Breathe, Annie, Breathe
by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks (#5)
Publication: Sourcebooks Fire on July 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 306 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Realistic Fiction
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.
This was my first time picking up a book from Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks Series, and after reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe, it's quite unfathomable why I haven't read one of her books sooner.
From the very first page, the book is relatable to the reader. I love how easy it is to connect with a realistic fiction novel as this one. Annie hates running. (And girl, Annie, I'm with you on that one.) Yet, the book begins with Annie chugging along on a five mile run as a part of the marathon training program she's a part of, slowly but surely making her way to the finish line - one stride at a time.
It's in this first chapter that we are first introduced to Jeremiah, the younger brother of Annie's running coach. From this very first meeting, you already begin to fall for Jeremiah's fun and lovable character. As I was reading their exchange, I couldn't help but smile to myself. The dialogue all felt so very real and authentic.
Annie is a great main character. She's firmly made up her mind to run the Music City Marathon her late boyfriend didn't have the chance to finish himself. I love how determined she stays throughout the entire book even though she hates running. I admire Annie's character; I would never be able to set my mind to running every week, working towards running the full twenty-something miles on marathon day. And Annie isn't exactly someone you would call privileged: for all her life she's had to work for what she wants, working tirelessly at a local restaurant in town to save up money for college. The marathon became yet another goal of Annie's to aspire for.
Along Annie's journey, she creates some much needed friendships while training with the other marathoners. Besides Jeremiah, there's Liza, a lawyer who just moved into town, who quickly becomes a great supportive figure in Annie's life. In a way, Liza and the marathoners become something of a second family to Annie. And as a reader, I loved how I was able to get to know some of the other runners along with Annie, each one adding to the story.
However of course, my favorite relationship had to be Annie and Jeremiah's. Guys, it's cute. They're cute. I'll say that much. But like any other relationship, it's not all a cakewalk. Annie's still getting over a lost loved one, and Jeremiah, the adrenaline junkie, has a few problems of his own. It's great to see them both grow throughout the story and finally, eventually, find each other in the end.
Give Breathe, Annie, Breathe a chance. If you've read another book in the Hundred Oaks Series and loved it, this fifth book will not disappoint. And if this is your first time picking up one in the series, as was mine, I think you'll love it all the same. You definitely don't need to read the other Hundred Oaks books to enjoy this one, though I'll be picking up another sometime soon.