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Breathe Hardcover – October 2, 2012

153 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-The survivors of the Switch are sealed within a domed city, dependent on oxygen supplied by the government according to their social status. Chapters rotate narration among freedom-fighter Alina, privileged Quinn, and empathetic Bea. Quinn and Bea are friends, but he doesn't notice her the way she wants to be noticed. A planned camping trip in which Bea hopes to gain his affection goes awry when beautiful Alina tags along. The relaxing getaway turns serious as the group tries to avoid government forces chasing Alina and heads for the safety of a rebel stronghold. Once at the base, the story hits its only sour note. The leader and her psychopathic, orphaned child sidekick are repulsive characters. Much of the sympathy for the rebels and their just cause evaporates in their leader's lunacy. Woven throughout the trio's perilous adventure to discover if the government has lied and humankind can survive outside the dome is a thoughtful romance. Secondary characters are fully realized. Pacing is quick, but allows the tension to build. While echoes of The Hunger Games lessen the originality of the story, it won't diminish readers' interest.-Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


“An amazing story! Sit down. Inhale. Now, while you still can.” (Kathleen Duey, author of National Book Award finalist Skin Hunger)

“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.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Short cliff-hanger chapters alternate between the three teens’ points of view and build to an ending that will leave fans breathless for the next one.” (ALA Booklist)

“Sci-fi fans with an environmental bent will find this book particularly engaging.” (Horn Book Magazine)

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Product Details

  • Series: Breathe (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062118692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062118691
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #716,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

The Weight of Water, published by Bloomsbury in January 2012, is her first novel.

Breathe will be published by Greenwillow and Bloomsbury in October 2012.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By AJ VINE VOICE on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Few things are more frightening than a world without breathable air, which is why it makes for a near perfect setting in the new dystopian series from Sarah Crossan. In BREATHE, the world's air supply was depleted when the trees and oceans were destroyed. Those who survived have built new societies in massive domes where air is currency and only the wealthy Premiums can afford enough to exorcise and have children. The tension between these classes is just delicious.

There are three protagonists in BREATHE who each represent the three people groups in this world: Quinn the privleged Premium, Bea the poor Auxiliary, and Alina the member of the rebel group. These three end up together outside the dome on the run from just about everyone: Premium soldiers, crazy isolationists, Government officials. The characters all have distinct-and likeable-voices. I never felt impatient while reading one over another (something I usually do with multiple POV books).

As cool and creepy as this dystopian world was, the romance was rather anemic. The description (and cover) hinted at love triangle, but there really wasn't one-at least not for very long. When the couple does get together, it seemed to happen in a vacuum without any real reason or explanation. They literally had a run-to-each-other-and-start-kissing moment. Because the story is told in rotating point of view, I expected that at least one of them would explain why they decided they were in love, but it never happened. I even checked my ARC to make sure I wasn't missing a few chapters (as far as I could tell everything was there).
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Lizzy Lessard on March 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Despite the obvious theme of the book SAVE THE TREES, Breathe never feels like it's preaching about green living and the damage that people do on the environment every day. Instead, it tells the story about a world where people didn't take care of its trees and thus the atmosphere no longer has enough oxygen to sustain human life. These people are forced to carry around oxygen masks and live inside pods to survive. It's very clear early on into the book that the people in charge don't have the best intentions at heart. I'm completely ignorant in how accurate this sort of situation was portrayed, but it made sense to me.

The book switches between three first-person narratives: Bea, Quinn, and Alina. Quinn and Bea's narratives are so similar that sometimes it took me a page or two to figure out who was talking. I admittedly have a bad habit of ignoring chapter titles (which did explain who was the chapter's POV) while reading. Bea is a tree-hugger who wants to excel at her schooling so that she can get accepted into the Premiums and is no longer a second class citizen. Quinn is her best friend. Despite being part of the elite class, he feels smothered by his father's overbearing nature and high demands. Alina, meanwhile, is part of the Resistance who means to expose the dark side of those in power. By chance, the three of them meet up and despite the love triangle introduction, it is clear who will end up with who long before the book ends.

I really enjoyed the storyline and how gritty the book became at times. It was intriguing to see the lengths people will go to fight for what they believe in. I also liked how there are purely evil or good characters. Each one is unique and makes both good and bad decisions.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By misplaced cajun on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
People have destroyed the forests and poisoned the seas. As a result, Earth's oxygen levels have been vastly depleted. Breathe now controls the quality and amount of air available to citizens lucky enough to have earned a spot in the pod. For Quinn and Bea, this is their life. They've never known any different. Quinn's father is a high up with Breathe and their family are Premiums. Bea, on the other hand, is an auxiliary. Since excess oxygen is an expense, only Premiums can afford excess. Auxiliaries are ticketed for running and fined for using more than their allotted oxygen. The Resistance means to change all of this. But their acts are akin to terrorism in the eyes of Breathe and the Ministry. When Bea and Quinn set off for a two day camping trip outside the pod, they run into Alina, a fellow teen and a member of the Resistance. If Quinn and Bea help Alina at all, they could be punished harshly for aiding the Resistance. But everything in their lives is about to change. The Resistance and Breathe are gearing up for a confrontation and the two friends find themselves stuck in the middle.

I really liked this one. The setting is a bit original and the characters -- in particular the female characters -- are especially great. Bea and Alina are both very strong female leads. They're believable in their setting but they're also believable teens.

I'm a fan of anyone who can put an interesting twist on a dystopian world and setting as well. Here, the environmental message is strong but not overwhelmingly so. The bad guys grow increasingly bad as you learn more and the cliffhanger ending definitely left room for some great follow up possibilities.
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