Publication Date: Oct 2, 2012
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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?
"I will die because I knew there had to be a better way to live." (ARC, pg. 197)
Why I Chose to Read Breathe ~ I was approached by the publisher to help with a promotion. This also included an ARC for review. I thought the story sounded cool, kind of like Under the Never Sky, so decided to give Breathe a try.
In a future destroyed by a need to sustain the world's growing population, air is not a right, it's a precious commodity. With too many people and not enough oxygen, in true form, a big corporation, Breathe, stepped in a provided what the people needed. But it comes with a price. If you're wealthy or a family of importance, your money can buy all the air you need, allowing you to perform such extravagant activities as running, playing, dancing. But if you are poor, and can only afford the bare minimum, you are policed so that you do not overuse your share of oxygen. You may not run fast, play instruments, or go wild and actually make out with your companion. Most citizens, believing their government and this corporation want the best for them. But there are those who believe that their leaders and Breathe are playing a game of control. Keep the people down. Make the people think they need you. When two teens from the Pod meet a member of the Resistance, they learn exactly what is going on, and will discover what it means to truly be free.
For me, Breathe was very similar, in message, to The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. You have a world with no vegetation to produce oxygen, and a company that is profiting from the situation. What I love about dystopian stories like Breathe, is when the premise makes sense because the author has given a very clear and scientific reason. I get irritated with stories that rely on a weak or vague explanation as to how their specific situation came to be. In Breathe, we have a dire future that is realistic and could very well come to pass eventually.
Breathe had three equally great leads. Alina is a member of the Resistance. She was tough, but a bit unlikeable in the beginning. She's a girl who has lost a lot and has become an emotionally distant, ruthless person. She doesn't want tag-alongs on her journey, but finds herself becoming close to and caring for Quinn and Bea. Quinn and Bea are out to have a short adventure outside the Pod. Though they both live there, their lives are dramatically different. Quinn is a Premium, lives an easy, happy life and takes the oxygen he uses for granted. Bea also lives in the Pod, but is an Auxillary. As an Auxillary, she is not considered Quinn's equivalent. Her family exists on the minimum oxygen required, lead slow, quiet lives and are regulated to the extreme. The revelations these three discover about themselves and the world they thought existed was heartbreaking and exhilarating. In addition to the three MCs, we have a straggler, Maude Blue. Maude was truly the surprise of Breathe. I didn't think it was possible, but she became a true gem in this story.
Breathe captured me from the very first line. I was horrified at the inhumanity, indignant at the injustice, and my heart was alternately broken and flying at each turn. If you enjoy truly realistic and plausible dystopian with a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic edge, I encourage you to give Breathe a shot.
"Breathing is a right, not a privilege, so I'm stealing it back." (ARC, pg.1)
"When I had no one else, they rescued me. There's more to it than that, of course. They showed me I'd become cold and hard; I'd forgotten myself, and without even looking, they found me. They did that. My friends." (ARC, pg. 263)
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