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.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, ever since reading Catching Jordan. Until the day I read this one, the first book had always been the closest to my heart. However, to my surprise, I fell very much in love with Breathe, Annie, Breathe. It took me a while to truly embrace to the story but I eventually was enamored by the book. The more I got into it, the more I realized that I’ve finally found a new favorite.
I’ll give the book’s storyline straight to you: Breathe, Annie, Breathe is about Annie Winters, who is training for a marathon to honour the memory of the guy she’s loved all her life. The story behind that isn’t initially told but as you read on, you find out more about Annie’s relationship with Kyle, her boyfriend who passed away. The book revolved around several things and one of them is Annie learning to open up to the people around her. Through the writing, I felt like she was opening up to me as a reader too.
‘Maybe you don’t have to figure out life at all. Maybe it just is.’
There are so many things to say about Annie. I easily liked her and enjoyed her narration. I also grew to admire her as I discovered her incredible determination. Aside from running, Annie also keeps a job as a diner waitress and I just commend her for being so hardworking. Mostly importantly though, I related to Annie so very much. I think that has a lot to do with the grief she felt. I only recently lost someone and like Annie’s boyfriend, my friend was too young to be gone. Because of this, I deeply connected to how Annie missed Kyle- how it’s so hard to move on, how it sucks when you don’t get to say goodbye, and how, in Annie’s words, ‘you can’t enjoy the future knowing that that person is missing out.’ There were so many times I found myself tearing up because feels. Aside from this, I also identified with how Annie was trying to make sense of who she is, what she wants to do and just trying to make sense of life in general. So yes, in so many ways, I felt like Breathe, Annie, Breathe spoke a lot to me.
‘It’s like the world is open to me, the sky is wide and blue, but clouds are threatening in the distance.’
It wasn’t just Annie’s character that got to me though. There’s also the relationships she forms and rebuilds as the story moves on. As always, Miranda doesn’t forget to show the importance of friends and family. Annie is estranged with her ex-bestfriend Kelsey and has also grown distant with her mother. Both had a lot to do with her relationship with Kyle but I think what matters is how the book talks about how your world gets really small sometimes, maybe because of a boy, maybe because of your grief, and you just need to let in other people and find a balance. Again, I related so much and I loved it. I loved how Annie works through things and I feel like I learned so much from her. Annie soon connects with new friends (note: the female friendships here are fab) and I just really enjoyed how these allowed several cameos from the other characters in the previous books namely: Matt, Savannah, Jordan, Vanessa, Kelsey, Colton and more! Seriously, I loved the cameos!!!
‘If I get wet, I’ll have to run back with soggy clothes and I’ll get chafed-‘
‘Wouldn’t want that.’
‘I’ll finally get to take your brother up on his kind offer of Vaseline.’
‘I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that.’
Matt is actually Annie’s trainer, the one helping her to run a marathon. One of the things I just adore about Miranda’s books is how they involve sports. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a sporty girl- the very opposite in fact. (Another thing I related to with Annie- she actually hated running until she resolved to finish her boyfriend’s marathon for him.) That’s probably why it’s nice to read about Miranda’s books’ insights on the sports they focus on. Running is actually one of the sports I sorta like and almost enjoy doing. I’ve done a few fun runs myself but I loved that Breathe, Annie, Breathe elaborated about the training part of running marathons. It’s not just constantly running- it also involves a diet and a very serious program. The book even includes a chart of Annie’s running progress/schedule which is awesome. Truth be told, this aspect convinced me to take up running more seriously. (Now, if only I had a hot running coach..)
‘My life moved too fast to slow down for anybody. But this entire summer, I’ve been going slow. I’ve been waiting for you.’
Last but definitely not the least, I loved the romance in Breathe, Annie, Breathe. OHMYGOD, did I love it. When the story starts, Annie is hung up on Kyle but then Jeremiah comes along. Hot, gorgeous, flirty, charming, adrenaline-loving, backwards-running, Jeremiah. From the first moment they meet, there is an instant, very explosive, attraction between him and Annie. What I love though is how this attraction gets back-tracked and Jeremiah and Annie actually take things slowly when they realize things started too fast between them. This works perfectly and I just totally swooned over the bond they form. They actually become friends and it was just amazing seeing their relationship grow with such strong foundations. I absolutely enjoyed their banters and dialogue, the way they handled disagreements and talked maturely, their amazing chemistry, and just the way they are. But really, I just totally loved Jeremiah (who is definitely on my book boyfriend list already). 50% of my highlights in the book are ‘I want a Jeremiah’ and I’m not even kidding.
‘Anything can happen. Anytime, to anyone. We have to live now. Now, now, now.’
If you read through this whole review (you deserve a cupcake for that), you probably know that I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about Breathe, Annie, Breathe. I really did. In case you skipped through my rambles though, here’s the main idea: READ THIS BOOK NOW. If you love young adult books, if you love the contemporary genre, if you are interested in sports or running, if you feel like giggling or laughing out loud, if you want to fall in love, if you’re trying to figure out life, if you’ve read the previous books in the Hundred Oaks series or not, READ THIS BOOK.
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