Formats Available: Kindle, Paperback
Release Date: 11th October 2012
BLURB 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?
I was generously sent a paperback arc of this book from Bloomsbury (thank you!). So the cover of my arc was just a plain white with a turquoise band running across it, with Breathe written on it. Which doesn't sound a fantastic cover but I found it quite simplistic yet stylish. Now onto the actual cover that will be the book cover (as pictured at the head of this post).
I love the cover, you see the dark dry cracked dying earth in the foreground, which is outside of the pod. The three characters I would say represent Quinn, Bea and Alina, standing on the outside of the pod. Then in the distance you see the pod. The way that it covers the city and encloses the oxygen levels.
So now the book, what can I say? I was instantly hooked! I love the unrequited love story between Quinn and Bea. Quinn is a nice guy even if his father works for "Breathe" the ones that control the Oxygen levels in the pod, and the prices etc of the oxygen tanks people have to buy. The use of Oxygen is quite literally policed. The company that police and sell the oxygen is known as Breathe. There are speed camera's for people walking. If you are found to be walking too fast, or doing illegal pursuits such as exercising you can be fined and punished.
The oxygen levels in the pod are extremely high and "rich" to those who use it. Could this be a way of preventing the pod dwellers from leaving? Whereas outside the pod the oxygen levels are extremely low, so cannot be used.....no one in the pod could survive outside of it without oxygen tanks...or could they?
So of course like most civilizations there is a class divide. Those with money who can buy as much oxygen as they wish, to do extra activities, and sadly those who can only manage to buy enough oxygen to survive. Those that have the money etc are known as "Premiums" and they have a tattoo to immediately identify them on their ear.
As in all great books with social divides there is the lower class, and a resistance movement working within and outside the pod.
I instantly loved the characters of Quinn and Bea, but it took me a while to warm up to Alina. She comes across quite cold hearted and perhaps a little nasty, hard and uncaring. My opinion did eventually change, though slowly. The book is from the points of view and told by the three main characters of Quinn, Bea and Alina. This works really well, and keeps you up to date with all the action both in and out of the pod. You have the three classes with these characters too, Quinn the privileged background of Premium, Bea is the somewhat down- trodden auxiliary background and Alina is the one involved with the dangerous yet daring Resistance.
Quinn decides to go out of the pod camping and asks Bea to accompany him. Bea's mum tinks it a great idea as she is hoping that Quinn may someday ask Bea to marry him. It is the only chance Bea realistically has of an easy life for herself as well as improving her family's status too. But does Quinn even see Bea in that way? Whilst they are in line to go through "border control" Alina approaches them and begs for their help. So Quinn uses the extra "Premium Pass" he had bought as a surprise for Bea to help Alina. Bea has to go join the "lower class" Auxiliary line at the border. Which kind of hurts her feelings. Bea see's the look in Quinn's eyes when he looks at Alina. So there is a slice of romance thrown into this dystopian tale too.
I don't wish to give away too much of the plot, so I won't go more into the plot. I really did enjoy this book the whole way through, it holds your attention and interest really easily. There is plenty going on in the book at all times.
So did I enjoy the book? Loved it! Would I recommend it? YES! Would I read a Bk#2? Yes please. Would I read more by Sarah Crossan? Yes!
Available at Amazon.co.uk