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Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to make sense of what happened – one minute he was there, the next he was gone. Eddie’s body was never found and her parents and older brother refuse to talk about it. Fed up with school and disintegrating family relationships at home, Elsie escapes to her secret hiding place – an disused boathouse – where she can eat as many Mars bars as she wants and listen to the rain. There she meets seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie – cool, mysterious and addicted to freediving. When Tay introduces Elsie to the underwater world, she wonders if the answers she seeks are at the bottom of the sea, and she’s determined to discover the truth about that tragic day.




"While the compelling plot, well-drawn characters, and page-turning conclusion will attract readers, what will linger most in their minds is the luxurious feel of the water and other details vividly evoked by Alexander’s atmospheric writing."  – School Library Journal

“Narrated in a crisp, unvarnished voice, Elsie’s frightening and alluring tale shows that even while in the depths one can reach for light. In a breathtaking setting, this is a fresh and vivid take on the long-term effects of a child’s death on a family.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Alexander debuts with a raw and sensitive novel about loss.” – Publishers Weekly

“Alexander's debut uses the setting to excellent effect, while spinning multiple levels of mystery within the many subplots. Of special note is the intriguing description of the silent undersea world.” – Booklist

“Intense, compelling and beautifully observed, this novel opens a window into secret worlds and portrays a family dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy. A dark page-turner which will leave you haunted and moved.” – Julia Bell, author of The Dark light

The Art of Not Breathing is an astonishingly good debut novel. I couldn't put it down." – Cat Clarke, author of Entangled