Elsie has been trying to remember what happened the day her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago. One minute he was there on the beach with her, the next he was gone. Now, she has met Tay at one of her favorite hangouts - he's mysterious and her older brother, Dillon, doesn't seem to like him - and he introduces her to freediving. She hopes to find the answers she's been looking for regarding her twin's death at the bottom of the sea.
The Art of Not Breathing is Sarah Alexander's debut novel. I liked the concept of this story quite a bit - I mean, it's set in Scotland, features freediving, and takes on multiple difficult topics. Also, I did like that it reminded me of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I went in prepared to enjoy it, but unfortunately, I couldn't really get into it - although, I'll admit that it did have a few decent twists. I had several issues with it. The first being that it felt entirely too cold and detached right from the get-go when there should have been more of an emotional punch, and as a result I wasn't sure what was going on in Elsie's head, let alone what I was supposed to be thinking. That being said Elsie makes some decisions and does some things that left me scratching my head - usually when it came to boys and freediving. I was also in a mild state of confusion when it came to the flashbacks. It was a little difficult to keep up with them since most of the time I didn't know I was in the middle of a flashback until it was halfway over. Finally, I didn't really like any of the characters, or perhaps I should say that I couldn't really get invested in any of the characters, (which may go back to my first issue).
While reading, I found myself alternating between:
over the course of the novel.
Overall, Sarah Alexander's debut YA novel The Art of Not Breathing has quite a few interesting things going for it, but in the end it just wasn't for me. I think this happens to be one of those cases where I preferred the concept to the actual execution of the story. If you enjoyed We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, you may want to give this novel a shot.
I read this novel from June 17 - 20, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.