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The Art of Not Breathing

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,786 ratings  ·  349 reviews
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 freedivin ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Aayah 14 +.
The book is lovely to read but there are a few heated moments which i think until 12s should definitely not be exposed to. Although i suppose it …more
14 +.
The book is lovely to read but there are a few heated moments which i think until 12s should definitely not be exposed to. Although i suppose it depends on the child i think that 13-14 year olds and above wont have a problem with it.(less)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,786 ratings  ·  349 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

Edward Main
11 April 2000-11 April 2011
Today we are sixteen. Happy birthday, Edward.


Elsie's twin drowned when they were eleven-years-old. Elsie can't remember what all happened that day but she feels like it's her fault.


1. Mum was at home making our chocolate birthday cake.
2. Dillon was swimming with the dolphins.
3. Eddie and I were wading close to shore.
4. One minute Eddie was there, and then he was gone.
5. Dad was supposed
DNF @page 140

This is literally the most boring thing I've read and while it is somewhat interesting, my fuck flew out the window so I couldn't give one, sadly.

The mc is blander than fuckign salt and even paper had more personality than her I'm fucking deceased.

She meets the guy for a second time (the first time for only five seconds, literally) AND SHE ALMOST SAID HER FIRST NAME AND THEN HIS LAST NAME TOGETHER, I'm fuckign pissing, let me die. Insta love at its finest, y'all!!!

3.5/5 stars
5 years ago Eddie drowned.
5 years ago Elsie's life turned upside down.
She cannot remember the details of that fateful day and it haunts her.
She still talks to her deceased twin brother, to her, he's always with her.
There are so many secrets and mysteries about that day that Elsie simply does not understand.
Her mom and dad fight all the time. Her brother Dillon has seemingly distanced himself from Elsie and Elsie feels as though no one would notice if she was gone.
Things change whe
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group and NetGalley.)

“New things I remember about that day:
1. Dillion wasn’t swimming back to look for Eddie. He was looking for someone else.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose twin brother had drowned.

Elsie came across as a bit depressed, she seemed to have no drive, a reluctance to do anything other than wonder what had happened t
catherine ♡
Actual Rating: 0.5

The Art of Not Breathing takes place five years after the death of Eddie Main, who drowned in the ocean. His twin sister, Elsie Main, is haunted by flashbacks of him as her family struggles to not fall apart.

Elsie doesn't remember what happened that night on the beach. But when she meets Tay McKenzie, she is introduced to the world of freediving, and she becomes determined to find answers to her lingering questions, even if it means travelling to the bottom of the sea.

One thing
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I liked this book. I have had a review copy of this book for about a year and a half and put it off after I started seeing mixed reviews. That was a mistake because this book worked really well for me. It is a rather short book but I think it moved fast for me because of how the story flowed. I just didn't want to quit turning pages once I reached a certain point in the story.

I was curious about the characters and their histories fr
That's all I could say or even THINK, upon reading the final page of this gritty, gut-tearing, phenomenally-messy (in the best way) debut. From page one, I was gripped by Elsie's story. She's a shlob. And she knows it. And though she's not necessarily cool w/it. That doesn't mean she isn't cool as hell.
Cause she is. Cool. Brave. Loving in her own, rough way.
And even though Elsie's family is one huge jacked-up mess, after her twin brother's accidental drowning, she tries to keep her head a
3.5 stars

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander is her YA debut novel.
I came upon this book casually without knowing anything neither of the author nor of the plot itself. I had just finished a slow and action-packed book, so I hoped this one would be a quick and light read.
Well, it turns out I read it in a few hours. It wasn't light at all, but it had something that made turn every page eager to know what would happen next.

The story
Five years after the drowning of her twin brother
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 stars. Spoiler-free review below! This book will be released April 26th, 2015.

Thank you to HMH kids for providing me an ARC of this book! My thoughts and review are in no way influenced by this.

» Summary/Synopsis
The Art of Not Breathing is a YA contemporary that not only deals with romance but also with a very heavy topic: death and getting over it. The main character, Elsie, is a 16-year-old girl who lives in Scotland. Five years ago, her twin brother, Eddie, disappeared while they wer
Her twin brother drowned under her watch and for five agonizing years Elsie has carried the burden of guilt. Eddie had special needs and could be a handful, but she let go of his hand and he ran into the sea to follow their older brother and he never returned. From that day forward her family imploded, any surface crack that may have had become gaping fissures, with everyone holding their secrets inside. For Elsie, she could see and hear her twin in her nightmares, as if he was calling to her to ...more
Sara Grochowski
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this one down. Review forthcoming! ...more
Amy Allgeyer
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of *those* books...the kind you can't put down. The kind you keep thinking about long after you're finished. The kind you want to read again and again.

Focusing on the fallout of a traumatic event five years prior, The Art of Not Breathing drew me in from the first chapter, and I became more riveted with every page--as anxious to find out what was going to happen as I was to find out what *had* happened. Alexander's portrayal of Elsie, a young girl broken and stunted by the loss of h
S.M. Parker
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Art of Not Breathing was an immersive, beautiful read and a seriously impressive debut.

The story deals with the different ways in which people grieve and deal with guilt. (And so much more, but I don't want to give away any spoilers). The main character has lost her twin and she can feel him, see him, experience him in a way that is lush and haunting and heart-breaking—but also so beautiful and hopeful. The way Alexander writes about the unique ways in which one girl keeps her twin at her s
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
“The Art of Not Breathing” is far from your typical YA book. In fact, I found it quite odd. That isn’t actually a bad thing considering that our narrator, Elsie, is different from the norm herself.

