Likes-Dislikes ARC Review: The Art Of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

Title: The Art of Not Breathing
Author: Sarah Alexander
Source: Edelweiss 
Genre: Contemporary 
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26th 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.

**Spoilers are in red** 

I don't have much to say about The Art of Not Breathing. I did like it. But it isn't my favorite book I ever read. It also won't be one of the most memorable. There were qualities that I liked, and then many things that I disliked. 


  • I like that is was set in Scotland. It took a little getting use to the terms that were use. But it was refreshing to read. 
  • Alexander created a cast of realistically flawed characters (For the most part. Read in the dislike section for more) 
  • Free diving isn't something you read about. It was cool to read about. It actually makes me want to try it out. (I won't) 
  • I especially liked that Elise was depicted as a chubbier then most girls her age, and she views her body in a disdainful way. I found it realistic about how some girls view themselves. 


  • Flawed characters are good. They make a story sometimes. But every character in this book was flawed. It was hard to keep up with what was going on with who, and why this character acted this way. 
  • There was one part of the story that threw me off. Elsie's other brother has a girlfriend. So one day she is peaking through the lock on his door and catches them having sex. Most people would turn away, but Elsie continues to watch for a minute or two. (Which maybe isn't a big thing? But I just found it odd) And then one day that girlfriend says that Elsie could watch if she wanted too. 
  • From the summary the book it makes you think that the story is about Elsie coming to terms with Eddie's death and stuff. It is and it isn't. But suddenly Elsie is is trying to piece together the memories of that day she can't remember, and then who else was involved. How her brother knows Tay and Adam. It suddenly turned into a mystery. 
  • In the last half of the book, Elsie's brother develops an eating disorder. But it comes out of nowhere. One minute he was fine and the next minute he is sickly thin. 
  • Overall I found the story rushed and too much crammed into less then 300 pages. It might have benefited if it was longer then 288 pages. 

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