Review of Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally

Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally

To be published by Sourcebooks on June 27, 2017

Source: eARC from publisher for review

Plot Summary of Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

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?

Review of Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally

I think the thing I love the most about Miranda Kenneally's YA writing is her fearlessness. 

She's never afraid to tackle subjects that many YA authors shy away from: abortion, coming out as gay, class differences, and sex. (Yes, there are plenty of YA books with sex, but many of those feature romance novel sex, the kind of sex where everything is effortlessly perfect and wonderful.) 

This book tackles two other tricky subjects: female friendship and female ambition. And, again, I loved the way this book took on those topics in a fearless and non-airbrushed way.

Maggie is a competitive swimmer who has little time for anything besides schoolwork and swimming. 

She's headed to Berkeley in the fall and she's curious about sex. After a disastrous (and completely hilarious) encounter with a random guy, she convinces her close friend Levi to agree to hook up with her for practice. 

I've seen this trope before in Regency Romance, where the spinster gets the rake to give her lessons in love and of course they fall for each other. I liked the trope here; it reminded me a little of Jordan and Sam and the way they transitioned from friendship to romance.

I also loved the way the book looked at a trope that isn't always represented in YA:female friends-to-frenemies. 

Maggie has a former friend and now rival, Roxy. At first Maggie supported Roxy, but now they're fierce competitors and Roxy isn't all that nice. In fact, she's pretty mean. I'd like to say that women aren't like that but ... I can't.  I've had these weird friendships gone bad myself, and I still can't figure out what happened and if I could have done anything differently.

Finally, I loved the way this book looked at ambition. Maggie wants to be the best swimmer she can and doesn't want anything to stand in the way of that. But she also wants a full, balanced life. Isn't that the eternal female dilemma - how to have time for the relationships (romantic, friendship, family) that give our lives meaning without giving up on our dreams.

This book was a wonderful ending to the Hundred Oaks series - loved the cameos by Jordan and Sam and the mentions of Jesse and the mentions of the Racing Savannah characters. And the epilogue of this book was the icing on the cake!

If you haven't read these companion books, I highly recommend trying them! 


  1. I have yet to read a book in this series and I have no idea what I've been waiting for. I'm super intrigued about this friend to frenemies trope you mentioned. Definitely something somewhat common in real life but you don't see too much in reading. I should check my library and see if I can binge read them all this summer. :)

  2. I've only read one by Kenneally so far (Breathe Annie Breathe) and I keep telling myself I'm going to pick up more from her. I love the sound of this one - especially the fact that Maggie is a young woman who already seems to have a good head on her shoulders.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  3. It sounds like this has a usual trope and is the usual kind of romance... but then at the same time it also has something new and fresh about it, that makes it intriguing to read. I love the sound of ambition. This is right up my alley!

  4. Looks like a fun read and not afraid to tackle some real issues. And a good summery read too. The characters sound great (and always nice when favorites from other books make a cameo).

  5. I finished this last night and I agree with all your points. I loved it! It was a bit steamier than usual though don't you think??

    For What It's Worth

  6. I'm so glad to know you enjoyed this book! I'll be reading it next week, so I hope I enjoy it, too!


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