Saturday, June 27, 2020

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Coming Up for Air
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: July 4th 2017
Pages: 293
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Purchased
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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 tryout, so Maggie 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 sacrifice in the water to win at love?

What a fantastic conclusion to this series! I love the characters, the romance, the writing, and the sports talk in each of these books, and Coming Up for Air has all of these Hundred Oaks staples and more.

Maggie was relatable and likable like all of the Hundred Oaks protagonists. I loved how driven and passionate she is without anyone else pushing her into being a successful swimmer, and her friendships and romance are just as fun to read about. The romance is adorable as always; I didn't mind the predictable-ness one bit, and was rooting along for this couple throughout the entire novel. Kenneally's books are always a safe bet if you want some adorable romance that will distract you from the real world and make you happy to go along on these characters' journeys.

In all of the Hundred Oaks books, I've loved reading about each character's passion and competitiveness in whatever each of them is good at, and this one is no exception. I loved reading about Maggie's dedication to swimming, being along for all the ups and downs of her swim meets and training, and getting immersed in all the technicalities and drama of these young athletes' lives. I never get how Kenneally can get me so invested in these technicalities--if you asked me if I wanted to learn about the specific times young swimmers need to meet, how exactly they train to shave second off their times, etc., I would definitely say no--but she manages to integrate these technicalities into the realities of the lives of the characters you grow to love in a way that makes you want to know everything about a topic you've never cared about.

One thing that stood out about this book compared to the previous Hundred Oaks books was the emphasis on sexuality. Even if it was cringe-worthy to read about the way Maggie expresses them sometimes, it was great to see a female character who is so outspoken about her sexual desires. There are a lot of hot and heavy scenes, and even if the explicit message is mainly about it being okay to evolve at your own pace (i.e. to not have had sex yet), the general sex-positivity was great to read about.

Overall, a fantastic conclusion to a companion series of which I loved each one. Even though we always just get one book per character and it's a little different from saying goodbye to a group of characters and stories you loved, I am still a little sad we won't get any more Hundred Oaks books. But I can't wait to see what Miranda Kenneally does next!


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