Coming Up For Air (Hundred Oaks, #8)

Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

First Lines: When I’m not in the pool, I’m counting the minutes until I can dive back in, so most of the time my bushy, light-brown hair is wet and reeks of chlorine. This is the story of my life.

After reading a few heavier books in a row (specifically lots of fantasy), I needed a palate cleanser. I needed a simple story with lovable characters and I knew Miranda Kenneally was the way to go. (Also, don’t let the fact that this is the 8th book in a series fool you–they’re more like loosely connected stories that happen to take place in the same town.)

All of Maggie’s focus should be on swimming. As a senior in high school, she’s got a swimming scholarship lined up already, but what she doesn’t have is an Olympic tryout yet. Her best friend, Levi, does, though. He’s her biggest cheerleader, so she’s not mad about that, but it’s just more pressure. When Maggie goes on a college visit, though, she suddenly realizes how much of the “normal” high school experience she’s been missing out on by being in the pool. And it’s time to change that. So, first up is making out with a guy. Unfortunately, the only available guy that she trusts is, well, Levi. On one hand, it’s perfect: they already spend tons of time together and are comfortable with each other. But as Maggie begins falling for her best friend, she needs to decide what’s worth sacrificing to make things work.

Ok, this was cute. I’ve read all the books in this series over the years and I have absolutely adored that they focus so heavily on girls playing different sports, from football to horse racing to running to swimming. I think there’s a real lack of athletic girls in YA contemp, so this series is amazing.

This story is definitely one of the racier books in the series (and I don’t mean that in an athletic way), but it kind of worked? It was done in a way that felt authentic and interesting rather than just explicit. And it found the humor in it, which I think helped a lot too. I really enjoyed the humor. But yeah, maybe don’t hand this to a twelve-year-old?

Maggie and Levi are interesting characters. They’re both so dedicated to their sport and Maggie doesn’t really mind at all that she spends so many hours swimming. She loves it. She just wishes that, like her other friends, she could make out with boys and maybe go to a dance or something sometimes. She’s maybe not as deep of a character as I was hoping, but still cute. And Levi was a good counterbalance to Maggie and a loyal friend. The dynamic between the two was great.

I like Kenneally’s stories because I think they’re relatable and cute and light. And it’s so good to see some of the old characters come back in this book, especially Jordan. 

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