• by Sarah Crossan
  • Narrated by Anna Parker-Naples
  • 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The world has no air. If you want to survive, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't? And what if you think everything could be different?
Three teens will leave everything they know behind in Sarah Crossan's gripping and original dystopian teen novel of danger, longing, and glimmering hope that will appeal to fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth.
National Book Award Finalist Kathleen Duey called Breathe "An amazing story! Sit down. Inhale. Now, while you still can."
Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in glass domes full of manufactured air. Protected…or trapped? Or controlled? Alina's a revolutionary who believes we can save the environment. Quinn's a Premium who's never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who's never worried about anything but having enough air. When the three cross paths, they will change everything.
Sarah Crossan's thrilling and provocative audiobook is about passion, about yearning for something better, and about breaking free for the very first time. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books proclaims it an "action-packed dystopian series opener to watch out for."


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Breathe avoided many of the pitfalls I dislike in YA dystopian fiction but also never managed to hit any of the powerful high-notes I expect either.

The effect therefore was fairly middling novel.

Breathe establishes the clichéd uber-government that allows the rich to crush the poor version of the future. But the idea that it is the very air we breathe being controlled and unfairly distributed was fascinating.

The characters were interesting, each having a unique point of view on either side of the rich/poor divide and the rebel/government conflict. But I didn't get a satisfying sense of development or growth from their stories, possibly due to what felt like a rather brief amount of time with each of them.

The book doesn't draw out the conflict to establish a trilogy which was very refreshing. But the climax felt rushed and was ultimately unaffecting because it their wasn't enough set-up to pay-off.

See what I mean about middling?

It all just kind of averaged out to be a good, basically well-down book but not a particularly satisfying read.

There is a sequel available now but I am still undecided on whether I'll bother continuing - not because Breathe was 'bad' but because I'm not sufficiently driven or invested enough.

As far as the played-out genre of YA dystopian lit goes, I think even fans might be a little disappointed by the romance that doesn't spark, the action that is flat and the story that isn't particularly engaging.

Still something must be said for the premise of a oxygen starved future which was undoubtedly unique and possibly worth checking out in spite of everything.

Finally, since I am reviewing an audiobook I have to address the horrendous British narration. The Cockney accents were almost unbearable particularly when 'street urchin-esque' characters were introduced.

Besides being grating on the ears, the performance was so over-the top it was unbelievable. Anytime a particularly offensive character was 'speaking', I was completely taken out of the book. And I mean that literally because I actually stopped to hand over my ear buds to a friend a few times so we could laugh about it!

Breathe is one instance where the poor audio unfortunately overshadows the narrative and even if I do choose to read the follow-up I'll probably grab a hard-copy!
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- Crystal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-11-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury