Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Series: Hundred Oaks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publication date: July 15th 2014
by Sourcebooks Fire
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.
-A copy was provided by Sourcebooks Fire for review-
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of this series. With every new book I fall a little bit more in love with this town and its characters, which I thought was impossible by now. What I appreciate the most is how even though it’s a series, each book is a stand-alone with new main characters who tell us their story, and if you have read the others, you get a kick out of the familiar faces that return for secondary roles. I love hearing what Jordan and the others are up to, and they’re all so grown up now *sniff*.
In Breathe, Annie, Breathe, we meet a girl who’s dealing with grief and self-blame after the death of her boyfriend. A boyfriend she knew she was eventually going to call her husband; a boy with whom she spent the last few years of her life, with whom she was making plans for the future. And suddenly, he was gone. As I’ve come to expect from Miranda, the character development is flawless, turning these people into more than just words on a page. She doesn’t need to use emotional manipulation tactics, this is not some cheap emotional roller-coaster, the story is written with such authenticity that you come to focus on the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel, the fact that Annie is going to get through this. Her inner turmoil becomes your own, making you wholeheartedly invested in her story. In turn, you see how incredibly strong she is. You feel her determination, her need to finish this marathon because Kyle can’t. It makes you root for her with your whole being. It’s about much more than the empty hole that has settled in her heart. As such, and as usual, it remains a feel-good read despite the darkness surrounding it.
Another wonderful aspect of this series is its sports-oriented stories. The atmosphere and team dynamics they bring to the series are like no other. We’ve seen football, soft ball, soccer, and horse racing, and now we’re onto running. Being a lazy bum, I had no idea what it took to train for a marathon, and man is it ever hard! It takes some serious self discipline and dedication. It’s also not as solitary as I had thought; having a team to support and motivate you is a key part of making it to the finish line. The people Annie meets while running, along with her school friends, make for a colorful supporting cast. I loved how they all had individual story arcs that were like a natural part of this story. From romantic troubles to big life decisions to general quirkiness, the series simply would not be the same without its secondary roles – especially when some of them were main characters in prior books.
Another ongoing theme of this series is the romance, with each book being ultimately about a budding relationship, and finding love unexpectedly. This time our love interest is Jeremiah, an adrenaline junkie with an infinite amount of charm and an adorable personality (he’s also Matt’s younger brother from book 3). As usual, the connection between them is very real and very easily felt. You can all but touch the chemistry that’s sizzling between the two. And although it’s not an annoying hot-and-cold romance, they do have a few obstacles to work through. Annie’s still not over her grief, for one, and she’s deathly afraid of losing someone else – which is not a great combination with his daredevil ways. The genuine quality of the romance always gets me in this series. It’s just so honest, so real.
So… yeah, Miranda has done it again, and I think she should continue to bring it until the end of times. I want to read these books until I’m old and toothless. And I think you should all join me! 😉