July 9, 2014

Latest Read: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Publication date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: SourceFire Books
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received at BEA
Summary: Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race. But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Remember the time I said I thought Racing Savannah was my favorite Miranda Kenneally book? Well, I know Breathe, Annie, Breathe is my favorite of the Hundred Oaks series and I really mean it this time. (Seriously!) Kenneally’s writing just gets better and better and her latest hooked me from the first page and stayed with me long after I finished it. Which, let’s be honest, was the same exact day because I couldn’t put it down. We meet Annie when she’s training for a marathon, which turns out to be more grueling than I could’ve ever imagined! This is exactly why I am not a runner but Annie is in the same boat. She’s hates running too. So why is she doing this? Because she’s honoring her boyfriend who passed away and who had been training for the same exact marathon she plans to run in. She’s even working with a seasoned-trainer named Matt (Hundred Oaks fans - do you know who this is?) and it’s through him that she meets his younger (gorgeous!) brother, Jeremiah. This is a crossroads in Annie’s life — torn between past and future and holding on and letting go — and it’s an emotional journey I really responded to.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe was this great balance of family, friendship, romance and figuring out who you are or want to be. Even though I’ve never been in Annie’s shoes (as in not even close!), I think her fears, uncertainty and desires will resonate with any reader. I really admired her dedication to run this race. I mean for someone who could barely do half a mile and slowly working her way to 22 miles? The author doesn’t shy away from the details of what that takes. But it gives Annie a sense of purpose and allows her to meet new people who are training with her. I think it also gives Annie a way to heal. I was so inspired by her dedication that it made me want to take up running! (Or, maybe just jogging.)

Annie is super lucky in that she has a great support system. There’s her mom and brother who appear often throughout the book and I enjoyed the mother/daughter relationship. It’s not easy (is it ever?) but they work through it. Then after having had a serious boyfriend basically all of high school and spending most, if not all, her time with him — she’s feeling lost. She starts to reconnect with an old ex-best friend and just make friends period. As someone who strongly believes in the power of female friendships, I loved watching her come to this realization. But most of all, I loved the relationship between Annie and Jeremiah. (Deep down, I just love a good romance! I can’t help it.) They are intense and playful and the connection between them is immediate. I loved the fun-loving nature of their interactions but at the same time, I looked forward to the deeper parts too. Like opening up, letting their guards down and putting all their feelings out on the table.

(No) Reservations
None! Although I jokingly told Estelle that I get distracted trying to remember which characters are from previous books. Since so much time passes between each one I read and I tend to focus on the current set of people, I will completely miss cameos. But I love that the cameos are there!

Do I recommend?
Oh my goodness, YES. Even though I’ve long enjoyed Kenneally’s books, I was blown away by how much I loved this. My review isn’t doing it justice but I hope it at least convinces you to read it!

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I can tell you when all the cameos happen, mostly because I'm so attached to the old gang and can recognize them instantly when they appear! But really, Breathe Annie Breathe is AMAZING. I related to Annie and her story so much, and I really enjoyed seeing how she goes through this entire journey to be able to run a marathon. Got to admire her spirit!

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