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Breathe | Sarah Crossan | Review

Browsing through the dystopian genre on Goodreads a few months ago, I came across this book and saved it under 'to read'. A few weeks ago, I borrowed it from the library. I was looking forward to another good dystopian book about disaster and human-stupidity, but I was rather disappointed. 

Breathe, by Sarah Crossan, is set on a version of earth where everything has turned to poo. There are no trees on this earth, and, if you did a bit of biology, or environmental studies, you'll know that no trees means no oxygen. No oxygen means death. Earth's numbers rapidly decrease, and the few remaining survivors are chosen by state lottery to go and live in Pods in the hopes of survival. Portable oxygen tanks and masks are the usual look, and while it's not flattering, that's how they survive. That was ages ago, and now three teens change the course of the future and the way things are done. 

Quinn is a Premium living in the Pod. This means he is essentially the highest class, with the most access to oxygen and comfort. Bea, his best friend, is an Auxiliary. She lives in the Pod too, but is lower class, so she and her family have to pay for oxygen and make sure everything they do doesn't use too much. Alina is a rebel, living on the outside of the Pod, somehow just surviving. 

The story follows these three as they meet, journey outside the Pod, are taken to the rebel base (where Quinn and Bea discover a huge secret that the Pod Minister and other high-authority members of council knew about but didn't tell anyone), meet a crazy old woman, and accidentally start a war. The story is told from the perspective of all three main characters, each told in first person by alternating chapters. This was good, as we saw things from three different sides, but at times it got confusing, as I found their 'voices' were quite similar, and if I didn't really pay attention to the chapter title, then I had to remind myself who's eyes I was looking through. 

I didn't really enjoy the story. At first I was intrigued - a world without trees, who wouldn't be? - but as the story went on, I got a bit bored, and I didn't really care for the characters or their situations. It took me about a week to read 370 pages. It seemed like nothing really happened, looking back. It was a bit predictable as well: of course that character and that character are going to fall in love, of course that person was going to die, of course this was the general plot idea. While it was a bit of a disappointment, and I won't be reading the next one, I liked the concept. It got me thinking about what would actually happen if all the trees up and left the world. But other than that...nah. 

By all means, read it and do tell me what you think. Most of the people on Goodreads, that I can see, enjoyed it and gave it at least 3 stars. But I just don't think it was for me. 

Image from Good Reads

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