Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book review: The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

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.

A free copy was provided to me through Netgalley for review.

I had mixed feelings about The Art of Not Breathing.  On the one hand, you have a story that the author seems to have put a lot of thought into, with the twists and turns that don’t just reveal themselves unintentionally right from the start like so many other family mystery books I’ve read.

On the other hand, I found myself not really liking Elsie a lot of the time.  She’s sort of a brat, and nosey as hell (she even spies on her brother and his girlfriend having sex? while still taking about how gross it is? you could look away, you know) and she falls for Tay way too quickly.  It felt less like a ‘teens fall in love quick’ thing and more of a ‘Elsie really wants to get laid’ thing, honestly.  Though I will give it mucho credit that Elsie doesn’t actually end up with anyone in the end.  Though that’s balanced out by the fact that Elsie is such a snob to literally everyone in school, so it’s no wonder none of them really want her.  She’s supposed to be a bullying victim but she turns around and does the same sort of thing to the one guy there besides her brother who’s willing to be nice to her.

All in all, I’d say it’s a good story, but the main character can sort of break you out of it because you find yourself not caring about a girl who can be so shallow and mean.  I’d say it balances out to be about average.

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