Breathe definitely has an inventive yet realistic look at our future, and I'm very impressed Sarah Crossan came up with a theory of life like this while seeing lumber and explaining how important oxygen is. More than any book, any piece of firewood, any table, any document. But in the Breathe society, trees are extinct and no matter which way you look at it, it's our fault and the corporation of the same name is in charge of supplying everyone with oxygen tanks and people pay for their oxygen through how many tanks they break through and perhaps this other sort of fashion. It's like using electricity or Wi-Fi. And I know, how stupid is that? Oxygen is a basic human right. Right now, anyway. This time, we follow alongside three very different main characters; Alina of the Resistance, Bea, an A student and in love with Quinn, and, well, Quinn, a Premium, rich kid, and son of the Breathe general Jude Caffrey.
I never really thought about breathing exercises until I did my first Weight Lifting Class from last semester. I learned how to inhale on the hard part and exhale on the easy part. What I wasn't taught was how to conserve oxygen like an astronaut. Come to think of it, in the Heart of Dread series, there aren't really any trees either, so the conclusion is that the Earth still has oxygen, just less and less every day, and the humans get used to it. This also happens in Breathe, people who aren't given all this oxygen and have learned to literally breathe fire breathe fire. You may be expecting this to be a zombie book in that manner, and in a few ways, it has those elements, and I think this should be read by the people in charge of our lumber; this is a good strategy to get people interested in the environment. This book also has just enough action to prevent you from wanting to put it down too often and a relationship that never gets too sappy.
The problem is I can't really recommend it for much else. I finished the book with more questions than I had starting, but I doubt I'll get them answered in the sequel because I might've just missed them. For instance, where does Breathe get or how does Breathe make all this golden oxygen? If it's artificial, how do they make it? What exactly did Alina and Abel steal to bring back to the Resistance? Maybe it was mentioned in the first chapter and that was the problem, but...And there's also some very weird and clunky writing, sometimes just in the phrases, sometimes in the actual turn of events. Since when do people drive tanks and then get out for a stretch...and walk far away enough for a few teens to hijack it? Alina is chased by some people of Breathe and takes a detour through Old Watson's house and it's never said that some agents went in to question him? There's also a conclusion that will leave you thinking, "Wow, a lot happened in this book. It's like two and a half thirds of the whole Hunger Games story." It may also leave you thinking, "Shouldn't Quinn have had a plan?" I also didn't understand how this certain ending came to be. Wasn't the plan to dupe them out? Then how...I just don't get it. Also, I wish that more detail was put into Quinn's change of heart about joining Breathe, it just doesn't feel realistic when a gun makes all the gourmet meals and oxygen not matter anymore. I wish it was something bigger.
In short though, Breathe is not terrible and in the correct department of the environment. I would recommend reading it for that purpose; it's probably the best way to teach kids about the reasons why lumber is so bad when corrupt. As for the sequel, do I think it will be better, average like this one, or worse? To be honest, I have no idea.