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Reviews: Breathe and Resist by Sarah Crossan

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Breathe (Breathe #1)
   by: Sarah Crossan

Publication Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow
Genre: Dystopia
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from the library
Page Count: 384 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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.

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 novel is about passion, about yearning for something better, and about breaking free for the very first time.
 

Breathe has been on my TBR for awhile now and after requesting and receiving its sequel, Resist from Edelweiss, I have finally gotten to it! While I enjoyed these two books, I didn't LOVE them. I found the premise to be unique enough, and Crossan did a great job with the multiple POV's used. However, there were times I felt this duology just didn't have the spark that I was looking for in a dystopian.

As I said, Breathe is told from three different POV's. I know a lot of people don't like multi-POV's and I usually feel the same way. However, I felt it flowed really well and I had no problems keeping up or having trouble distinguishing between characters and storylines.

We hear from Alina first and she is a part of a Resistance movement against the government. This is a world where oxygen is controlled and depending on what caste system you fall in, your oxygen levels are regulated. Citizens are forced to live in 'The Pod', as there is no way to survive outside of it- unless you have a healthy supply of oxygen (tanks). Alina is a feisty character, and I actually ended up liking her. She is on a mission to gather plant clippings and even when the mission is endangered, she is determined to follow through.

Our other two narrators, Bea and Quinn, are best friends and while they are both from different castes (Quinn is a Premium, meaning he gets more oxygen and is able to do more activities, etc. and Bea is an Auxiliary and lives with her parents, who struggle every day to earn what they do) they care about each other greatly. (Bea more than Quinn at this point- she's in love with him) Quinn irritated me a bit because he of course couldn't see what was right in front of him. After briefly meeting Alina in line, he finds himself attracted to her and can't stop thinking about her. Bea patiently sits by and wonders if he'll ever look at her the way she wants him to and I felt out of the three Bea was the weaker one- she is compassionate and kind, but doesn't come outright and say what she feels.

A camping trip outside of The Pod turns both Quinn and Bea's lives upside down. After running into Alina, who needs to get out of the Pod before she is caught for taking clippings, the three set out on a journey that will unknowingly change everything. Alina is heading for The Grove, one of the Resistance hubs and after being separated from Quinn, brings Bea and a Drifter named Maude Blue, with her. It is here that Bea learns about the true purpose of the Breathe corporation and how the government is regulating oxygen. However, the leader of The Grove, Petra, is an unfeeling woman who is concerned only about the Grove's safety. Alina has led strangers to this place and Petra is not a welcoming leader.

After being separated from Bea and the others and being stranded, Quinn finally starts to put things into perspective for himself. It isn't Alina he calls out for for help, and when he finally regroups with them, it isn't Alina he wants. Sometimes it takes almost losing the most precious thing you never realized you had, to force you to confront what was always there, but you were to blind to see. I liked Quinn and Bea's relationship because as best friends it really seemed more natural. Quinn's character really shocked me, especially the stance he took at the end of the book. I was proud of him for standing up for the truth and what the public needed to hear and it really set the stage for the second book in the series.


Resist (Breathe #2)
   by: Sarah Crossan

Publication Date: Oct. 8, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow
Genre: Dystopia
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 400 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars


The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan's Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.
 
 
*Contains spoilers for book one*

In the conclusion to Breathe, we find our main characters at a crossroads. Life has been drastically altered for them all and now they must decide what to do next- do they seek out the other Resistance hub or do they remain in the Outlands?

Alina has made her choice- after the Grove was destroyed, her and a few fellow Resistance members are heading for Sequoia, another Resistance hub. Meanwhile, Bea and Quinn have left the Pod and are going to make their way back to the Grove to find Alina and the others. Bea is heartbroken right now after a devastating loss has crushed her spirit, and not even Quinn can seem to bring the old her back. After discovering the Grove has been destroyed and finding a little girl, Jazz, (who was important to Petra) they decide to head for Sequoia to regroup with the others. However, Jazz has been injured and will not be able make the trip there. Quinn heads out on his own to seek out help, leaving Bea and Jazz behind.

This book adds in one more point of view, Ronan Knavery, the young former Pod Minister's son. He is a part of the Special Forces and Jude Caffrey, Quinn's father, has offered him a deal that is hard to refuse. I liked Ronan's character. After his father's death he is having to make some difficult decisions concerning his life and what his end goals are. By chance he meets up with Bea and Jazz, and is able to use his connections to get Jazz the help she needs. Ronan ends up being a good friend to Bea and really supports her while Quinn is away. I was afraid of a potential love triangle here with Bea, Ronan, and Quinn but luckily we don't get that.