This is one of those books that mentioning much of it will spoil the whole thing. I can say the Elsie is dealing with the drowning death of her twin brother when they were eleven and a very, very broken family. Her life is extremely painful and the author spares no feelings in describing the stark real
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love that it takes place in Scotland. The descriptions of diving are gorgeous. Elsie is a great character many girls will relate to.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction, netgalley

This is a spoiler-free review.

I'm giving this book a 1.5 rating. This is more of a poorly constructed rant about the main character than a review.

"I'm so relieved he's not running away that I kiss him, on the lips, and I have to rein myself back in before I literally eat him."

I wasn't aware eating people was part of being far too attached to a boy you just met.

In all honesty, 1.5 stars might be generous. Like most readers, I generally want to love the book I'm reading.
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Art of Not Breathing is a book that honestly had so much potential! It is about a girl who tries to remember her brother’s disappearance and even incorporates free diving. However, the main character seems emotionless and makes some pretty bad choices, which made the book a lot less enjoyable.

The Art of Not Breathing tells the story of a girl named Elsie whose twin brother disappeared at the beach when they were eleven. She has tried to remember details about h
Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for a honest review, with thanks to both Netgalley and HMH book group.
Cost: Free

Title: The Art of Not Breathing
Author: Sarah Alexander
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Overall Rating: 4 stars

This is exactly the type of YA contemporary that I like.

I like gritty, angst ridden books that will take you on a journey. I like depressing plots and books that deal with tough issues, this book deals with
I wanted so badly to love this book and all it did was let me down. The biggest issue I had with this story were the flashbacks. They would come at the strangest times and half the time I didn’t even know that I was in a flashback. It made the whole story very confusing to the point that I had to read some parts multiple times and even ask my sister about it to make sure that I understood what was going on. Literally half of the time, I did not understand what was going on. I mean looking back, ...more
Carol Brill
Narrator Elsie is 11 when her twin brother disappears while they are swimming. Now, at 16, she struggles to remember what happened. Why wasn't her father on the beach watching them, why did her older brother seem to be looking in a different direction? What do they know about that day that she can't remember? This is s story of a families' burden of shame and guilt and secrets. On the positive side, I wanted to know what happened that day and kept reading to find out.
I found many of the charact
Gray Cox
Oct 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*Joins Aimee in her chant* stop glorifying unhealthy behavior.... stop glorifying unhealthy behavior.... stop glorifying unhealthy behavior.....

I HATED this book. The swearing, the TMI, the characters with zero personality, the entirely two-dimensional plot.

Put this on your "Don't read ever list" or if you're reading it, stop, save yourself the time, DNF it. Seriously. It's awful.

The only thing I liked was the diversity when it came to mental disabilities and illnesses.

Everything else was aw
Lauren Schultz
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An ARC of this book was sent to me for review by HMH, and it in no way affected my review.

I absolutely adore this book. The character development is amazing, and the story is extremely well written. Alexander's writing style kept me drawn in the entire time, and it was very refreshing to read such a well written book.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book about grief, young males with an eating disorder, and growing up. Somewhere I thought I saw an age recommendation of 12 or 13...I'd probably bump that up to 16 or so. ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rhea Dsouza
With The Art Of Not Breathing, I did something I don’t usually do.  I read reviews about the book while I was still reading the book.  Terrible idea, I know.  But the book intrigued me, and left me wondering if only I was unimpressed by the detached, honestly boring writing, and it turns out I wasn’t the only one.  Thank the heavens.

The Art of Not Breathing is a story about Elsie Main and her family, set in a small town near Inverness, Scotland.  And the beauty of this book does not lie only in
Sissy Lu {Book Savvy Reviews}
I feel like I'm on a roll and a bad one, like the kind that sends you careening off the edge of a cliff. HA! Get it? Inside joke for those who read it, there are moments of jumping off a cliff, har har har...

I did not like this story at all, although I finished it because it was a smaller sized book, I did not enjoy any of it. Maybe it's because I'm 29 years old and I just don't get 16-year-olds these days, eh?

Elsie is our main character, she's a 16-year-old from Scotland and once upon a time ha
Check out my Q+A with the author here!!

I didn’t really know much about the book, but just the title and cover alone was enough to intrigue me. I did end up having some mixed feelings about the story, but for the most part I did really enjoy the story.

Firstly, I really liked the authors writing style. It was easy to read, well sequenced, and the story had a nice flow to it. It was the sort of writing that you can imagine playing out like a movie in your head.

I felt like the story as a whole
Lauren Stoolfire
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 no
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016, netgalley, ya
This book took me forever to read. I love the idea of the story and I really wanted to love reading it, but the writing was a bit bland.

There were plenty of little twists that you basically saw coming. Some of the story lines were interesting and others not so much. There some pacing issues and some parts felt very young and other parts were more seriously written. The writing was just generally inconsistent.

Even though many of the scenes should have been emotional, I didn’t feel the emotion.
Karen Fortunati
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gorgeous story is about the impact of grief and guilt on a family. The death of her twin brother five years ago has devastated not only sixteen year old MC Elsie but her older brother and parents as well. Their family life has atrophied and Elsie feels invisible. Unmotivated and isolated, a chance encounter introduces her to the sport of freediving. As she immerses herself in diving, Elsie reawakens memories of that horrific day and triggers the unraveling of the family's intricate secrets. ...more
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Sarah Alexander grew up in London with dreams of exploring the world and writing stories. After spending several years wandering the globe and getting into all sorts of scrapes, she returned to London to complete a Master's degree in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College in 2013. Previous jobs include: tomato picker, travel consultant, mental-health support worker and suitcase administrator. Now sh ...more

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