Breathe

Breathe

Book Information

Publisher
Greenwillow 2012
Curriculum
Science Curriculum

It's dangerous to go outside.  The land is barren, the weather can be savage, and only those brave or wealthy enough even think about venturing into this vast wilderness.  But they stay close to the Pod.  If not, they face a cruel death...

The Pod.  A city encased with a protective shield.  But it contains something that you won't find outside...oxygen.  It comes at a cost, but it keeps the citizens alive.  A company called Breathe was the first to generate artificial oxygen to keep humanity alive when nature failed.  It keeps the Pod's oxygen at a minimally survivable level, but there are limitations.  No one can walk more than three mph (unless you have a tank).  Everyone has a certain allotment, and if you want more, the cost is high.  And like all cities, there exists a hierarchy.

Zone One is closest to the outside, where the Premiums live.  Quinn is a part of this society, but more than that, his father is the CEO of Breathe.  Quinn lives a life of privilege, and although he sports the Premium tattoo, he doesn't truly live the lifestyle.  He wants to be known for who he is and separate himself from his father's shadow.  It can be tough...

Zone Two is the second tier where the Auxiliaries live.  They work hard and do all they can to transcend their societal level and live more comfortably.  Bea understand this all too well.  Why?  Because her best friend is a Premium, and although Quinn doesn't know it, she's crossed the line between friendship and love...

Zone Three is the inner city, rife with poverty, stealing, and danger.  Alina has dedicated herself to stealing.  Anything she can find to help out the resistance is a challenge she's willing to take.  She knows the consequences, but she also knows some tricks about living in a world where oxygen is kept at a bare minimum.  Her training and stealth allows her to go beyond what Auxiliaries have and what Premiums believe is their right...

Their lives will meet and their survival is at stake.  Trust is tantamount, but will their prejudices keep them from aligning themselves and can they truly cross this boundary with each other? 

Crossan writes a dystopic novel not only about survival but also about political intrigue, rebellion, and human rights.  The subject in this book is new, and the reader gets to live vicariously in a completely different dystopian society uncommon in this genre.  Written in three distinct voices, Crossan allows the reader to see multiple points of view as well as in the minds of each character, making them all too real.  This is an excellent literary device, which potentially creates character bias and favoritism which is the reader's choice.  The rich characterization paired with a fast-paced plot make this another book to place in the hands of those craving more dystopia teen lit.  Recommended.

384 pages  978-0062118691  Ages 14 and up

Recommended by:  Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA

See more of her recommendations at YABooksand More...naomibates.blogspot.com

Editor's Note:  VISIT SUNNY CHERNOBYL by Andrew Blackwell is a non-fiction title that pairs well with this book...suggested by Naomi Bates.

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