THE ART OF NOT BREATHING by Sarah Alexander

THE ART OF NOT BREATHING

Age Range: 12 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Since the death of her twin brother, Elsie’s family has fallen apart.

It’s been five years since her twin, Eddie, disappeared beneath the waves in the North Sea off Scotland. His body was never found, and 16-year-old Elsie’s family is crumbling. Her father seethes with rage and is absent most of the time; her mother has taken to drinking gin straight from the bottle; and her older brother, Dillon, has stopped eating. Elsie relentlessly relives the day of her brother’s drowning, worrying the scab of guilt, but her memories are fragmented, and she struggles to make sense of the nebulous images that haunt her. Elsie’s present-tense narration is raw and unflinching as she relates her story and unravels the twists in her recollection. Then she meets bad-boy Tay. He introduces her to pot, sex, and free diving: diving without oxygen. Elsie finds solace in holding her breath as she seeks to find answers—and her twin—in the cold, murky depths. As, bit by bit, clues emerge and Elsie dives deeper and longer, she realizes that it’s not just her family that has been keeping corrosive secrets. Narrated in a crisp, unvarnished voice, Elsie’s frightening and alluring tale shows that even while in the depths one can reach for light.

In a breathtaking setting, this is a fresh and vivid take on the long-term effects of a child’s death on a family. (Fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 26th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-544-63388-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016




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