Series: Hundred Oaks

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Coming Up for Air by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #8
Also in this series: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7)
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 1st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
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four-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?

It’s pretty amazing that this book is the eighth book in the Hundred Oaks series and I’m just as invested in these characters, from that high school as I was in the beginning. Sure, I’ve liked some books more than others but I’m still excited to read these books as if I’d read them for the first time.

This book follows Maggie and Levi. Best friends turned more than best friends. They’re competitive swimmers that grew up together, are always in each other’s pockets and with their schedules as jam packed as they are, they don’t really have much time for friends and relationships and what not. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem because Levi finds the time to hook up with girls and Maggie is too tired for anything more than swim and her weekly night out with her best friends. All of that is enough for Maggie until she goes on a college visit trip and becomes curious. She doesn’t have any experience with boys and now that the idea is in her head, she wants to hook up with someone. She wants to kiss and fool around and really, she wants more than just swimming.

Once that is decided, Maggie tries it on her own with disastrous results so she figures that she needs someone she trusts to help her out and who better than her bestie, Levi?

Levi is not excited about delving into this because Maggie is important to him and he doesn’t have the time and doesn’t want to risk what they have over kissing and hooking up. He’s scared of all of the normal things that will happen with other girls, things he doesn’t want to risk with Maggie but because he can’t say no to her, he goes along. He helps her out. They kiss. They make out. They learn from each other until things start to really heat up.

Maggie and Levi were adorable on their own and I really loved their friendship. They had a solid foundation as friends and I was glad that they were able to get back to that friendship once the waters were tested and their bond was shaken a little. Kenneally does a great job of telling both of their sides and helping them figure their stuff out and she does it all so easily. Not once was I bored. Not once was I frustrated with either Maggie or Levi and I really enjoyed seeing them come into their own while not losing what was between them. Sure, it wasn’t easy and their relationship wasn’t perfect but it was still pretty awesome and I really enjoyed being along for their journey.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted July 14, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #7
Also in this series: Coming Up for Air
Published by Sourcebooks
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school. Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

Praise for Jesse's Girl:"A a fun, sexy, suck-me-in read."-Katie McGarry, author of Nowhere But Here and Pushing the Limits"An absorbing story...highly enjoyable."-Kirkus"Inspires as it entertains."-Publishers Weekly

This is how I felt after reading this book:

Miranda Kenneally wrote another fantastic contemporary YA book that I enjoyed a great deal. If she wanted to write nothing but Hundred Oaks books for the rest of her life, I would be quite happy. I haven’t been reading too many contemporary YA books lately but I can’t seem to stay away from certain authors and series and this author and this series is one of them.

This book follows Taylor Lukems after she was kicked out of her private school and starts school (and her new life) at Hundred Oaks High School. It’s her senior year and having to start all over at a new school is not going easy for her. It’s crazy how one lie could throw her entire life into a tailspin. Her Senator father’s campaign is thrown off course, she’s having trouble fitting in with her new soccer team and everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

The one thing that is different with this book than any of the other books in this series is that I thought the story revolved less around the couple and more around Taylor’s problems. I was totally okay with that though because I was interested in seeing her work through her problems and figure her shit out. She really comes into her own in this book and I was glad to have been a part of her journey. She’s smart and she’s strong and you really see her grow as a character, which I really enjoyed.

As much as I was okay with the romance being in the background (more so than I remember in the other books), it would have been nice to get more Ezra cause I liked him and wanted to know him more. I liked that he had that crush on his best friend’s little sister and I liked the way that he handled going about dating her. I also liked Taylor’s brother’s attitude toward his best friend dating his little sister.

There was much to like about reading this book. I liked Taylor, I liked the friends she made. I liked seeing the old characters again and I’m already looking forward to the next Hundred Oaks book. I can’t wait to dig into that sucker.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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