[Review] Breath by Sara Crossan: Fast, Action-Packed YA Dystopian But Don't Think About it Too Much

I received this book as a free gift from Mikey @ I’m A Book Shark. This is a hard review to write, torn between how I mindlessly enjoyed it while reading and how hard realizations hit afterwards. I will be continuing the series with Resist. It’s in the mail now from Hanna T. @ Oh It Is Wonderful

Series: Breathe #1
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Format: ARC PB, 371 pgs.
Source: Gifted
Rating: 3 Stars
Recommendable? For Dystopian Fans
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.

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.

ARCREVIEW IconYoung Adult IconDystopian IconCliffhanger IconLove Triangle IconMixed Bag Icon

The Good The Bad & The Other
Love triangle subverted dystopian government procedure falls apart when you think about it
fast paced easy read the beginning getting out the gate, the start of it all, felt…constrained.
lots of action Still don't know why there's two guys and a girl on the cover.
character development Showing not telling
Events after getting out the gate felt natural/flowed
Liked how it was about climate change, conservation, and income inequality.

I flew through Breathe quick with action packed scenes and movement on every page after briefly introduction our troublesome trio. However, when sitting down to write this review problems starting appearing like Pop Up Video.


I want to call this shot gun pellet book: quick whipping it out and convincing but once it goes off, it scatters. Ah, 2AM writing. Anyways…

We start with the standard trio and romantic subplots: Alina the tough solitary stringent rebel with a cause that catches Rich Boy’s eye, Quinn the privileged oblivious girl-hopping boy with daddy issues, and Bea, the proletariat naïve tree-hugging goody-goody madly in love with Rich Boy.

The only thing I was really happy about before and after with these three is the love triangle psych and Quinn’s growth.

Loved how they played off each other and mingled to grow and become more balanced.

Alina’s thawing out wasn’t so smooth (0 to 60) and I can’t pinpoint why she changed exactly.

Bea didn’t grow at all, she just got what she wanted and stopped mopping/whining about it.

Starting off the plot with Quinn’s dick leading the way feels stupidly forced after meeting Alina for the first time ever at school. It was obviously going to happen and had to happen. Everything that follows flows naturally but getting out the gate just didn’t sit right.



A dome isn’t new but I loved how it was about the environment and class inequality. It felt solid while reading but…

You’d think they’d do a better job with propaganda and proving the need for the control methods like the vaccines. It was really weak. Alina gave the equivalent of a “have you seen it?” and Quinn’s all over it and parrots her. And so Breath’s major policy to keep people dependent have been disproven with common sense from a 16-year-old.

Why can’t they tell the difference between fake and real plants? Isn’t there a smell at least the soil? Really convenient that the old dude next door worked out so well. Okay, maybe they haven’t seen plants in so long but…eh. Alia & The Resistance should’ve known, especially given how close the balconies are.

The thread with Abel was dropped for this book and should come back into play but it felt very…haphazard and lazy?? Since it matters so much to Alina. You’d think she’d want to know. It’s like after moaning and grieving for him the whole time, she just stopped caring after that tantalizing tidbit.

Love Triangle:

Psych! I LOVE Breathe’s version. I LOVE the resolution and Quinn’s character development there.


Recommended For: 
YA Dystopian fans if you can go with the flow. If you've read and a lot and are more cynical you may want to skip it.

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