December 23, 2012

Review of Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Inhale. Exhale.
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.

should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.

wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

add to goodreadsBreathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan
Publication Date:  October 2, 2012
Publisher:  Greenwillow

Available for Purchase:
amazon / B&N / TBD / indiebound
[youtube_sc url=”″ autohide=”1″]

** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby NewI’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.

About the Author:

Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

She currently lives in NYC.

Connect with the Author:  Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


  1. kimbacaffeinate

    this has been on my radar. i love the blend of sci-fi and dystopian. I am glad you enjoyed it

  2. Reena

    I really liked this book a lot. I love love love dystopian and the kind of feeling it brings to me. It gives hope and encourages bravery in a world full of wrongs and oppression. I agree, when I read this book I immediately thought of The Lorax (yep, the movie) and it was a fun similarity.

    This series’ advantage to other dystopian is it’s plot. I know that dystopian is a genre and that (of course) there will always be similarity with the plot but this one is actually very realistic. I know that overpopulation is really going to trigger something bad in the future and that’s what Breathe (world) has become. A result of overpopulation and the human’s need to be fed and their selfish aims on making more money and neglecting the needs of mother earth. As if money can buy us another earth, right?

    I like that we have two different protagonists… One that’s quite matured, one that’s lovesick and one that’s insensitive. I am already sick of reading from First Person because I feel like it’s not satisfying. Using an alternating POV is quite tricky and that’s the challenging part especially if the author didn’t make it seamless. In this book’s case, although I was able to get through it with very less problem, it’s because I am familiar with alternating and third person narration. For those who are not, you may find it a little confusing.

    Overall this was by far my most favorite dystopian novel. (Coming from someone who has read Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, The Giver etc.) Just because it is very realistic and it is an eye-opener.

Leave a comment

Your comments make us smile!