Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kennealy - Review

Release Date: July 4, 2017

Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

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I am so happy that I got to review Miranda Kenneally's newest Hundred Oaks installment, Coming Up for Air. I love the whole series, one of my favorite books of all time being Breathe, Annie, Breathe (haven't read it? WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GO GET IT!), but Coming Up for Air rose to a solid second. 

Coming Up for Air has all the things one would expect from Miranda: hilarious characters and situations and swoon worthy love interests combined with truly touching conflicts that come with growing up and trying to define yourself and what you want. 

Maggie is such a great character but I really enjoyed how close she is to her group of friends. They all work to bring out characteristics in one another that make all of them more developed, complex, and believable. I thought the dialogue and action between them was so organic and entertaining it was like watching a movie (a really good one). After visiting Cal (Wat up alma mater! GO BEARS!) as an incoming freshmen athlete, she realizes that she isn't as experienced with boys as she thinks she should be. When she comes back, she asks her best friend, Levi, to help her get more comfortable hooking up with guys. Then all the fun stuff starts. What could go wrong, right?

As always, Maggie's story is the perfect combination between rom-com hilarity and very real, very believable coming-of-age struggles. I thought that the friendship between Maggie and Levi was wonderful and organic and that the romance between all the characters and their various interests so accurately describes any and all forms of romance and infatuation found in high school and college. Maggie's relationship with Levi (and Hunter and Georgia) is so open and nonjudgemental (they remind me a lot of Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door!).  The whole idea of "hookups" has been prevalent in so many young adult and new adult novels, but I truly thing that Coming Up for Air is a really great example of exploring the idea in such a way that is respectful and completely believable. I liked that these are semi-professional kids that still flounder around teenage issues. I liked that they are all making mistakes and kind of have no idea what they are doing but are still able to learn from them and laugh about it. I like the range of familial and platonic relationships, from the ideal parents, to the not so ideal, to split families. I LOVED that she talks about casual (safe) sex, the worry around being inexperienced, and high school students being sexually active in various ways. Her characters make as many mistakes as they do good choices and the balance is fantastic. 

Maggie's battle with her own self worth as an athlete and her doubts about what she has and hasn't experienced because of this ambition is a great center to a story of a young woman trying to figure out what's important to her, as both an aspiring Olympian and as a young woman. She must learn to not compare her own accomplishments to others, to be comfortable with change, and to stand up for herself and what she wants. The sports aspect, as usual, is a wonderful frame to a fantastic and dynamic cast of characters, hilarious writing, and swoon-worthy romance. It can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend all of Miranda's books. 
* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Find out more about Miranda and her books here: http://mirandakenneally.com

Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.

Find her on Twitter!

Look at this cute comic of all the amazing female protagonists in the Hundred Oaks series! LOOK AT IT!
Happy Reading!


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