Book Review: Coming Up For Air
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 4, 2017
Page Count: 320
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary
I made my first trip to Hundred Oaks in 2013 and have been in love with the inhabitants ever since. Who knew a small Tennessee town on the outskirts of Nashville would hold my attention for four years and carve permanent marks on my heart? I am sad this appears to be the last Hundred Oaks novel. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to let go, but the epilogue in this one helped. Jordan has always been my favorite female character in the series, so I liked seeing what her future held. She also plays a role in this novel which made me smile. I'm not sure I can ever look at banana without laughing.
Nostalgia aside, this novel was another strong one for me. I found myself relating to Maggie as she navigates her Senior year of high school. She doesn't feel that she truly fits in anywhere besides in the pool and with her small group of friends. I was never one of those popular sorts who had a ton of friend groups. Like Maggie, I was a creature of habit and tended to surround myself with a smaller group of friends as I wasn't overly confident and venturing beyond the familiar was a frightening possibility. I was always the introvert who questioned everything and didn't feel confident with relationships. Maggie goes through these same moments as she is in the precipice of moving from high school to college in California, thousands of miles away from her family and friends.
Maggie knows that going to Berkley is the best decision for her because it has an amazing swim program. If she wants to make it to the Olympics some day, she needs to continue to push herself in the pool and surround herself with the best competition. During the course of the novel, Maggie will learn a lot about herself and her goals. She will find that she is far stronger than she could have ever imagined.
In addition to Maggie's ruthless drive concerning her swimming, things are further complicated by her desire to not leave for college never having any major experience with dating. Rather than make things complicated as a relationship expiration date is imminent, she decides the best course of action is to learn from her best friend, Levi. She trusts him and knows he will always keep her safe. Maggie never intends for a few stolen kisses to morph into so much more. She can't decide if having a real relationship with Levi is worth the potential of losing him as her best friend. To make matters worse, Levi has made it perfectly clear that he is not interested in having a girlfriend. He doesn't want anything serious that will distract him from swimming, going to Texas for college, and making it to the Olympics.
Friendships turning into something more is never without complications. It can often go badly leaving both parties not only heartbroken, but often destroying the friendship in the process. I won't tell you how things go down with Maggie and Levi, but don't expect it to be all sunshine and smooth sailing.
I'm still sad to see the Hundred Oaks series come to an end, but sending it off with Maggie was a good choice. She is making major transitions in her life as the author will be doing as I hope she is busy crafting a new series with a new cast of lovable characters. I wish that I could have lingered over this one, but in true Hundred Oaks fashion, I read voraciously. These novels never seems to last long enough for my taste and I was pulled back to real life far too quickly.
One Last Gripe: There are some pretty explicit moments in this one. I'm more of a reading prude, so I could have done with less detail.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved getting to see Maggie's confidence bloom.
First Sentence: 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.
Favorite Character: Maggie
Least Favorite Character: Roxy
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?