*****FINAL RATING: 4.80 STARS*****CATCHALLI absolutely adored this book. It is seriously one of my favorite reads of 2012. It is without a doubt completely unlike anything I've ever read. Not your formulaic dystopian, Breathe has some serious action balanced by some killer romance! The characters were incredibly likable and the plot and the writing made me absolutely fall in love. Everything about it was original and fresh, and I loved some of the brilliant ideas involved. One of my favorite ever books for sure, Breathe has found a place in my heart.THE HEROINESALINEAline is a really hard and sometimes insensitive character, but she never backs down from what she believes in. She lets her guard down one and that's enough to scare her into becoming someone she's not. Bold and brave, Aline seems like she's not afraid of anything, but inside she can be conflicted. She's one of the most human characters I've ever read about and while in the beginning it was a struggle to identify with her, I quickly found myself pulled into her character.BEABea is as amazing a heroine as Aline, but in a completely different way. She's quiet but brilliant. She's spent her whole life following the rules, doing what she's told—until she meets Aline and begins to question everything she was taught. Instead of shrinking back, she finally learns to stand up for herself and she does what's right. Bea is an extremely relatable character, and definitely has a bit of every girl in her.THE HEROQUINNDespite his name, which you will never convince me is not a girl name, Quinn is actually a pretty awesome character. He's adorably dense and constantly misses what's right in front of him. Sure, that's a tad cliché, but whatever! Quinn, unlike Aline and Bea, is from the privileged class. Yet when he meets Aline and she begins to show him that there could be another world, better one, even he starts to question everything he knows. Instead of simply ignoring her and going back to his privileged life, where he can have anything, he too decides what's right and he's not afraid to risk himself for it.THE PLOTBreathe had an awesome and original plot. I seriously could not put this book down, because it was so intense that I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next.Love, lies, betrayal—oh, and death. That's another thing I loved. Sarah wasn't afraid to kill off characters, even characters who were important to our heroines and hero! And that's always a really good thing to see, if you ask me. It shows her confidence in her book and her plot.In a world where there's only limited air and a totalitarian government controls everything, how do you find a way to rebel? How do you leave the only home you've ever known and leave for a place where you risk running out of air? How do you stay strong when you feel like you might be dying? When those you love are dying around you? These are the kinds of difficult questions that Sarah asks, and the ones she begins to answer so beautifully.The plot is anything but predictable, which is great, since I've been reading way too many predictable books lately. Every twist, every turn was unexpected, and I could never tell which direction the story was going to take until it was already there. I became completely engrossed in this book, and loved everything about it.I loved the gorgeous world-building, too. I honestly could feel like I was actually there, and Sarah did an awesome job of making sure everything fit together and no detail was left unsaid. The world was described beautifully and there were enough visual details that you can really picture the Pod and the other places where our heroes travel to. It wasn't just a background for the plot, but played an essential role itself in the story.THE ROMANCESeriously, Breathe contained one of the best romances I've ever read about. When I first began, I was sure that there was going to be an irritating love triangle. I could not be happier to have been wrong! I absolutely adored the romance in this book, and the way it's a major part of the story but also doesn't monopolize the plot. It's cute and sweet and realistic. While I think it was a tad underdeveloped in the novel, I also believe that it should be given the benefit of the doubt. The underdevelopment isn't even really a major issue for me, but I did feel like I should mention it. If you read the book (which you should!) I think you'll agree with me.THE WRITINGSarah has lovely, gorgeous, beautiful writing. I seriously love it. It's descriptive and lush without being overbearing or desperate. The voices of the individual characters really come through and their feelings are practically tangible. It's so easy to picture her world and really become Aline, Bea, and Quinn. I really don't have any complaints here—I loved it. Some of the best writing I've come across in a long time, and I could not be happier to say that.THE ENDINGBreathe ended on a cliffhanger—of course, right?—that left me desperate for more! And yet at the same time, it didn't feel like a cheap trick. Despite being desperate for the next book, I still felt entirely satisfied with this one. The ending was sweet but there were sad moments too, but overall there was the feeling of needing to move on from the past and get ready for the future, a sentiment that in a way embraces the entire ideals of these novels.WRAPUPI'll definitely be reading the rest of this series, and I think i just might be a Sarah Crossan fan for life! Not only was the plot spectacular and original, but the characters were extremely likable and the writing was without a doubt incredible. I'm eagerly waiting on the next book—and trust me, after reading this, you'll be desperate to know what happens next too. Again, this is one of my all-time favorites, and I can only hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I highly recommend it.FINE.Find more of my reviews on Sparkles and Lightning!