every character had the same voice and would get confused and have to pause and think “wait! Whose POV is this?”
I would recommend Breathe to fans of thrilling sci-fi, the novel Renegade by J.A. Souders and readers who are dying for an interesting dystopian world that is highly original and fast paced.
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Posted January 14, 2013
I enjoy dystopian books and this is one of my favorites!! I really enjoyed this book! I can wait for the sequel to come out!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 8, 2013
Breathe isn't the best or worst dystopian I've ever read. The concept is interesting, and the plot is intriguing, but the characters are god awful. I also really did not like the ending. I realize this is going to be a series, but I felt very defeated after that ending. I was like, "wow, I just wasted how long reading this book for THAT ending?" Anyway, that being said, hardcore dystopian fans are sure to love this. As previously stated, the plot is enjoyable and the world-building is fantastic.
I'm not going to spend much time on the characters because it will just be a rant. None of the characters were very complex or interesting. None of them were well-developed. They had spontaneous growth spurts, and since it was first person POV with the three narrators listed above, feelings were told more than they were shown. Also, none of the characters were actually likable. Alina was rude and harsh, Quinn was ridiculously useless and flaky, and Bea whined constantly. Not my favorite cast.
The plot kept me reading, though, and I did enjoy it until the end. Even though I didn't like the characters, I still felt a sense of urgency with the plot. I also wanted to know what was going on with Abel, but I don't feel that was really tied up for me. No one's fate was sealed, and no questions were really answered. That bothered me. It was just a depressing ending. Yuck.
The world-building is fantastic, and I could clearly picture this world. I think that's what gave me the aforementioned sense of urgency. This world just seemed so real, it was hard not to care about the fate of it, even though I didn't care what happened to the characters. I'd say that the world-building and original idea were the two saving graces of this novel.
As I said, I would recommend this book for hardcore dystopian fans. A lot of people love it, and just because the characters bugged me doesn't mean they'll bug you. If you're unsure about it, check it out from the library. You may just find a book that you really love.
Posted December 31, 2012
I wasn't sure what to think of this. It sounded like a different sort of dystopian world and I was afraid to have too high of hopes that this could be great. My fears weren't entirely accurate. I'm not sure if it will be the next big thing, but it's worth the read.
I think Alina was my least favorite character. She seems to make rash decisions with very little thought to the outcome. Her heart is in the right place though and I think that was made me like her at all. She truly believes in the cause. It's the details she doesn't care about.
Quinn was charming. He may have the top of the line thing going for him, but it doesn't define who he is. In fact, I think just the opposite is true. He strives to prove that he can stand on his own to feet. That it's not his father's money or position that will open doors for him. He may be slightly delusional with that thought, but it's pure. I also really loved that he is completely clueless to Bea's true feelings. I think it fits right in to the rest of his personality.
I think it's Bea who makes this story. Every girl who's liked a friend will identify with her feelings for Quinn. She struggles with them everyday while trying to remain the ever faithful friend. I love that she's in sync with what's going on around her. She knows her place in life and questions the system. It doesn't take much for her to see the truth and begin to see that what she's been taught is a lie. I think she's the driving force behind everyone's involvement.
I was impressed with background information on why there is no air and what the government is doing to keep it that way. It seems to often a story forgets to fill in the blanks. I want to know details and I got them here. I look forward to the squeal!