this is a review of..
The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander
A Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Expected release: April 26th, 2016
ARC source: NetGalley
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.
Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Art of Not Breathing is a story of a family dealing with the loss of their youngest child, Eddie. It’s told from Eddie’s twin, Elsie, point of view. Elsie is a high school student, she is also a little bit overweight and she is anti-social. Since Eddie drowned, the family had not been the same. Dillion, the eldest son, struggles with eating disorder and the parents are close to calling it quits.
Elsie has these questions about Eddie’s death. However, no one is willing to answer and her suspicions intensifies. Elsie also sneaks into this boathouse to be alone from her home and one day she meets with Tay. Tay and some friends are divers and he invites Elsie for a dive lesson. She joins seeking answers and maybe she’ll find them..
The first half of the book was really gripping. The mystery was hidden and teased well in that part. However, the second half, I felt the story getting a bit all over the place. The mystery of it wasn’t as big as I thought it to be. And it was somewhat the usual type of romances where the mystery is teased for so long you feel no longer interested and just want to get the answer.
As for the characters..
Elsie | I felt really sad for Elsie. The poor kid wanted to remember her brother, her twin but she finds everyone is shutting her out and avoid answering her questions. No doubt she felt lost.
Tay | He was the love interest and I thought I was going to like him. However, I felt I did not care that much about him. And I think him and Elsie aren’t really that great. Somehow, their romance felt like it needed more “spice” if you know what I mean.
Danny | One of the divers and Tay’s cousin. He was a bit more interesting than Tay. His attitude towards Elsie was hostile at first. I thought he’s going to be an unimportant character.
Dillion | Elsie’s brother and his bond with her is the most prominent part of the story. His struggle since Eddie’s death and with eating disorder brings the two closer. I cared more about their bond than the romance to be honest.
I felt it was a great ending for Elsie. I was happy for her and that she came out of this grief stronger. Otherwise, I felt the second half was a bit all over the place. Personally, it reminds me a lot of The Lovely Bones.