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.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander is a book that honestly had so much potential! It is about a girl who tries to remember her brother’s disappearance and even incorporates free diving. However, the main character seems emotionless and makes some pretty bad choices, which made the book a lot less enjoyable.
The Art of Not Breathing tells the story of a girl named Elsie whose twin brother disappeared at the beach when they were eleven. She has tried to remember details about his disappearance, but has had no luck. Then, she is introduced to free diving and sees a new chance to figure out what happened to her brother. I really enjoyed the use of flashbacks as Elsie gets closer to the truth and her determination to know the full story.
One of my favourite aspects of The Art of Not Breathing is the free diving. The way that it is incorporated to trigger Elsie’s memories was really interesting to read about. I especially enjoyed how careful Elsie and her crew are to dive carefully. She wants to go down to this massive drop-off to look for her brother, but is able to withhold until she has enough training. I honestly know nothing about free diving, so learning about all the equipment and safety precautions was fascinating.
Although I enjoyed so much about The Art of Not Breathing, I had some problems with Elsie. I didn’t like a lot of the decisions she made throughout the book. She also didn’t seem to have any emotions at all. Her feelings weren’t really described, so she just does things emotionlessly. It is really hard to connect with a character who doesn’t feel things. But what I really didn’t enjoy about Elsie was her habit of spying on people, like her brother and his girlfriend. She literally watched them through the crack of a door once, which I found to be really creepy. The main character has a big influence on whether or not I enjoy a book, and unfortunately, Elsie didn’t really do it for me.
The Art of Not Breathing is about the search for a missing brother and free diving. I enjoyed so much about this book, but unfortunately, the main character was not one of them. I feel like this book had so much potential, it just wasn’t for me.