Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)

Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)

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Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
July 15, 2014
ISBN
978-1402284793
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From the bestselling author of Catching Jordan comes a brand new contemporary YA you won't forget. The finish line is only the beginning... 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. "Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer L. Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

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Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
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Characters 
 
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5.0

Kenneally Has Outdone Herself

What I Loved:
Miranda Kenneally has completely outdone herself. I’ve enjoyed all of her books. Loved them, in fact. They’re feelsy and shippy and funny and real and sex-positive and basically everything I want. Breathe, Annie, Breathe strikes that perfect balance between fluffiness and delving into powerful issues. When I finished Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I was pretty close to happy crying, because the book is so moving and the ending was just perfect. If you’re a Miranda Kenneally fan, you know what you’re in for and you will not be disappointed.


Something you should know about me: I loathe running. I one hundred percent do not understand why people put themselves through this pain. Breathe, Annie, Breathe centers on running and Kenneally puts the same amount of detail in that she always does. I learned all about the training process to run a marathon and basically this reinforced my desire to never go running ever. Despite all of that, I was fascinated and I cared about Annie’s attempt to run the marathon. I was never bored by the details and I love how much Kenneally focuses on Annie’s struggle. Running the marathon is not going to be easy, even with months of preparation. I never knew how many health problems were inherent in running these distances. Seriously, why do people do this?

The reason Annie’s doing this, since she’s not a runner by nature either, is to complete a marathon in honor of her boyfriend who died. Annie and Kyle were really in love, even during the brief time they were broken up. They’d gotten back together just before his death and she blames herself, since he was over at her house the night it happened. As is the case with many who lose someone, Annie feels guilty and punishes herself. Running the marathon is both tribute and punishment.

In Kenneally fashion, there’s an adorable romance obviously. However, the evolution of the romance is really different than in any of her previous novels. Annie’s been in love before for one thing and isn’t looking for any sort of romance. She feels really conflicted from the moment she meets Jeremiah, because she’s really attracted to him but doesn’t think she should be. Wanting someone else feels disloyal to Kyle’s memory. What’s so interesting is that Jeremiah and Annie develop the physical side of their relationship before the emotional initially. The path they take to romance is a very unique one and I love every bit of it.

Though not as much time is spent on the secondary characters, I marvel again at how good Kenneally is at building out a cast and their interpersonal relationships. Annie’s progress in her relationships with her mother and her former friend Kelsey is touching. She learns a lot about herself over the course of these many months and finally stops shutting people out. Annie really opens up and it’s wonderful getting to see her realize that, though Kyle is gone, she has her life still to live.

Also, for Kenneally fans, this book is a treat. There are SO MANY CAMEOS. Pretty much everybody from Racing Savannah is here, like the aforementioned Kelsey. Seriously, all of them. Matt from Things I Can’t Forget is Annie’s running coach, and Kate makes a brief appearance as well. Jordan and Sam from Catching Jordan also make an appearance. Will Whitfield is missing, but otherwise the gang is all here and it’s marvelous.

The Final Verdict:
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is my new favorite Kenneally book. For contemporary YA fans who haven’t read Kenneally yet, what are you doing? She has both the fluffy and the feels-crushing, depending on what you’re into. Also, if you’re a reader who wants ships that make you squee and flail (and that will actually have much kissing and sex), KENNEALLY. I’m telling you. Trust me. Now may I have the next one, please?

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Taking risks, learning to love again and finding yourself in the process.

I had the privilege of reading a very early version of this, something I'm still smiling about! One of the reasons I enjoy Miranda Kenneally's books so much is because of her writing style, it's clean, crisp and easy to follow. The other is because she gives us characters who are wonderfully human, perfectly flawed and easily relateable, and Annie and Jeremiah are no different. Breathe, Annie, Breathe, is a story about taking risks, learning to love again and finding yourself in the process.

Annie is trying to find a way to deal with her grief, having lost her boyfriend Kyle not too long ago, and Jeremiah is working to repair his relationship with his family. He's an adrenaline junkie who thrives off of taking risks and looking for the next high, even if it means he ends up hurt. Their attraction to each other is palpable right from the start and even though Jere is by Annie's side both in and out of training, it's easy to understand why she's afraid to move past the "Friendzone" with him. Doing so would mean putting herself and her heart on the line again, something Annie isn't sure she can do. But life is full of risks, you just have to decide which ones are worth taking.

As with the other books in her Hundred Oaks series, Breathe, Annie, Breathe, can be read as a stand alone, BUT, it's a lot more fun to read the previous books first, because Sam Henry and Matt Brown especially since some of those characters appear in this one. One in particular had me seriously considering training for a marathon, but then I remembered:

A) I hate to run. Unless, of course, Matt Brown was at the finish line holding the next Hundred Oaks book, then I would make an exception.

B) The 5k I ran a few years ago nearly killed me. (Not really, but it sure felt like it.)

C) I couldn't actually hire him to train me because Matt Brown is fictional. *pouts*

And then there is Jeremiah Brown...

We're first introduced to Jere as Matt's younger brother in, Things I Can't Forget, and I never had any doubt that I would love him like I do Sam, Will, Matt and Jack, but after Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I don't just love him, I LIGHTENING BOLT Jeremiah Brown! So much so, Andi from Andi's ABCs and I decided to have buttons made before BEA this year.

I may not have been able to relate 100% to Annie's desire to run a marathon, but I could totally relate to Jere's need for adventure. I like adventure too, I'm just a little more safe selective about mine. For example, I'm terrified of heights, but I love to ride roller coasters, the faster the better, and I even jumped out of an airplane a couple of years ago. But you will not get me on a Ferris Wheel. Ever.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an excellent addition to the Hundred Oaks series and I'm really looking forward to where these characters take us next!

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