Monday, April 25, 2016

The Art Of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander : ARC Book Review

Title: The Art Of Not Breathing
Author: Sarah Alexander
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published Date: April 26th 2016 by
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, YA, Mental Health
Page Count:288
Format: Kindle 

My Rating: ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 

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.


 My Review:

"It's always the same. No one wants to be friends with the girl whose brother died. What if she cries? What if she wants to talk about it? What if she's all weird and morbid? I long to be in the water again, to remember more, to recreate that moment when nothing hurt."


Trigger warning this book deals with anorexia.

I went into this book with no expectations and truthfully I had forgotten what the summary had said it was about as well. Which I think was a good thing for a change.
This is a book about Elsie and her family dealing with the grief of losing her twin brother 5 years ago. They’ve all dealt with it in different ways; dad’s gone a lot, mom drinks, Dillion works out and restricts his eating too a very dangerous point, and Elsie steals and eats her feelings.
This whole family is very disconnected from each other. The parents have no real idea what’s happening in their children’s lives nor do they seem to care about how they are dealing with the loss of a brother. It’s always don’t say anything because mom can’t handle it, or did will start yelling. But Elsie and Dillion are dealing with it in self destructive ways, which not only affect themselves but after a while start affecting each other to.
Everything starts to change though when Elsie meets Tay and his friends who are free divers.  (Free diving is when you hold your breath for as long as possible and go exploring underwater.)  I found to be really cool and one of the most interesting parts of the whole book. Elsie not only seems to find a purpose in life finally, but she also starts to like how she’s physical look due to the free diving training.  But after a while we start to see how Tay and his Friends have a rift between them. They want him to stay away from her, and we don’t find out why until Dillion finally starts talking about what happened and helping Elsie see what really happened on that day.
Overall I did enjoy this book, but I never really connected with any of the characters and at times things didn’t really seem to connect very well. Maybe that’s just because I had an ARC and it hadn’t had final proofing though. This story is told in three parts, and in each one we see the family changing as well as Elise having flashbacks as she gets into the water again. 
This book dealt with a lot of heavy topics in a realistic and smart way. I found it interesting to see it as a boy having an eating disorder for a change; because that’s not something I think that happens in young adult very often. (if it has please let me know.) At times I did get really annoyed with Elsie when she would leave her brother even though he really needed her just so she could go see Tay.
After having said all of that though I do think this book is an important read because it does deal with death/loss of a sibling in a realistic way and shows how different people deal with it. Plus it’s set in Scotland which up until recently hasn’t happened much in young adult.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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