From Barnes and Noble:
“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.”
Overall, I really enjoyed Breathe, Annie, Breathe, and I’d recommend it to a friend. To be fair, I should mention that I’m partial to books about running. I also loved Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan (one of my all-time favorites), so I was really looking forward to reading this one.
Let’s start with the characters. They were overall complicated and endearing. Annie is a likable person. She can be frustrating, and sometimes I didn’t understand the decisions she made, but through it all, I rooted for her. It was a little harder for me to like Jeremiah at first. I remember thinking that he’s not like any guy I know. However, as you get farther into the book and you get to know him better, he does feel like a very real guy. He’s unique, he’s sweet, and he’s definitely one of the best parts of the book. I liked most of the secondary characters and I also liked how Annie’s relationship with her mom was portrayed. It wasn’t simplified, and it felt very real. I wish we’d been able to see a little more of that. I also liked how Annie’s relationships with her friends were presented (this will make more sense when you read it).
Another thing the book did well was incorporate running. So much of what Annie was going through was what I went through when I started running. I’ve actually had to stop running for a few months due to a knee injury, and this book had me itching to run again. I think if a book can make you feel like that, it’s doing something right.
As far as the plot is concerned, there was one thing that I didn’t love. I didn’t completely get why Annie felt so guilty about Kyle’s death. Even though it is explained in the book, something about it just didn’t feel genuine to me. I think there are so many complex emotions behind that sort of grief, and I just never connected enough with the plot to get that sort of understanding from Annie’s situation. However, this was really the only part of the book that didn’t work for me. There was so much that did work, like the ending.
I’ve realized that ending books is a strength of Miranda Kenneally’s. Don’t worry—I won’t put any spoilers! Just like the ending of Catching Jordan, this ending leaves you with a perfect balance of resolution and open-endedness that feels like real life. I remember putting the book down with a smile on my face.
In a few words: Read it! It’s a book that starts out good, and finishes very strong. It is heavier, and it leaves you feeling happy and sad and hopeful all at once.
What did you think? I’d love to hear your comments!
If you liked this, try The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. The writing is different, but it is also about loss and falling in love (and running!).