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Breathe Hardcover – October 2, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Breathe Series

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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.

Review

“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: 5.6 x 1.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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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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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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Format: Hardcover
Breathe, by Sarah Crossan, is an unremarkable new entry in the teen dystopia field. Its premise is relatively simple: in the far future, the world's oxygen level has dropped so far that people are relegated to living in oxygenated "pods," where "Premiums" get all the oxygen they want and the commoners have to get by with far less. One result of this disparity is that the average person has to carefully moderate their physical activity (there are "speeding" laws with regard to walking) while the Premiums can go for a nice little job with their person oxygen tanks. The company that controls the oxygenating process, Breathe, controls the pod. It will come as no surprise that they're just a little corrupt and power-hungry.

We're introduced to this world via three teen point-of-views. Alina is a commoner who is also a member of the resistance, a group trying to take down Breathe as well as break the monopoly of the pod's on human existence, both by long-term re-oxygenation of the atmosphere and by short-term retraining of people to enable them to survive in the outside. She's embittered and wide awake to the realities of this world, though not utterly aware of how far the resistance will go. Quinn is the son of a higher-up Premium and is being groomed to take his own place among the elites. Bea is his commoner best friend. Both have so far blithely accepted all they've been taught of their society's workings, though that will soon change once their paths intersect with Alina's. As one might expect, the seemingly inevitable triangle forms: Bea wants to be with Quinn while Quinn, oblivious to Bea's desire, wants to be with Alina. Alina, meanwhile, just wants to be with the Resistance.
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