Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Book Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: July 4, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Catching Jordan and Jesse's Girl
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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?"

Maggie is one of those swimmers whose whole life revolves around her time at the pool.  If she wants to make it to the Olympic trials then she needs to be completely dedicated. This is all well and good, except she is a senior now.  And what has she done outside of swimming? Not much.  Other than hanging out with her friends as well as her best friend and fellow swimmer, Levi, she hasn't experienced high school in the very least.  She visits Berkeley, the college she is attending in the fall, and while out at a college party, she realizes she really hasn't experienced life at all; in fact, she hasn't even made out with a boy. Maggie is determined to remedy this and she immediately thinks of her best friend, Levi, who is charming, good looking, and seriously experienced in the making out department. Maybe he could give her some tips? But what during all of this if she starts to feel something for him? Miranda Kenneally's next installment in the Hundred Oaks series has a shaky start, but once it gets going, it's a compelling tale of elite athletics, the high school experience, and includes an adorable friends-to something more story.

Maggie and I did not hit it off initially in Coming Up for Air. In fact, I am pretty sure I continuously rolled my eyes for the first fifty pages. I mean how naive can a character be? And going to your best friend and asking for make-out tips and practice time is seriously weird. But then something strange happened. I started caring about Maggie, quirks and all, and I started to get sucked into her friends-to-something more story line with Levi.  Maggie also is navigating life on the cusp of college. I think Kenneally did a good job portraying what that is like, especially for someone as sheltered as Maggie.

That brings me to Levi. He's a charmer, he's good looking, he's an amazing swimmer and a good friend to Maggie in Coming Up For Air. What is not to like? I think most high school girls fantasize about having a best friend just like him. Plus, I was a total sucker for their budding romantic relationship in Coming Up for Air.

Not only did the friends-to-something more plot line suck me in, but so did the whole aspect of competitive swimming in Coming Up for Air. I absolutely loved hearing about the practices, the meets, the trials, the other swimmers, and the ups and downs that come along with being such a dedicated athlete.  Kenneally truly captured it perfectly.

You don't need to read the Hundred Oaks series in order, you can start anywhere, but I always appreciate revisiting different characters that pop into the story. It's a lot of fun and it made me want to go back and check out some of the other books in the series that I skipped over.

If you love swimming and you enjoy a story where best friends become something more, definitely give Coming Up for Air a try this summer.  Despite its shaky start, it ended up being one of the better YA novels that I read this summer.


  1. I still haven't gotten to read anything from this author, but I've been hearing great things about this one. I'm glad that you were still able to appreciate the story even though it took you a while to connect with the main character. Great review!

    1. The Hundred Oaks series is so much fun and perfect for summertime. You should definitely check it out! Thanks for visiting, Julie!

  2. This initially didn't sound like something I would typically read, but I think your enthusiasm for it might have convinced me 🙂 This is my first time on your blog, and I love your style!


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