Monday, October 29, 2012
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published: October 2, 2012
4 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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?
Imagine The Lorax with a nice dystopian twist and more romance. This is what Breathe reminds me of. The world has no oxygen left since all the trees have been destroyed. Now, living in a pod in the middle of nowhere, society is trying to survive. The pod is separated into three sections, Premiums, Stewards, and Auxiliaries. Quinn is a Premium but his best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary. This doesn't stop him from helping her out with oxygen tanks and promising her vacations outside the pod. Alina is part of the Resistance. She has been stealing tree clippings from the Botany room in hopes of getting them to the Resistance outside the walls. But she needs help and she plan on getting it from Quinn.
The pod life is very realistic. The Auxiliaries are only given a certain amount of oxygen to survive and they need to buy more if the need it. Similar to a hydro bill, they are billed for the amount they use and most can't afford to do anything other than sleep and eat. Lovers can't make out without fear of having to pay more and not being able to afford it. The underclassmen can't exercise unless they have a portable tank, which only the Premiums have access to. There is a clear line of upper and lower class and it's not hard to imagine a world where we are separated so drastically like this.
This story throws you right in. We are shown the pod through the eyes of the upper and lower class and they both see the problem. The Pod Minister is up to something and Quinn is stuck in the middle of it. So when he and Bea are on their way out of the pod for a vacation, he takes Alina up on her ask for help. He gets the three of them out of the pod safely but things are not what they on the inside or out. Soon they see the Resistance and what they've been planning. Fighting for survival with only the oxygen on their backs, these three teens will stop at nothing to prove what is really going on in the pods.
There are three view points, one for each main character, and Crossan finds a way to make the transitions smooth. I knew exactly who was talking based on the scenario and voice. I was never confused or had to check back at the beginning of the chapter to remind myself who was talking. Each how such different views of the world and I got to see exactly how this world played out to each of them.
Dystopians have become very predicable to me. Maybe it's because I've read so many, but everything seems to play out the same. I like the concepts that these authors are coming up with. I mean, none of know how the world will end or what will cause an apocalypse, so plausible ones, like no more trees, sound very real. There is sort of a love triangle but it doesn't play out so much so that I want to scream at the book. (Have I mentioned I hate love triangles?) And the actual love story seems realistic enough. There were a few twists and I certainly couldn't put the book down, but I expect The Hunger Games or Divergent when I read dystopians now and this didn't quite live up to either of those.
I allow myself to be right here, in the moment, savouring the peace. All the millions and millions of stars remind me, too, how small and fragile I am. And unimportant, really. If this branch were to creak and moan and break under my weight, and I were to plummet to the ground, the stars in the sky would continue to decorate the world. And even if the last tree disappears from our planet, the stars will still be up there.
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