BREATHE left me breathless. Sarah Crossan has created a world so profound and scary, I hope to never see something like this happen. But even scarier…it could.They say that humanity is the largest and longest plague Earth has ever experienced, and there is no better illustration of that than Crossan’s new dystopian novel, BREATHE. In it, humanity has been nearly decimated of its own hand, by logging all the forests, causing oxygen levels to plummet. The lucky few chosen by lottery – or sheer importance to their field of study – won homes inside the glass-enclosed dome, where class systems have been put into place and families get taxed on the amount of air they use. Everything is run by the Ministry, and the Ministry watches everyone.I was blown away by BREATHE. It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a dystopian novel as much as I enjoyed this one. Crossan’s use of oxygen as the controlling element is so unique, but even better, it’s frightening because with all the logging we do now, this isn’t an impossible scenario. Improbable, maybe. But impossible? No.I also enjoyed how relevant it all seemed. Because the government provides an essential commodity (in abundance), its citizens are absolutely indentured to them. I’ve always been a fan of the old adage “give a man a fish and he eats for one day; teach a man to fish and he eats for life.” The citizens in BREATHE ate for one day, at a time, because commodities were provided to them. And the lesson I took away from this was, the more one can take care of themselves, the less they have to depend on others for what they need. I never want to need from my government, but I especially never want to need air. The message overall felt particularly relevant to the political climate of today with the many social programs and the government’s desire to decide what is best for us.Crossan’s characters covered the gamut of what a dystopian should have: the rebels, the people who are complacent and/or believe that what’s going on is good for the people, and finally, those who work for the government, ruling with their iron fist. I liked all these characters equally, because each had something so important to contribute to the story.Bea, a level 3 sub, wants so badly to be a Premium, and is in love with a Premium. She believes in the cause of Breathe, the entity that created the dome and sustains their way of life. Except, she’s a reasonable girl, and what she thinks is the cause may not be afterall.Quinn, a Premium, is humble and honest. It’s refreshing to get a privileged character like Quinn who hasn’t let it go to his head. He’s oblivious to a lot of things around him, something I did find irritating at times, but I chalked that up to his being a teenage boy. They’re all kind of dense. ☺Alina is the smartest of the bunch. She sees things for what they are, but at the same time, her experiences have jaded her. And she feels she may have lost herself.The three of them are such an unusual group, but I enjoyed their interaction with one another, as well as the other characters throughout the novel. I am not going to go into the other characters, especially the villains, because I want you to read it and make up your own mind about them. Are they truly evil, or are they surviving with what they’ve been given? I’ll leave that to you to decide.BREATHE is a keeper and I urge every fan of the dystopian genre to read it. You will especially love it if you’re a fan of Under the Never Sky and – dare I say it – The Hunger Games.