Sarah Crossan, author of Breathe, is back! Earlier this week she told us about some of her personal firsts and this time, she discusses some firsts for the characters in her book. Tell us all about your epic firsts with our new Facebook app!
WHAT IS REAL?
by Sarah Crossan
We all have that Matrix moment when we look at the world we know and are forced to wonder which parts have been fictionalized for our benefit. What is real? Who can be trusted? Where do we belong now? And it needn’t come in the form of corrupt governments. The moment can come when parents divorce, when we get dumped, or when we find out a friend has been gossiping behind our backs. It’s frightening—standing on the precipice of truth, and it’s easy to dismiss everything we know simply because we discover one lie.
In Breathe, Bea and Quinn have lived under the protection of the ministry and the Breathe corporation their entire lives. They have no reason to believe they are being lied to. All they know is that without the pod, they would be dead. But as the novel progresses, they learn that what they thought they knew was a lie and that rather than being protected by the pod, they are prisoners.
This discovery comes as something of a relief for Bea and gives her life new purpose; she no longer needs to blame herself for what she has been unable to achieve. What Bea learns about the pod gives her an opportunity to fight for the first time in her life. And she fights hard, following Alina into The Outlands and embarking on an epic journey of growth.
Unlike Bea, Quinn struggles with the truth he uncovers—he wishes it weren’t so. But the more Quinn learns about The Ministry, Breathe, and his own family, the more determined he is to be a better person, and his trek through The Outlands, which begins as nothing more than an attempt to win over a girl, quickly leads him to a richer place of self-discovery.
Alina is slightly different: her awakening comes before the book opens and she is already a consummate cynic. She knows all about the corruption in the pod and is on a mission to fight for freedom. Her enlightenment is not about opening her eyes to evil, but about finding a way to trust other people for the first time, despite everything she knows.
There are two landscapes in Breathe. There is the oxygen-starved planet, controlled by an evil government and which the characters must physically navigate, but there is also the emotional landscape, which is, at moments, equally hopeless and frightening. Breathe is a book about taking that first journey into the unknown, be it a bleak wilderness or the cracks of your own heart, and striving to come out alive.