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The Ever Breath

Review

The Ever Breath

Truman Cragmeal and his twin sister, Camille, go to stay with their odd Grandma Swelda over the holidays. Things haven’t been right at home after their father disappeared a month ago. Their mother needs to work extra hours, and leaving the twins with their grandmother --- even though they haven’t seen her since they were very young --- seems like a natural choice. What Truman and Camille would never guess is that their grandmother is more than just odd. She holds the secrets to a magical world --- and now, more than ever, she needs their help.

Grandma Swelda is strange. She’s shorter than short and wears a lumpy, poorly knit woolen hat. “But the most striking thing about their grandmother was her glasses; one of the lenses was completely normal but the other was covered by a shiny black plastic cap.” And that’s only the start. Her house contains oddities that she calls “imports from distant lands.” There’s an actual tree growing through the floorboards and books on shelves titled DENDROLOGY: A Gramarye’s Dictionary of Terms and Best Practices and THE BREATH WORLD: A Complete History.

The twins learn from their grandma that she, too, is a twin, but her sister stayed behind in their homeland. She also tells them a strange story while they feast on all sorts of exotic and delicious foods --- none of which miraculously bother Truman’s long list of allergies. She calls it a “tasting tale” and says, “This is the Fixed World. The world we live in now. And the other world was named the Breath World. Those in the Breath World felt cast out…so a stone to control the balance and flow between the two worlds was placed in their world. A stone called the Ever Breath --- an amber orb with a breath embedded in the very center.” If the Ever Breath is removed from where it belongs, the two worlds will close up the passageway between them.

Grandma Swelda has more surprises for the twins: she gives them each a glass snow globe that reveals odd scenes within them. During his first night at his grandmother’s, Truman can’t sleep. He takes his snow globe with him and decides to explore the house. When he is accidentally locked outside the house by Swelda’s pesky pet, Truman tries to find his way back inside, but instead he uncovers a secret passageway and a strange talking cat-like creature called a mewler. Thus, Truman’s adventure in the Breath World has begun. And when Camille begins searching for her brother, she stumbles into the Breath World soon after.

In THE EVER BREATH, Truman and Camille learn that Grandma Swelda’s odd tale isn’t just a story --- it’s real. The magical stone (the Ever Breath) that holds the balance between the two worlds has gone missing, and it’s up to Truman and his sister to find it and save two worlds: the Breath World and the Fixed World. With the help of quirky, magical creatures and their snow globes --- which have more powers than they first realized --- do they have what it takes to save the day and find their father along the way?

Author Julianna Baggott has penned many books for both adults and young readers. THE EVER BREATH shows great imagination with a magical world and an adventurous tale with brave young heroes. A sequel is indicated at the end of the book, so hold on to your snow globes for another adventure!

Reviewed by Kristi Olson on June 14, 2011

The Ever Breath
by Julianna Baggott

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2011
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0375851143
  • ISBN-13: 9780375851148