Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

The environment has collapsed, and is no longer able to provide enough oxygen for humans to survive. Until it can recover, humanity has moved into a set of domes that are under the control of the corporation Breathe, the sole supplier of oxygen. Bea is the daughter of two Auxiliaries, or “subs,” who struggle to earn enough to pay their oxygen bills. Quinn, from a Premium family, does not have this problem, but must face his parents’ disapproval at his friendship with Bea and their plans for his future. Alina is a member of the Resistance, labeled terrorists by Breathe, and is trying to find a way to end Breathe’s monopoly.

When circumstances drive them together on an excursion beyond the dome, they learn more than they ever expected about themselves, their society, and the true extent of Breathe’s power.

In Breathe, Sarah Crossan has created a compelling YA dystopian story. The world she has created is all too believable, and does not suffer from problems often found in other dystopian novels. The characters are multifaceted and relatable (even if they are not always likeable), although they do at times seem to accept radical shifts of their world views with limited resistance. Settings are well described, but done briefly enough that they do not interfere with the story’s fast pace. The use of present tense throughout and shifting viewpoints in each chapter also drive the story forward to the point where the reader will not want to stop.

Breathe is an excellent read, and highly recommended. The only problem is, now I need to wait a few months to read the sequel (and conclusion), Resist, which is due out on October 2.

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