Sunday, July 6, 2014

One Step at a Time: Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Sourcebooks, Expected Release Date: July 15, 2014

*ARC provided by the publisher - Thank You! This fact in no way impacted my opinions of this book.*

Annie hates running, but running a marathon had always been a dream of Kyle's. So in his memory she has adopted his goal: the Music City Marathon. She likes her coach, the schedule, the fact that it gives her some place to be and something to do, but she's also at war with her body, with her guilt about the role she believes she played in Kyle's death, and with her growing feelings for someone new. Jeremiah is an adrenaline junkie who can never sit still and goes after the things he wants. It seems like he wants Annie, and she wants him too, and the possibility of falling in love again is even more terrifying than running 26.2 miles.

I've had some mixed experiences with a few of the other books in Kenneally's Hundred Oaks universe, but Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a positive one. In fact, I finished this entire novel within 48 hours of finding it in my mailbox. This story was something I could immediately identify with: I hate running. I'm not about to sign up for a marathon, though (the occasional 5K is enough of a challenge for me), but I understand Annie's commitment to something she's not particularly good at as a way of building herself up and finding an outlet to counteract the things she can't control.

This novel is centered around a romance as is fairly typical of Kenneally's other writings, but that's certainly not the whole story. Readers also get to see how growing up, and later, grief, have altered Annie's relationships with her friends and family. We see her struggle with the transition from life before to how it is now to what is to come. Just because Kyle's life ended doesn't mean Annie's did. She has to figure out this whole college thing, navigate a friendship that faded in high school, and decide if Jeremiah, the running boy who makes her feel things she thought she'd lost, is actually a good addition to her life or if he'll only bring more pain. I was very worry of Jeremiah at first, but the fact that he and Annie both have a whole lot of issues they're trying to sort through, each in their own way, was a journey I really liked reading about. I'd also add that this novel is probably best suited for teens 14 and up not because of reading level, but due to some more mature situations.

If you're looking for a fast and heartfelt summer read, then Breathe, Annie, Breathe is right up your alley. And who knows? Maybe I'll actually sign up for two 5Ks this year instead of just my usual one.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Miranda Kenneally's Website
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