Series: Hundred Oaks #5
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Sourcebooks on July 15th 2014
Also by this author: Catching Jordan, Jesse's Girl, Stealing Parker, Things I Can't Forget, Racing Savannah, Defending Taylor, Coming Up for Air
Format: Audiobook Source: Audible
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.
Wow. This book was just so much better than I was expecting. So many bloggers were talking about this one a few months ago when it came out and I was pretty uninterested. I’m not sure why, really – maybe just because I fucking hate running? If anything, this book motivated me to take up running and finally get my ass in shape. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a multidimensional story that really didn’t fall short in any areas for me. Annie loses her boyfriend Kyle about a year before the book takes place and she decides to run the Country Music Marathon in his place. She starts a rigorous training routine and finds herself spending a lot of time with her trainer’s brother. The book takes place over the course of a few months and the romance was a glorious slow burn. I really enjoyed watching the relationship with Jeremiah and Annie develop over time. She was trying to get over Kyle and accept that she needed to move on with her life, while he was coming to understand that his feelings for Annie were different than his usual short relationships. They were constantly teasing each other, having fun, and being competitive; it was a relationship that built from friendship and it felt so natural. It was much more interesting to me than the typical SUPER romantic kinds of stories I normally see in contemporary YA. Aside from the romantic elements, this book was really about Annie working on getting in shape and preparing for the marathon – while also preparing to go to college. It reminded me of my college experience (aside from the running of course). I absolutely loved that it really gave a full picture of Annie’s life: her family’s support and personalities, her blossoming (and rekindling) friendships, her running and training, her new love interest, her work at the Roadhouse, her boyfriend Kyle before he died and the effect it had on her — it really covered everything.
- Annie spends the majority of the book trying to move on from her boyfriend Kyle’s passing. She trains hard for the marathon and never gives up, despite many obstacles that pop up from time to time. She got frustrated at times, but always pushes forward. I admired her for trying to make a better life for herself. Her family was poor and lived in a trailer, with her mom working at the local grocery store and her brother working as a mechanic. She was pushed to go away to college and try to be something bigger. My life is really not similar to Annie’s in any way, but I found myself relating to her so much. I really loved her.
- Jeremiah didn’t really make me swoon like some other characters do, but he was such a REAL person. He had flaws, he made mistakes, he tried hard, and he was patient with Annie. Those reasons alone made me love him anyways. He was an adrenaline junkie – always trying to find some new, crazy activity to make him feel alive. Naturally this scares the shit out of Annie because she doesn’t want to lose him, too. He developed throughout the book just as much as Annie did and I loved watching that as well.
The book starts at the end of her senior year, stretches through summer, and shows her first two months of college. I loved that! The flow of this book was just so perfect. It gave the relationship time to develop and showed how Annie worked hard for her goal. Miranda Kineally has a new fan in me; I’ll definitely be checking out her other books soon. She did an amazing job of fully characterizing everyone in the book and giving Annie a multidimensional story. I learned about every area of Annie’s life and nothing felt rushed or under-explained. I really enjoyed listening to this one as an audiobook, too – the narrator had a cool southern accent and really gave SO much life to the characters.
Everyone!! No seriously, this book was awesome. Definitely fans of contemporary YA who love slow burn romances instead of insta-love. The characters were definitely intrigued by each other early in the novel, but not enough to piss off the reader. The time table of the book (from maybe May or June through October) gave everything plenty of time to develop. People who, like me, hate running and want some motivation should read this one too! I highly recommend the audiobook if you can.
I was so pleasantly surprised with this book. I’m glad I gave it a shot. It definitely gets five stars from me because I really didn’t see any flaws in it. The story was great and well developed, the characters were fully described and felt real, and the ending was extremely fitting. It was paced perfectly and honestly I just felt like I was living my life along with the characters. The one tiny thing that bothered me was how angry everyone would get about Jeremiah’s extreme sports. I understand that Annie just didn’t want to lose him, but it did frustrate me when she would try to prohibit him from doing what he wants. That wasn’t enough to bring down my rating though. Regardless, I highly recommend this one!