Ever since she dipped her toe into a pool, Maggie has been obsessed with being the water. Driven to be one of the best swimmers in her state and country, Maggie is training hard for her final year of high school and her college career as well as a shot at the United States Olympic team.
But in between keeping her grades up and swimming laps, Maggie can’t help but wonder if she’s missing out on something. Namely, dating, guys, relationships and the logistics of making out. As Maggie ponders this situation, she begins to see her best friend and fellow swimmer, Levi in a new light. So Maggie proposes that Levi teach her the basics of making out before she graduates from high school.
What could possibly go wrong?
With Coming Up for Air Miranda Kenneally is at the top of her game. She captures not only Maggie’s drive to compete but also captures her confusion and anxiety at trying to figure out the world of dating and that her feelings for Levi may run deeper than just friendship. Maggie, Levi and the rest of the characters in the story feel realistic and authentic.
Set in a shared universe with several other of Kenneally’s previous novels (there are great Easter eggs for long-time fans), Coming Up for Air did what I didn’t think it could do — top her superlative Run, Annie, Run. It could be that like Maggie, I enjoy swimming (though I’m no where as strong or competitive a swimmer as she is!). It’s nice to see a young adult romance that rings true on every level and doesn’t include supernatural powers or sparkly vampires.
In short, this is a wonderful book by a great author.
A word of warning to parents of young readers. Kenneally’s teenage characters feel, act and talk in authentic ways. This means there is frank conversations about sex and there’s a couple of instances of salty language thrown in as well. But it doesn’t feel gratuitous and is more about world and character building than shock value.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.