Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

My Bookish Itinerary E-galley Book Review

Title: The Art of Not Breathing

Author: Sarah Alexander
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Classification: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Source: e-galley via NetGalley (Thank you, HMH!)
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.

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***I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***

I'm not quite sure how I feel about The Art of Not Breathing. I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story at first. I actually ended up starting the book a few different times before making it past the first couple of chapters. The writing isn't bad and it wasn't the story, I just think I wasn't in the right mood for this story at first.

The Art of Not Breathing is a story about grief, acceptance, and family. There is a bit of romance and mystery as well. It is not a light and fluffy contemporary read. It is deep, heart-wrenching, and full of pain and grief. I felt like my heart was breaking while reading it.

This story focuses on loss, how the characters are dealing with the grief, loss, and guilt. Elsie is the main character and she is the twin sister of the young boy that drowned. She is trying to remember and figure out what happened that day at the beach. She discovers freediving and uses it as a way to find the answers she is looking for.

The more I read, the more I wanted to know what happened that day, and more about the characters. In fact, by the time I got to the middle/last quarter of the story, I couldn't stop reading. I really liked the mystery and was really surprised how everything turned out. The freediving parts of the story were interesting and heart-pounding.

I do feel like I didn't connect as much with the characters as I wanted to. Elsie is an okay character. She has been through something absolutely horrible and I really felt bad for her. I liked her most of the time and it was easy to care about what she was going through. I just didn't like some of the things she did. I did really like her memories of her twin brother, Eddie. But these memories left me wanting to know more about him.

I was curious about Elsie's family and her strained relationship with them. Everyone was dealing with the loss in a different way. It was so heartbreaking to see how it affected the family. Especially what was happening with Dillion (Elsie's older brother).
Unfortunately, I wasn't a big fan of the romance. It was fine and realistic, I just didn't fall in love with it. Tay was an interesting character, he is mysterious and a bit awkward.

My Recommendation:

Overall, I am glad I read this story. I liked and enjoyed parts of the story. It was a heartbreaking and moving story. I enjoyed reading it. I had a hard time getting into the story at first, but by the middle/last quarter, I was hooked and needed to know what was going to happen. I really liked the mystery and was really surprised about how things turned out. I did feel disconnected from parts of the story and the characters at times. I recommend giving The Art of Not Breathing a read. 

My Rating:

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