Breathe, Annie Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)
By Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Source: AuthorAnnie 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.
Review: I don’t know how she does it, but Miranda Kenneally just gets teens. I have been obsessed with her books ever since I got Catching Jordan for Christmas in 2011 and have never missed a book in the Hundred Oaks series since. When I saw that book five was going to be about running, I knew I was going to absolutely love it, and love it I did.
Annie isn’t a runner. But when her boyfriend Kyle dies in the middle of training for his first marathon, the only way Annie knows how to cope with her grief and guilt is to throw herself into running and training for a marathon herself. With each mile, though, Annie still can’t get over her guilt for Kyle’s death and finds herself losing faith in herself and the goal she’s set out to complete. Then, when her coach's brother Jeremiah, an adrenaline drunkie who sees no challenge as too dangerous, shows up everywhere she runs, Annie doesn’t know what to do with her heart anymore. Can she risk loving someone when the chance of losing him is so high?
Did I mention that I was excited that this book revolved around running? Because boy, was I excited. I’m a runner and have now trained and run two half-marathons myself, so I’ve dealt with some of the struggles Annie goes through. It’s clear Miranda Kenneally really knew what it was like pushing your body to run as far as you can because everything Annie went through was so real, from potty breaks during long runs to dealing with chaffing from your shorts. Nothing was easy for Annie not only physically, but emotionally as well. When things get hard physically, you really start to doubt yourself and whether you can really do what you set out to accomplish. So not only was Annie torn up about her boyfriend dying, but also she had to deal with the mental stress of believing in herself to complete the full 26.2 mile race she’s set out to run. Annie’s character was so real, with her flaws out there for both the reader and the people in her life to see, that I connected with her from page one. Annie was so real to me that I talked to my sister, who I let read this book before me, about this book for days about how much like Annie both of us were.
But let’s get to the real reason I loved this book. Jeremiah. Oh, Jeremiah. I feel like the bad boy character is so overdone in YA and New Adult books, but Jeremiah is so much more than a bad boy. Sure he’s cocky and takes every challenge that comes his way, seeking the next bigger and better thrill, but he is just too sweet and too perfect for words. Seriously, I’m about to go find a marathon training program just so that I can find my own Jeremiah. He was just as scared as Annie was of being in a relationship with her, but he still really cared about her and let her into his life. I loved how he brought her home to his pretty awesome family and then was just there as a friend when Annie made it clear she wasn’t ready for something more. Can I have a guy who loves running even more than I do and will snuggle with me while watching a movie because I just needed a friend? Because that’s Jeremiah. And I want him now.
If you haven’t read Miranda Kenneally’s books yet, you need to go out and find one of her books right now. They explore the raw truth of teen life while weaving in the athletic world that has always been an integral part of my life. And who doesn’t love hunky athletes who really challenge every female protagonist in this series? For a story full of dealing with grief, learning how to heal your heart, and testing your limits by an author who gets into the nooks and crannies of the teenage mind, you need to read Breathe, Annie, Breathe.