Book: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks series #5
Publisher: Sourcebook Fire
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
After reading four of Kenneally’s books in her Hundred Oaks series, I feel like I should know what to expect from each book by now. And yet, she still manages to get me with the feels that her characters portray as they overcome their inner demons and break through the darkness into the light.
This book was no exception. It tells the story of Annie, a girl who suffered a tragic loss when her boyfriend of three years and potential love of her life dies eight months prior to the start of this book. Annie is still grieving and trying to find a reason to get up in the morning when we meet her, which is both totally understandable and heartbreaking at the same time. Kyle had been planning on running a 26 mile marathon when he so tragically passed, so, to honor his memory, Annie (who has had no previous experience running ever), decides to run the marathon for him. This is where we meet some characters that were in previous books and where Annie meets Running Backwards Boy, aka Jeremiah.
Kenneally delves deep into the very difficult processes that occur when someone wants to train a marathon, and I found it very realistic and relatable and felt what Annie felt whenever it seemed like the going was too tough and she wouldn’t be able to finish the marathon at all.
Annie has to face a lot of questions about herself during the course of this book, mainly to do with Jeremiah. He’s the brother of her trainer, and the first boy that she has any immediate attraction to since Kyle and this scares the crap out of her. For the past eight months she’s only been thinking about how much she misses Kyle and what her life would be like if he hadn’t died. While she hadn’t wanted to stay single forever, she still can’t help feeling guilty whenever she talks to Jeremiah. He’s an adrenaline junkie, someone who gets off from doing activities that bring a huge rush (and inevitably, pretty bad injuries), and as Annie’s friendship to Jeremiah grows stronger, she realises that she’s terrified of losing him like she did Kyle, and tries to push away any lingering feelings toward him, with poor results.
Annie was an interesting character. She came from a poor background, living in a trailer with her mother and brother and is delighted to be able to get into college, something her mother never did, as she has high aspirations for herself, which I totally admired. She was funny and still struggling to get out of bed in the morning, even though some people think it’s time for her to get out of her slump and start living life again. She had a lovely relationship with her brother and her friendship with Jeremiah is beyond cute. If I had anything bad to say about her, it’s that she seems to be too lucky. She had a steady job for three years and when she tries to get a new job, she literally gets the first one she applies for right on the spot. And when she’s planning on going to college, she suddenly gets an offer to room with three other girls without even trying. However, this could just be nitpicking as the poor girl did lose her boyfriend, after all.
Annie and Jeremiah are beyond cute together. Jere knows about Annie’s boyfriend so, even though he makes it clear he likes her, he respects her enough to keep his distance. Which is true: Annie has feelings for Jeremiah but doesn’t feel ready for a new relationship as she’s scared of losing someone else she cares about. This was their main dilemma throughout the book: however, they still had a great friendship and hung out and trained for the marathon together, and you can tell they each helped each other overcome their struggles.
While this book isn’t as amazing as Racing Savannah (my favourite in this series) it was still another great addition to the Hundred Oaks series. I can’t wait to meet other characters and revisit old ones in any following books Kenneally writes.