Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Companion novels: Hundred Oaks #5
Published: July 15th, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary romance, sports
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis: 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.
I received this book from the publisher -via Netgalley- in exchange for a review. This does not influence my opinion in any way. The Bookdepository link provided above is an affiliate link.
Before I start with the actual review, let’s talk about the “series”. I know this is actually the fifth book in the Hundred Oaks series and I will confess to you now that I have only read the first book and this one. You do NOT have to read them all! It is not necessary by any means, which I really like because some of the others don’t really speak to me as this one did.
I’m going to be quite honest here, the first sentence of the synopsis speaks to me. I HATE RUNNING. I really do. It’s probably the form of exercise I dislike the most -that and burpees- so I thought it would be interesting to read this from Annie’s perspective, as she hates it as well. It makes it so much easier for me to connect to her, seeing as I don’t like it either.
So during the novel, Annie is preparing to run the Nashville Country Music Marathon -I believe- which is I think over 26 miles. As a non-runner, that just sounds like death to me. And to her as well. But she wants to run it for her boyfriend, who died. So no matter how much she is suffering and aching, she is not giving up.
While this book was definitely not slow, I did feel like the story slowly unfolded. I know that probably didn’t make any sense, I’m sorry. I read this book quite quickly yet I felt like I slowly got to know the characters and the story. It didn’t feel rushed to me.
On to what I consider to be one of the most important aspects of contemporary romances: the characters. First up: Annie. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Annie is committed. I mean, you have to be committed if you want to run that race without any previous experience -aside from her training. So she is a very strong -or stubborn I guess- person. I did like that about her. She is also filled with guilt about her boyfriend’s death. During her last year of high school, she isolated herself after she lost him and spent most of her time alone. I feel like some people may be a bit annoyed at Annie towards the middle/end of the book because she has trouble accepting her feelings for Jeremiah. She feels guilty because of it. It personally didn’t bother me because it wasn’t overplayed. It was present in the story -which in my opinion is only normal- but it wasn’t dragged out.
Overall, I really enjoyed Annie as a main character. I really like Jeremiah as well. Although I don’t always understand him, I feel like he is a really good person. Sometimes you meet someone and you just know that they are a good person, right? I felt that way about him. To be honest, I’d like to try some of the crazy stunts/sports he tried but seeing as I’m already clumsy, I’d probably lose a limb.
There are several other characters I liked as well. First of all, Matt. Matt is Annie’s running coach -and Jeremiah’s brother- who helps her train and reach her goal of running the marathon. And of course, Annie’s family is important as well. Often in YA books, the family aspect is either left out or not really present that much which always makes me sad! Family is very important in my eyes, especially if you are a teenager, so it seems weird to leave that part out. But Annie has a really good relationship with her brother Nick, and really loves her mother as well.
I would highly recommend this book! Annie’s story was really heartfelt and I enjoyed every part of it.