Review: Breathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan

Rating: **** / 4 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic 
Published October 2nd, 2012 by Greenwillow
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . . . The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air. 
Alina 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. Quinn 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. Bea 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?

Let me start this off by saying Breathe by Sarah Crossan is one of the better Dystopian books out there. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good book 1 to what may be an epic dystopian adventure following three main characters: Alina, a stunningly beautiful girl who’s fighting against the abuses of the new society; Quinn, a naïve and sheltered son of an influential figure who finally realizes the truths that were withheld from him regarding the place he called home all his life; and Bea, a smart, level-headed girl who wanted nothing more but to achieve a comfortable life for herself and for her family.

One of the factors that made this book work for me was the world building. Throughout the book, I was amazed on how the author was able to construct a”perfect” society that followed an apocalyptic event, a society that had a system, but at the same time, wasn’t really what it seemed to be (“a there’s more to it than what meets the eye” thing). It’s not that it was realistic, but more like it was plausible. The world she created was one that could actually happen in the distant future – a situation that could actually materialize in real life. So while it was an enjoyable read, it was a bit scary, too, because I could just imagine the sufferings and the anguish of the people maybe 200-500 years from now as they fight for the last remaining oxygen. Hopefully, if ever this happens, I’d have been long dead. Haha.

Another thing that I absolutely appreciated in this book were the political dilemmas or the political drama that were portrayed. I remember saying before that in my opinion, a dystopian can’t be called a dystopian if no form of politics is present. Otherwise, if there are no political dramas that bar and hinder  the main characters in their new world surrounded with their new systems, then there aren’t any “concrete” skeletons for the plot. Fortunately, Sarah Crossan was able to make very exciting conspiracies in Breathe that were able to move the story in a thrilling and fast pace. They were a bit predictable, yes… you could even see a bit of Michel Foucault ideologies in it, in which scientific knowledge were used but they were means to control the people. Interesting, huh? x= There were no closure yet in regards to these political problems and the rebels fighting against the government, but everything is just beginning… hopefully we see more of them delicious drama come book 2 :)

As for the characters, I thought they were okay… honestly, they didn’t really stand out much at the beginning, and it took some time for me to really, really appreciate and get used to them. Although the book used all three’s POVs, they all had distinct voices, so any confusion regarding who’s who was minimal… But if anything, I felt really uneasy towards Alina’s character. She was the kind of girl that we see frequently in YAs – stunningly beautiful, tough, strong, smart, and clever… it was difficult  to relate to her at all due to the lack of flaws (I mean, come on… every one has some… and honestly, I wouldn’t be attracted to a too-good-to-be-true guy, either… haha).

There was one thing I really appreciated, though, and that was the romance. Yes, there is romance in this book (hello, YA?), but the plot doesn’t revolve around it at all. I appreciated the gradual development between two of the three characters, and I sit here hoping it becomes more meaningful in the next installments.

All in all, it was a good read, and I look forward to book 2 :)

The following two tabs change content below.


A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    CommentLuv badge

  1. says

    I think it’s an excellent point that you make that a dystopian can’t be called a dystopian if no form of politics is present – I never really put my finger on it before, what it is that makes dystopians seem more realistic, but what you say is so true.

    I recently read Breathe and I enjoyed it too! I agree that it was nice that the plot didn’t revolve around romance as well!

  2. Karen H in NC says

    Not my normal reading genre and while I liked your review of this book, I don’t believe I would pick it up.

  3. Thomas says

    I’m full of hesitation with this book wether if I’m gonna pick it up. I’m fully influenced with the reviews in goodreads but I think I should gonna give it try.