Book Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
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.
Annie and Kyle have been together FOREVER. So when Kyle proposes, and Annie says NO, a huge fight ensues and things break apart. Kyle and Annie are just getting back to talking when Kyle is killed- and Annie, like anyone dealing with sudden death (or any death in my opinion) believes to be her fault. In order to honor Kyle, non-athletic Annie picks up her running shoes and starts to train for the marathon that Kyle was running- never mind that she’s never run before, and has NO idea what running entails, let alone marathon training. Coaching puts her endurance and health (mental and physical) to the test, and starts to connect with Jeremiah, her coach’s younger brother. However, Jeremiah may or may not be the best thing for Annie- a true adrenaline junkie looking for his next thrill, he makes her start to feel things again. And as the day of the marathon approaches, Annie has to learn how to live again, by just breathe.
Breathe, Annie, Breathe is a very hard hitting book and a very emotional read- so definitely get tissues ready. It deals with death and the grieving process extremely well and extremely sensitively- you FEEL what Annie is going through, her guilt at surviving and her blame about Kyle’s death. All of it is spot on, and while it may be a bit fast for recovery time, everything is on point. All of the training that Annie goes through, and the struggles with the training, are ring true as well- again, possibly a bit fast, but will capture readers.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those looking for stories of starting over and moving on, tear-jerkers, and contemporary young adult fans. Definitely not for those looking for “clean reads” as there is a lot of profanity (I would be to training for a marathon) and there is sex (not just “sexy times”).
FYI, Breathe, Annie, Breathe is actually part of a loose series by Miranda Kenneally (The Hundred Oaks series) which I completely didn’t know about, and didn’t need for this book. Avid readers will recognize cameos from other characters in the series (“MISS, how could you not know about her COACH?!?!?!”).
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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