Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I picked it up on a total whim (having received an ARC) and really enjoyed it. First, I have to state that apparently this is part of Kenneally's "Hundred Oaks" YA series, which I didn't know. It definitely can stand alone, however.
Annie is finishing up high school and training for a marathon. She's never been a runner - in fact, she hates it. However, Annie is running in honor of her late boyfriend Kyle, who never had a chance to run the marathon for which he was training.
Annie is a very mature kid, which took a bit of getting used to. She was definitely in a very developed relationship early in life and she came across older than her years. However, we learn that she's been on her own a bit - her dad was never around and her Mom has been busy working multiple jobs to keep the family afloat. So her maturity works, overall.
Annie is struggling with guilt over Kyle's death. She starts to find relief in her marathon training. She also starts to find relief in Jeremiah, the brother of her training coach. Jeremiah is unlike anyone Annie has ever known.
This was a simple, YA love story. You pretty much know where it's going to go. But it was surprisingly sweet and touching and well-done. Annie is an extremely likable character. Her maturity lends her some credence not always found in YA characters. I also found myself quite swept up in Jeremiah (not unlike Annie), who was also different from the typical YA beau.
Finally, the running element was a fun add to the book. As someone training for a 5K (nowhere near a marathon, but I like to pretend, ha), it was enjoyable to watch Annie progress toward her goal.
Overall, this is probably really a 3.5 star novel, but I just enjoyed the story so much, I bumped it up to 4.
(Note: I received an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.)
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