Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally
Published July 15th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
The finish line is only the beginning.…
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.
The Hundred Oaks series is one of my long-time favorites, and I thiiink, judging from the books I’ve read and the synopsis for the ones I haven’t (but will! but absolutely will!!), I might relate the most to Annie. I like Annie’s sense of humor – a little wry, a little dry, a little self-depreciating. I like how she’s hesitant, but trying. And Jeremiah was swoony-cute and charming and I loved how fluffy and supportive their relationship was? Also how they didn’t get together right away; it took time, a lot of time, but it was still them, every step of the way, and the process was really cute to read. I also really enjoyed how the spotlight was shared with Annie’s other relationships as well – with her friends, her ex-friends-turned-friends, her mother, Kyle’s family, etc.
And it was! Melodrama-free! No one gave her shit when they saw her with Jeremiah; it really was all about Annie – healing, mending relationships, accepting, moving on. Breathe, Annie, Breathe is heartwarming at it’s core, and I want the best for alllll of the characters.
On my fourth night in the dorms, I decide to buy earplugs. I love Vanessa because she’s so nice, but God, having a roommate can be annoying. It could be worse, I guess. I could have Iggy and her mandolin. But even if Vanessa were silent, I’d still have the crazy screaming people in the hallways to contend with. Two guys got into an argument because one drank the other’s Snapple. A couple broke up in the common room because he cheated with the girl who runs the projector in his film class. Our neighbors live for blasting electroclash music. Kelsey and Iggy got into a fight because Kelsey didn’t clean her hair out of the shower drain.
Freshman year, and I lived in a triple dorm room. The beds were lofted, with desks and a tiny, tiny closet wedged below them, but even then, the room was so small that they had to be packed tightly, side-by-side, with juuuuust enough room between each loft bed so that someone could squeeze through. Plus, our neighbors were the hardcore gamer type, and would sleep when the sun rose, then wake up a mere few hours later, and spend all their waking time gaming, and blasting their music for every hearing ear in the city. My rooming situation is a lot better now, and I’ve never been one for the Greek scene, but the way university is portrayed here is super relatable.
It’s also really cool to see cameos from previous Hundred Oaks books’ characters (Jordan! Sam Henry! Matt! Kate!).
“As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever. Our gym teacher made us run the mile a few times a year for something called the Presidential Fitness Test. I’d huff and puff and wonder why the hell President Bush cared how fast I could run laps around the playground. I always came in dead last.”
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is heartwarming and fluffy and cute, and there were so many relatable bits for me, both as a university student and a runner – I really, really enjoyed it!