Throwback Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Series: A stand-alone in the Hundred Oaks series

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary 

Release Date: July 15, 2014 by Sourcebooks

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library Loan

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


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 Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You .

My Thoughts

I remember reading the synopsis of Breathe, Annie, Breathe when it was released last year and thinking... meh, not for me. First, it's about running (yawn) and secondly, it looks too sweet/"clean teen" for my taste. But a glowing review by a trusted GoodReads friend was enough to sway me. And I'm so glad it did.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe was *so* much more than I was expecting. One of those books that takes you by surprise - in the very best way. The cover is deceiving. It's so nondescript and doesn't begin to reflect the depth of the story inside. A story about love and loss, grief and guilt, friends and family, forgiveness and new beginnings.

We know from the beginning that Annie is mourning the loss of her boyfriend, Kyle, and that she is training to run a marathon in his honor. In the beginning, we don't know how Kyle died, only that Annie seems to blame herself. Since Kyle's death, Annie has closed herself off from friends and her relationship with her mother has suffered as well. Her training brings about a lot more changes in her life than just the ability to run.

All decisions are different in hindsight. Maybe all we can do is make the best decisions we can in the moment, using the best information we have right then.

Annie meets Jeremiah through her training program and feels an instant attraction. A first since Kyle's death. But Jeremiah is an adrenaline junkie and can be reckless, and Annie is fearful of getting close only to experience another loss. I *loved* the evolution of their relationship. While the attraction and chemistry were apparent, both seemed cautious. Seeing their friendship develop and watching as they grew closer just gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. And yes there were plenty of sweet moments, but this wasn't the "clean teen" style that I had (mistakenly) labeled it. In addition to the sweetness and the humor and the emotion, there was also a realistic depiction of the steamy side of a new relationship. 

"Jeremiah? You make me happy."
"You make me happy too," he say quietly.

I really enjoyed Kenneally's writing style. Every character, every thread of the story, felt so true and believable. The dialogue was just perfection. It read so smoothly and naturally and never rang false. I loved the humor, and the banter between Annie and Jeremiah was priceless.

I am so, so glad I took a chance on this one because I truly loved Annie's story. And Jeremiah was a shining example of a good book boyfriend. :)

(Originally read/reviewed February 2015)

What book have you read that surprised you?

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