{Review/Giveaway} BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE by Miranda Kenneally

Check out the rest of the tour schedule here!


Take a peek at an old interview from 2011 and see how much things have changed for Miranda (not to mention the look of this blog)!

And check out my Girls in Sports Week interview with Miranda!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    AS A KID, I HAD THE worst mile time ever.
    Our gym teacher made us run the mile a few times a year for something called the Presidential Fitness Test. I’d huff and puff and wonder why the hell President Bush cared how fast I could run laps around the playground. I always came in dead last.
    Most of the boys could run a mile in eight or nine minutes. The girls usually came in around ten. And there I was, scooting in at over thirteen minutes. Truth be told, running bored the hell out of me. I’d rather have been doing word problems.
    Today I’m running five miles along the Little Duck River. If I finish, this will be the farthest I’ve ever run. I know I’ll finish—there’s no way I can give up.Because I’m doing this for him.
(Page 3, US ARC edition)

Annie has never liked to run. She was always the worst in school, but her deceased boyfriend Kyle was a runner. He'd been training for a marathon that was important to him, and Annie decides to race in his honor. But...she still isn't very good at running. Sometimes, it makes her stomach hurt. Sometimes, her legs are like jelly. Does she have what it takes to cross the finish line and honor Kyle? To prepare, she's hired a marathon trainer. His sessions are grueling, but thanks to them, she meets Jeremiah. He has the potential to help her move on, but he's not supposed to date anyone in his brother's program. But it's only his belief in her that will help Annie suck up her courage and keep trying even after a normal person would give up and cut their losses.

Miranda Kenneally books have a lot of heart. There's always an issue at play that is important, one that needs to be addressed in YA literature. In BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, we're dealing with a girl struggling to cope after her boyfriend's death...a boyfriend she'd only just gotten back together with after a bad breakup. She's messed up and wondering if the accident was, in a way, her fault. They'd been arguing over their wishes for the future. Kyle wanted to get married right away, and Annie wanted to get through college first. There aren't enough YA titles with the aftermath of grief, with the wish to do something epic in someone else's name in order to honor their memory. That is the core of Annie's journey. She's not good at what she's doing, not a natural athlete like so many of Kenneally's other characters in previous books. But she has guts, determination, willpower. She's going to do this impossible thing, even if her body isn't capable of it. Not everyone is built for distance running. Not everyone can finish a 26-mile marathon, even serious athletes. Kenneally focuses on the drive and will to succeed, and creates a story that brings life to a voice that needs to be heard in YA.

Kenneally's books are also full of fun and tradition. While they all take place in the town of Hundred Oaks, you don't have to read any book in order to dive right in. If you have read other books in the series, you get sneak cameos that add to the fun, but you aren't missing out on anything! For example, in BERATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, Annie's trainer is Matt from THINGS I CAN'T FORGET, and her love interest is his younger brother Jeremiah! We also get a sneak peek at the grown-up lives of a couple of the "original" generation of characters! (I wouldn't be at all surprised to see stories about the children of some of the original characters someday down the road!)

I definitely hope that Kenneally continues writing books in this world. I like the combination of sports (there's definitely a readership for this type of book; there aren't enough sports featured in YA!) and issues that aren't always focused on and brought to life. Kenneally has an unusual, unique voice that stands out in contemporary YA. I've said it before and I'll say it again: She's going to be a contemporary staple, one of those authors others are compared to.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG15 ( sexual situations )
Language: PG13 ( swearing and innuendo )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover has gone through a few revisions before becoming what it is today. While it doesn't match the tone of the other covers, it also doesn't need to. 

I also have a soft spot for covers with "chalk" designs that look like the model is in front of a chalkboard or some such. For example, I really adore the playfulness of this cover:

While the idea behind this cover isn't exactly the same as the one for BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE, it's a similar concept because neither sky is real. It's just whimsical and fun, and I really like that about both covers!

I also love the interior treatment. Every so often, readers are treated to a peek at Annie's log book and able to see the progress she's making:

 What's cool is that you see that sheet  become creased once it's folded up over time. You see doodles added in the margins. It feels REAL, and it makes Annie's journey seem like something that could be happening in real life. I thought the treatment of her training schedule was such an awesome addition, and always looked forward to seeing her progress!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: July 15, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Received: For Review (BEA Copy)

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.

"BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet."
 — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of WAIT FOR YOU

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.
Visit Miranda on her websiteTwitter, and Facebook!

-2x 50$ B&N Gift Card
-3x Signed copy of  BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE

Ends July 29th!
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