Monday, June 26, 2017

Coming Up for Air - Review

Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks, # 8)

By: Miranda Kenneally

Expected Publication: July 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--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've been all over the place in my feelings for this series, but one thing has been pretty constant. I love the sports themes throughout each of these books (minus Jesse's Girl). And Coming Up for Air was no different. I've enjoyed how each book has covered a different sports. Miranda Kenneally does a great job of having the sport be such a large part of each book without taking completely over. Coming Up for Air covers swimming.

Maggie and Levi are both competitive swimmers, but they're not just on their high school teams only. They're striving for a chance to swim in the Olympics. And swimming at this level requires nothing but the utmost commitment. I loved that Maggie and Levi's friends are all committed to their own sports so they make a great team. None of them get angry because the others aren't there for them when they're busy with sports things, yet they all make an effort to continue to meet up on Friday nights--the only night they all have off--and hang out. Maggie and Levi are best friends and Hunter and Georgia are best friends. But they are all friends with each other. I enjoyed how they were able to be there for each other in unique ways but also call each other on their crap when need be.

Maggie hasn't had any time to have any kind of boyfriend or relationship because she's been so focused on swimming. This means she doesn't have any emotional experience or physical experience. The description makes it seem like Maggie makes out with Levi one time and then discovers that she has feelings for Levi. I don't want to spoil too much, but that's a bit prettier than the actual events. Maggie feels like some physical experience will give her the confidence she needs to go into college. Maggie's obsession with the physical isn't my preference, but it did ring true for what I feel like teenagers these days can relate to. I particularly laughed out loud over one scene in the beginning of Coming Up for Air because while I've never been in the situation Maggie finds herself in, I'm sure many of girls have.

I do, however, have a soft spot for best friends turned more stories. And even though the emphasis on the physical isn't my favorite, I very much enjoyed the building of Maggie and Levi's relationship. Stories where a couple has a physical encounter without any emotional foundation often get on my nerves, but Maggie and Levi have plenty of emotional foundation even if they never thought of each other in a romantic way until they moved their relationship into the physical realm.

Coming Up for Air had plenty of other aspects to factor in as well. There's the competitive swimming, practices, meets, Maggie's nemesis. Hunter's relationship with Shelby (Jack's younger sister from Racing Savannah). Georgia's baggage from being cheated on in the past. The quad going off to college/boot camp after graduation. And probably even more pieces that make Coming Up for Air a complete story.

Favorite quotes:

-He knows I want to make out, right? Not read aloud to each other.

-"Most people are so busy thinking about themselves they aren't worried about other people. It's human to think that everyone is always watching everything we do, but they aren't."

-"If you aren't comfortable enough to tell a guy what you want, you shouldn't be in bed with him."

-"By hooking up without the commitment, you set your own value short."

-"I can't let what other people do affect me."

I do have to say that I was up and down with the pop-culture references. It's a pet-peeve of mine to outright mention name brands, celebrities, current TV shows, etc because I feel like it automatically dates a book. However, I do love little nuggets that may or may not have been references to pop-culture. Like there's a reference to a cheerleader in a "tiny black and blue uniform that says Ravens" who happens to be a huge flirt at one of Georgia's cheerleading competition. Could this be a reference to Brooke or Rachel from One Tree Hill? Black and blue cheerleading uniform that says Ravens? I think it's highly likely, but it isn't spelled out. Perfect reference Miranda Kenneally. However, she turns around and mentioned a couple using Maggie's parents to plan them a "Game of Thrones-themed wedding." I guess this could go both ways for either the book or the TV show. For some reason, the book references don't bother me as much as TV references because books are a bit timeless. But even with her reference to The Raven Boys, Divergent, and some warlock book that I'm not familiar with, I just felt like these references were too much. (Also a reference is included to the movie Tangled.)

Coming Up for Air was a multi-layered book that had me blowing through the pages. While all of the aspects weren't my favorite, as Miranda Kenneally books go, Coming Up for Air was definitely a winner for me. Maggie and Levi were both likeable even when I wanted to bop them each in the head. I loved the swimming pieces that surround the story. Coming Up for Air gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Coming Up for Air? What did you think? Let me know!

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