I received this book courtesy of a giveaway. Giveaway is at the end of the post.
Author: Sarah Alexander
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.
Initially when I saw this book, I did not know what the plot would entail. I had no standards going into the book. My heart did not instantly connect with the book, either, and I had a rough start with the book. Part of the rough start is due to school and personal life busyness and part of it is due to trying to get used to the language. I live in America, so I rewired my brain to get comfortable with the different dialect.
Once I sat down and read the book, however, I loved the story. The characters did not necessarily draw me in, but the story did. Here you have a girl who feels invisible to those around her and feels under average. When the story starts, Elsie, the main character, is awkward and uncomfortable in the world around her. As the story moves on, however, she grows confident and powerful. Her confidence grows as she freedives more with the boys down at the Black Fin. The story intertwines an entire mystery together for the readers, but also allows readers time to figure out the puzzle pieces themselves. I love it! The ending of the book is unforeseen when you begin the book, and even towards the end I did not see the ending coming! (I don’t want to indulge too much for those who have not read the book. If you have read the book comment below so we can talk there!)
The characters in The Art of Not Breathing only include a select few, but their lives are enormous in one another’s. (Does that sentence make sense?) Personally, I related to Elsie the most. Elsie, as said before, grows as the story moves on and she freedives more often with either Tay or Danny. Elsie takes the responsibilities of her entire family upon herself, and then adds on the <spoiler> guilt of Tay leaving and Eddie’s disappearance </endspoiler>. All of that on one person would leave them crazy, but Elsie pulls through (with help). Seeing Elsie grow out of the awkward stage and become confident gives millions of people hope to grow out of their own awkward stage.
The two boys Sarah Alexander wrote as romantic interests did not seem, to me, to have much/any chemistry with Elsie. Tay is the mysterious, romantic, bad boy in the beginning of the story. I did not like him from the beginning, but I wavered as the story went on. Well done, Sarah Alexander. Most often I do not waver with my feelings on fictional boys, but Tay had me wavering. <spoiler> When Tay disappeared, however, I forgot about him being a romantic interest. I knew I wanted Elsie alone forever if it meant she wasn’t with him. </endspoiler> When Danny came onto the scene as a romantic interest for Elsie, I liked it. Barely. Danny’s character intrigued me initially, and then I grew to like him almost to love. I almost jumped to Team Danny for Elsie until a certain someone else came back onto the scene and the connection dissolved. A few more chapters and the ship would be full blown. (What am I kidding myself, it is full blown.)
Overall, I would give The Art of Not Breathing 3.75 stars. I liked the story a lot, but some of the story held misconnections for my heart and head.
Giveaway: Click the link below to enter
Much love, XOXO,
~A Writer Named Charley~