Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally: Review of the Final Hundred Oaks Hurrah!

July 3, 2017 Coyer, Reviews 14 ★★★★

Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally: Review of the Final Hundred Oaks Hurrah!Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #8
Also in this series: Catching Jordan
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on July 4th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports & Recreation
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: Mature YA (Characters discuss sex, hook up, have sex, etc)
My rating:
4 Stars

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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My Take copy3

I actually didn’t realize when I started reading that this was the final Hundred Oaks book. In fact, it wasn’t until I got to the epilogue and read an update on many of our favorite past characters that I realized that Kenneally was wrapping the series up with this one. I’m sad to see the series go, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read these books! (By the way, they can all be read as standalones, so if you haven’t dived into the series yet, feel free to jump in anywhere.)

What Fed My Addiction:

  • Feel-good reading. This is one of those romances that just makes me happy, you know? Kenneally always manages to tug at my heartstrings and make me swoon, and the book feels like perfect summer reading when you just need a little pick-me-up! There are all sorts of little details that Kenneally handles so well (one example—I love that she casually throws church into her book without making the story revolve around religious tensions).
  • Friends who become more. I’ve always loved the trope of best friends who eventually become something more, and this book was no exception. Levi and Maggie are perfect together because they know each other so well and they already love and respect each other. The romance is almost secondary to the connection that they already have (which isn’t to say that it’s not swoonworthy—it is!). Of course, this also means that when things go a bit sour (which, of course, they do for a while), the hurt is that much deeper. I kind of wanted to strangle Levi at one point in the book, but once Maggie forgave him I managed to do it too.  🙂
  • Swimming! Swimming is the one sport that I kind of, sort of get because two of my kids are on a club team. Even though they’re both new to the sport and they’re nowhere close to the competitive level of the characters, I still felt like I could relate to the swimming talk a bit more than I usually can to other sports talk in books. And I feel like lots of people at least have some frame of reference when they’re talking about Olympic trials, etc, since we just had the Olympics last summer.

Take It Or Leave It:

  • Casual Sex? So, at first I was a little bit worried that this book was going to be a little too liberal when it comes to sex for me—that maybe the idea would be that Maggie actually needed to practice hooking up and having sex in order to fit in with her peers or at college. I find that message a little off-putting. But that really wasn’t the central theme at all—in fact, Maggie comes to realize that she doesn’t want to experience those things with just anyone. She wants a connection with the person. So while Maggie’s overall attitude about sex is a bit more casual than I thought I’d appreciate at first, in the end, I felt like there was a healthy balance—the idea that a girl can choose what she wants for herself but that she certainly shouldn’t feel pressured to go at any certain pace or have a certain level of “acceptable” experience.

As always, Kenneally had me hooked from almost the first page with this book. With complex characters that are easy to love, this is the type of romance that leaves me smiling. I give it an easy 4/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

About the Author

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.

Author Links:
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14 Responses to “Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally: Review of the Final Hundred Oaks Hurrah!”

  1. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    YAY I am so glad you liked this one too! I hadn’t read ANY of the books in the series, but because it is swimming, I obviously had to read this one! And I LOVED it. I was a little worried about the casual sex part too- just because Maggie was so young, AND it was her first experience, but like you said, the story didn’t really go that way. Which I was really happy about too. Great review!!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yeah, I was a bit afraid that the idea was going to be that Maggie was “too naive” and needed to have sex with a random guy in order to fit in. I was very happy that wasn’t the actual message. And of course I knew you’d love this one! 🙂

  2. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    So happy to see your positive review of this one, Nicole! I’ve been excited for Coming Up for Air for a while now. I’ve actually only read one other by Kenneally and have been meaning to read more from her ever since. I really enjoy to friends-to-more trope. I had no idea this was the final book in the series, though. 🙁

  3. Sam@WLABB

    I really enjoyed this one too. I was never a swimmer, but I loved learning all that swim-culture and I was really inspired by their dedication to the sport. The ending was everything for me as a Hundred Oaks fan. It was bittersweet seeing it all come back to the first couple. Great review.

  4. danielle hammelef

    I enjoy reading books like this in which characters are involved in sports. I loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe and want to read this one and others now too.

  5. Krysta @ Pages Unbound

    Wow, it seems like everyone is reading this book! I have to admit, though, that the premise doesn’t appeal to me. Even when I was in high school I didn’t understand why people felt pressure to have boyfriends or go to prom or have the “typical high school experience.” I just did what I wanted, not what I thought I was “supposed” to. This is why I have never really related to contemporary YA. I don’t get why everything is so overly important and dramatic to the characters. No one asked you to the dance? Ask them yourselves or go with friends. Problem solved. At least in my mind.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      To clarify, Maggie hadn’t felt the need to have a boyfriend before. She had dedicated herself to swimming so entirely that it hadn’t really been an issue. Still, when she was about to go off to college, she started to feel a little naive in comparison to some of the people there she met. Her original impetus was that, but it turned into something deeper with her best friend. I think the overall message was pretty positive.

  6. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    You know, I didn’t know anywhere near enough about this book it turns out because I didn’t know about the casual sex thing at all but it certainly sounds like it gets an important message across. Not that casual sex isn’t ok, or even that you should be having sex, but instead that it’s totally your own choice and so that sounds good. I will be moving this book up my TBR list.

  7. Jen

    Okay, I may just be the only one left who hasn’t read a book in this series lol! But I saw that my library got almost all of the e-books in the Hundred Oak Series, and I’m SO excited! They sound like the perfect summer book!

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