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Breathe Hardcover – January 30, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Undine Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Russon returns to the characters she introduced in Undine (HarperCollins, 2006). Six months have passed since the incident at the Bay of Angels when Undine almost destroyed the world with her newfound magic. She and her friend Trout are in Year 12, and the stress from her almost uncontrollable power has caused a rift between them. Trout has taken to living a half life, wandering the streets at night, trying to discover if the magic belongs in this world. Undine is struggling to keep the promise she made to her mother not to use the magic that is always present, just below the surface of her thoughts. While she and her family are in Greece, where her father was raised, Trout house-sits for them in Australia. During his nightly wanderings, he runs into Max, whom he met in the Chaosphere online. She is searching for the magic as well and is willing to do anything to get it. Trout and Undine are strongly developed characters, giving readers a glimpse of two people who are trying to find themselves emotionally and physically. The colorful language, unique expressions, and exotic locations will capture teens' imaginations, but the story will have more power for those familiar with the first one. A fast-paced plot and a surprise ending will leave readers eager for the conclusion of this trilogy.—June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In Undine (2006), the title character is a contemporary Tasmanian teenager who discovers her devastating magical powers. In this sequel, Undine has promised her mother that she will wait until she finishes high school before exploring the magic further. It's a hard promise to keep, though, when she travels with her long-absent father to Corfu, where she learns more about the magic's dangerous force and familial connection. Undine's friend, Trout, remains haunted by his glimpse of Undine's powers, and his search to unravel the origin and nature of the magic forms a twin narrative to Undine's perilous discoveries. Russon offers some background context, but readers new to these characters may be lost, and the philosophical questions about cosmic order, free will, and the power of sex, love, and creativity occasionally threaten to overwhelm the story, which leaves many threads dangling. As in the first title, however, Russon's bracing, poetic voice and earthy, likable characters ground the story's esoteric symbolism, and many readers will find their own fear and love reflected in the beautiful, open-ended metaphors. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060793937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060793937
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,535,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Breathe follows on the story told in Undine. Trout is having a problem sleeping and every night after his parents and brothers fall asleep, he slips out of the house and becomes part of the night, walking the streets and listening to the sounds of night in Hobart, Tasmania. He feels disconnected from life. A few months ago, he nearly died and he feels that was a cheat and he should have died. His grades are plummeting and it's his 12th year. He's in love with the girl next door and she just wants to be friends -- only it's hard to be friends with someone who doesn't love you back, who has magic at her command, and who doesn't really see you. So, Trout goes through the motions until he gets pulled into a relationship he doesn't understand or control and finally chaos, true chaos, seems to be taking over his life.

Since this is a second book using the same characters, it's expected that they'd be well developed. However, these teens were so real, you almost expect to meet them on the street. The feelings were spot on -- even though it's been years since I was that age, I don't think it's changed that much. The world is different and in this case there's the magic to contend with but it's still the same family problem, the same thoughts about whether you're a disappointment, the same fear about what happens next in your life.

Trout, Undine, and Maxine have got real problems in their lives. Each feels they have to solve these problems on their own. None of them realize that others have been there before and may be able to help. Yet each one goes on alone trying to do what they feel they must to go on with their life. Russon's story may be listed as fantasy but the root problems are reality, the reality of most teens' lives.
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By A Customer on February 10, 2007
Format: Library Binding
After the events of the last summer when her best friend Trout almost died, Undine promises her mother that she will not use her magic until she finishes twelfth grade. It is a hard promise to keep because it is bottled up inside her needing to be let out. Her father Prospero wants her to visit him in Corfu with her mother and brother for four weeks; Undine wants desperately to go and her mother finally agrees.

Undine finally tells Trout she wants him for a best friend but not a boyfriend. She sees he is trying to understand the magic and she fears for him but he closes her out. He meets a young woman Maxine who wants to learn all about magic and just as Trout begins to trust her, she betrays him. At the same time on Corfue, Undine realizes some promises are made to be broken and by using her magic she saves Max's life at a strange cost to herself.

Although there are fantasy elements in BREATHE, the magic is a symbol of being different and not belonging to a peer group because of that difference. Undine is accepting of her differences though her mother fears that the magic inside her daughter will cause her heartache and alienate her from those who love her. Trout tries to understand the magic that saved his life and in doing so wants to make Undine care for him the way he cares for her. While entertaining, there are lessons to be learned from this fascinating tale.

Harriet Klausner
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