Saying Goodbye Has Never Been Sadder: Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 5, 2017 by Nick/ 19 Comments

Saying Goodbye Has Never Been Sadder: Coming Up For Air by Miranda KenneallyComing Up for Air
by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: July 4th 2017
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
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three-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

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?

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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I wasn’t aware going into Coming Up For Air that this was the last book in the Hundred Oaks series. This series has been such a comforting and pleasant presence in my reading life, so I’m sad that it’s over. For me, these books have consistently grown better and Miranda Kenneally’s strength as a YA writer has only improved. Coming Up For Air was a satisfying conclusion, though I’m going to admit, it wasn’t my favorite book from the author for a couple of reasons.

I don’t quite get why friends-to-lovers romances aren’t as prevalent in YA. They always make for a sweet trope, and we get that here in Coming Up For Air. Maggie and Levi have a great friendship between them, that evolves into chemistry when Maggie propositions Levi to help her gain some experience when it comes to flirting, boys and sex. The foundation of their relationship was solid enough to have me rooting for them. That being said, the romance could be so stressful. Both of them are struggling with these new heightened feelings for each other, and there was some push and pull, that I’m not used to seeing in Miranda’s books that I wasn’t very much of a fan of, to be honest. I guess I just wanted them to be a couple and do coupley things without giving me a headache. Coming Up For Air is also quite sex-positive, which is a trend with Miranda Kenneally’s books, one that I’m always grateful for, because she handles it with finesse. I liked how both Levi and Maggie were portrayed as these teens who had urges and were frequently horny. The sexy times scenes were touching, and done beautifully, in my opinion, not explicitly, but written in a way that was sensitive and not all gratuitous.

For the most part, I liked the characters in Coming Up For Air. Both Maggie and Levi were likable characters, and you want to root for them. Both their passion and struggles with swimming were one of the highlights of the book for me. Speaking of swimming, I loved how focused the book was on swimming – it’s one of the only sports I happen to enjoy. Anyways back to the characters. Though I did like them, I didn’t feel they were particularly memorable, mostly because they lacked a bit of depth and development. They weren’t terrible, but just not up to the standards I have come to expect from Miranda Kenneally. I did love all the friendships here, and how supportive these kids of each other. It always makes me happy to see characters with good friends, being rocks to one another.

Coming Up For Air ended with a splendid epilogue that was an absolute precious gift to fans of the series – it was seriously PERFECT. While this installment wasn’t my favorite, I’m never not going to recommend this series. They are truly amazing coming of age stories with great characters. I’m excited to see where Miranda Kenneally takes readers next.

Have you been following this series? What’s your favorite YA sports romance books? What about books about swimming?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • A Novel Glimpse

    I was sad to hear this was the end for this series, too. 🙁 Luckily, I skipped a couple of books in the middle and can still go back and have more Hundred Oaks experiences.

    • Ooh lucky you!

  • Glad the epilogue was so fulfilling. I know Christy has mad love for this series. Lovely review.

    • I was thrilled with that epilogue. She’s right to have mad love for these books! 😉

  • I’m a big fan of friends to lovers stories, but that’s a bummer that the characters felt a little underdeveloped. I haven’t gotten a chance to read anything from Miranda Kenneally yet but I will have to keep this series in mind when I do. Glad you were still able to enjoy this one, even if it wasn’t your favorite in the series. And yay for good epilogues! lol Great review!

    • You should. And you can read these books as a standalone, so you can always just pick your favorite sport and go with that. 🙂

  • I struggle a lot with push-pull in romances. I’ve read one of Miranda Kenneally’s books. I think. I mean, I know I read one, but I can’t remember if I’ve read more. I liked it, but I wasn’t in love.

    Have you read The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting? That is YA paranormal romance with friends to lovers. I really liked it, but I didn’t continue with the series.

    • This may have been one of her earlier books. Her books got better after the 3rd one, imo!
      I have! I did quit it too though because it got triangley if I’m not mistaken.

  • I didn’t realize this was the last book either. Bummer. I enjoyed this one, but I had a few issues like you. It wasn’t the strongest or best in the series, but still worth reading. I did like the little Epilogue at the end. I wonder what Kenneally will do next?

    • I know! It’s sad. I’m not sure! I need to ask her and see if she’s willing to share any news.

  • I love friends to lovers stories too. I have this one I need to get to and hadn’t realized it was the last in the series either. Sorry it wasn’t your favorite but love a good epilogue! Great review!

    • The epilogue was adorable! I hope you enjoy this!

  • I didn’t realize this was the last book either until recently. I’m pretty bummed about this. These books have been such constant fun reads over the last few years. This one sounds great, and like you, swimming is the one sport I actually enjoy. Great review!

    • I know. It’s so sad. I can’t believe we’ve had 8 books already. I hope you love this one too.

  • SO. I read this book, and it is the ONLY book in the series I have read. Because swimming haha. I loved it, because well, again, swimming. And also, friends-to-lovers is such a fave of mine! And I related SO MUCH to Maggie on many levels- except maybe she was more confident than I ever was hahah. But overall, I adored it. But I also don’t have the other books to compare it too 😉

    NOW. As for swimming books! I feel like I should make a Goodreads list of them. YEP, you’ve inspired me. 😀

    • You need to pick up the rest of the books in this series! They are all really good. I love it when you can connect with the characters so much.
      Can’t wait for your list!

  • This is the second review I am reading for this book and it made me realize I have been missing out. I need to look into this series.

    • Nadene, yes you need to check it out. These books can be read as standalones too! 🙂

  • Angel @Angel Reads

    Ahh!! I am so so so excited to read this one. I love this series so much. I started it when I was maybe 14ish – so it means a lot to me. I might re-read the whole series again so it’s all fresh. Thanks for the review.