October 19, 2014

Book Review: BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE by Miranda Kenneally

Book:  Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author:  Miranda Kenneally
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Genre:  YA Fiction

“Aren’t you gonna run up front and try to win?”- Annie
“I’d rather run with you.”- Jeremiah
“Jeremiah? You make me happy.”- Annie
“You make me happy too.”- Jeremiah

Blurb via Goodreads:

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.

My Synopsis:

Guilt can eat away at a person, what more when that guilt stems from the belief that you have killed the one you love the most?

Annie lost Kyle in an accident no one saw coming, this right after breaking up and making up with him.  So after many months of grieving and separating herself from people, Annie finally decides to live again by fulfilling Kyle’s unfinished goal:  to run the Country Music Marathon

But going from 0 to 60 is hard especially since Annie has always loathed running.  For her, a mile is already hard, what more 26!  So she joins a marathon training group headed Coach Matt whose brother Jeremiah works as a pacer.

It’s a daily struggle for Annie: working, training, surviving, living with guilt she never shared with anyone, but she does survive and slowly thrive, in part because she opened up to a friendship with Jeremiah.  Though they both want more, Annie is not ready, especially knowing that Jeremiah is an adrenalin junkie and that she may lose him anytime, just like Kyle.

My Review:

Intense. Painful. Tragic.

Author Miranda Kenneally knows how to wring every emotion out of the reader with her words.  Annie’s description of her feelings, her thoughts, are like arrows through the heart. There is much guilt in her that though as the story unravels, we know that she had nothing to do with Kyle’s death, we still end up understanding her reasoning for believing so.  Her pain is palpable, her healing, subtle and slow, but in the end, complete.

What I appreciate most about this story is that though Jeremiah and Annie’s attraction to each other is instant and powerful, they push through with a friendship unlike any other I’ve read.  It’s like they ran forward, then backwards until they found what made them happy: each other.

Since this a Hundred Oaks book, appearances of lovable characters from previous books are expected.  I loved seeing Jordan, Henry, Ty, Vanessa, Savannah and Rory again.  It’s like touching base with old friends.

And the running.  They way Annie struggled through it minute by minute, mile by mile, made me believe that if she can do it, anyone can.  She made me want to put on my running shoes and hit the pavement.  I hate running just as much as she does, but if running can give me as much peace and healing as it did her, maybe I should give it a try…..after I get my own jar of vaseline that is.

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