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
My content rating: Mature YA (Characters discuss sex, hook up, have sex, etc)
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?
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.