Bea, while hurting from losing her parents, shows so much growth and development in this book. Gone is the timid girl- in her place is someone who is willing to fight back against the Ministry that hurt her family. While Quinn sets out to find Alina and the others for help from outside, Bea and Ronan head back into The Pod to seek out help from within. After Quinn's very public speech at the end of book one, people are now aware of the position the Ministry and Breathe have put them in and they're not going down without a fight.

Meanwhile, Alina, Quinn, and the gang are in a world of trouble at Sequoia. This Resistance base is far from what they thought it would be. Once you enter Sequoia, there is no leaving. It is almost cult like and the way they plan on surviving is completely opposite from Petra's in the Grove. Their hopes of recruiting these Resistance members is completely obliterated and now they must begin thinking of their own survival.

As everything comes to a head and we discover the lengths each individual will go through to be free, we are left with an ending that inspires hope, but is tinged with loss and grief. Even though I enjoyed this duology, I doubt I would read these again in the future. The lack of spark found it hard to stay focused and while I cared about what happened to these characters, I just did not care enough.

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14 comments

  1. I'm very hesitant to read Breathe. My cousin bought it and told me he'd lend it to me once he finished. (He still hasn't lent it to me.) I'm also intimidated by books with multiple POVs... Lack of spark? Didn't care enough? Ugh, I'm kinda scared to read this now.

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    1. This was definitely one of the more well done multi POV books I've read. You may end up really liking this one! While I didn't fall head over heels for it, it was a decent read.

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  2. I only read the review for Breathe since I wanted to avoid spoilers lol. I remember being really excited about Breathe and then I read some meh reviews so I put it off. Now I'm kinda glad I did since you didn't love it. Maybe I'll get to it one day and maybe I wont lol. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Teresa! It wasn't a bad read, but just lacked the spark I needed. If you ever do read it, I'd be curious as to your thoughts!

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  3. Just read your amazing interview at Readers Live A Thousand Lives -- you had me with music (it's like air -- gotta have it), Four (swooooon) and Dean Holder (loves). I love the stuffin' out of Teresa, and you ladies did a fabulous job on that interview.

    These are great reviews; and while neither of these books really blew you away or made you fall madly in love, you still really intrigued me!! I definitely like the premise of book one, and I absolutely adore multiple POVs when done well. Thanks so much for sharing and for putting these on my radar.
    ~New follower, Michele @ A Belle's Tales

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    1. Aww, thanks Michele! I love that idea of Teresa's! It's awesome getting to know new people! Thanks for stopping by and visiting me! Any friend of Teresa's is bound to be a great friend of mine! :D

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  4. I'm not much for dystopian, but I loved Breathe. And I can't believe I haven't requested Resist! I'm sorry you didn't love the series. Great review!

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    1. You need to get Resist Andrea! Especially since you enjoyed Breathe! Sarah Crossan doesn't hold back! :D

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  5. Great review(s)! For some reason, the covers look familiar but I don't remember actually adding these... Anyway. they sound pretty interesting though. We have pretty similar thoughts when it comes to Dystopia, so I probably wouldn't enjoy these that much.

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    1. Thanks chica! I think I'm just too picky about my dystopians. If I'm not sucked in to the point where I can't stop reading then I know it wasn't the best one for me. Like Divergent. I read that sucker like 5 times!

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  6. These have been on my TBR forever so was interested to see what you thought! Shame they weren't "love love" books but I'm glad you enjoy them at least. I hate that when you feel something but it's close to the surface and it's not gripping you the way you thought. Great reviews hon!

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    1. Thanks Dani! I agree- I was definitely a bit disappointed, but oh well.

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  7. I hate when I don't get that 'can't put the book down' factor for a book that I'm looking forward to. The book is fine but not one to jump up and down about. Great review Jess, I know exactly what you mean. I won't rule them out though, I like a dystopia from time to time and 3.5 is still a fairly ok rating.

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    1. Me too, Trish. At this point in blogging, I've got to have books that pull me in and under! Definitely don't rule them out. You're right- 3.5 isn't a bad rating at all! I just wouldn't rush out to read them ASAP.

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