Breathe Hardcover – 1 Feb 2007
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"Will capture teens' imaginations ... A fast-paced plot and a surprise ending will leave readers eager for the conclusion of this trilogy." (School Library Journal)
"Melissa Eccleston narrates gingerly – as if she and the characters of this book walk an indistinct line between reality and magic, order and chaos. In contrast, her character portrayals are solid. The heroine, Undine, who works to control her magical powers, visits her father, Prospero, in Corfu. Both have strong voices that represent their strong wills. Trout, Undine's best friend, has a questioning tone, which is perfect as he's uncertain about almost everything – from his burgeoning feelings of sexuality to his observations of the universe. The beautiful Max has a dual personality as she flirts with Trout and, more dangerously, courts Magic. A listener favorite might be Eccleston's cameo of Undine's eccentric, squeaky-voiced 3-year-old brother." (AudioFile Magazine) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
After the magic... what happens then? --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product description
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Undine finally tells Trout she wants him for a best friend but not a boyfriend. She sees he is trying to understand the magic and she fears for him but he closes her out. He meets a young woman Maxine who wants to learn all about magic and just as Trout begins to trust her, she betrays him. At the same time on Corfue, Undine realizes some promises are made to be broken and by using her magic she saves Max's life at a strange cost to herself.
Although there are fantasy elements in BREATHE, the magic is a symbol of being different and not belonging to a peer group because of that difference. Undine is accepting of her differences though her mother fears that the magic inside her daughter will cause her heartache and alienate her from those who love her. Trout tries to understand the magic that saved his life and in doing so wants to make Undine care for him the way he cares for her. While entertaining, there are lessons to be learned from this fascinating tale.
Since this is a second book using the same characters, it's expected that they'd be well developed. However, these teens were so real, you almost expect to meet them on the street. The feelings were spot on -- even though it's been years since I was that age, I don't think it's changed that much. The world is different and in this case there's the magic to contend with but it's still the same family problem, the same thoughts about whether you're a disappointment, the same fear about what happens next in your life.
Trout, Undine, and Maxine have got real problems in their lives. Each feels they have to solve these problems on their own. None of them realize that others have been there before and may be able to help. Yet each one goes on alone trying to do what they feel they must to go on with their life. Russon's story may be listed as fantasy but the root problems are reality, the reality of most teens' lives. It only takes a chapter to begin to care and by chapter two you don't want to put the book down because you have to know what going to happen next.
As with so much of life, not everyone gets a happy ending and while the ending fits with the world as it is -- I wished for more closure. But then what's life but a continuing story that doesn't have a neat happily ever after though some of us may get close.
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