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Sarah Alexander was born and bred in London. After working as a tomato picker, travel consultant, mental-health support worker and suitcase administrator, she returned to London to complete a Creative Writing MA at Birkbeck College in 2013 (which she passed with distinction). Sarah now works as an editor on digital language-learning projects. She has had short stories published in The Mechanics Institute Review and on Writers Hub, as well as several non-fiction pieces on travel websites. THE ART OF NOT BREATHING is Sarah's first novel.
Author photo © Melissa Valente
April 2016 Debut of the Month Five years have passed since Elsie's twin brother vanished into the sea on their birthday. Her parents and brother are still broken by their loss and Elsie feels like half of her is missing, but also as if Eddie is living within her. Elsie feels guilty too. She’d promised her dad that she wouldn't let go of Eddie’s hand, but she did and now he’s gone. Memories of that day seep back to her, but the details ebb and flow like the tides Eddie was lost to. Elsie takes refuge in eating, and in an abandoned boathouse. It’s her secret hideout until Tay turns up. His passion for freediving sparks Elsie’s interest in the sport. When diving, Elsie “stopped feeling any pain at all”. Down there, in the sea, she's “not a loser” and she becomes set on reaching the bottom of a forty-three-metre drop-off to say goodbye to Eddie, and “to tell him that I'm sorry”. While Elsie’s focused on this mission, and also dealing with bullies and falling for Tay, her older brother Dillon desperately needs help for his eating disorder. And then the truth of what happened on that fateful day rises from the depths. Alongside exploring grief, guilt, male bulimia and parental alcoholism with honesty and grace, the author has created an unforgettable heroine in Elsie, whose haunting, heartfelt tale comes highly recommended. ~ Joanna Owen
One minute Eddie was there. And the next he was gone.Five years on, and it's Elsie who's lost. All she knows is the pain she feels. Pain that her twin Eddie's body has never been found after that day on the beach.Then she meets Tay; confident, cool and addicted to free-diving. He says it's too dangerous for her to join; it's too dark, too scary, too deep. But what does he know?He doesn't know that being underwater is the only time Elsie doesn't ache for her brother. That diving gives her flashbacks. And that uncovering the secrets of that day is the only way for Elsie to start breathing again.