Monday, April 25, 2016

The Art of Not Breathing

Sarah Alexander's novel The Art of Not Breathing is the tragic story of one family torn apart by the death of a child.  

Elsie narrates this story as she grieves her twin brother, Eddie's, death.  Although it happened five year ago, the entire family is still working through their grief in various ways.  Elsie has spent portions of time unable to talk.  Her older brother, Dillon, has nightmares and suffers from an eating disorder.  Their parents' relationship is full of problems as well.

At various points Elsie remembers bits of life with Eddie.  Eddie had some developmental issues because of being without oxygen for a time during his birth, and therefore she is used to being his protector, yet she was unable to save him from drowning.

As the novel unfolds it becomes apparent there is more to Eddie's death than the original story of his drowning.  Bits and pieces are revealed that shed more light on the time period surrounding Eddie's death.

Elsie also takes up the sport of freediving, a dangerous pasttime that sends her to the ocean's floor where she attempts to find her brother.  Tay, the boy she is dating is the person who introduces her to this activity, and in a bizarre twist of fate, he is also the one who holds the key to unlocking what happened to Eddie.

Alexander's novel is set in Scotland, a locale I have not visited very frequently (if ever) in young adult fiction. This is a quick read that covers some hard topics and provides a little suspense as well.

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