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Chapter by Chapter

A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.


Breathe - 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.