January 2, 2013

Latest Read: Stealing Parker

Here are the basics ...
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally
Publication date: Oct. 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Thank you Estelle for letting me borrow!

Summary: Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her. Now Parker wants a new life. So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty? But how far is too far before she loses herself completely? (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: Parker Shelton's life hasn't been the same since her mother's secret came out and caused a scandal in her small town. Her church does nothing but judge her family and almost all her friends have ditched her. Her own family is a mess. So how does Parker deal? She loses a ton of weight, quits the softball team (even though she loves it) and starts kissing a bunch of boys. To prove she's nothing like her mom and in a way, to keep guys at arms length. It's all fun and one-time hook ups but never a real relationship. Then she meets the new cute baseball coach when she becomes the manager for the team and she starts reconsidering her stance.

Honestly, I wasn't that invested in the romance-heavy aspects of the book. Because the strength of this story comes from Parker as a protagonist and all the different issues the author manages to explore. I was really surprised by that. Parker's upbringing as a Christian plays a huge part in her life.  I can't remember the last time I read a book that dealt with her questions about God and faith in a way that felt so real. I mean, it's sad to say but I could totally see a church acting like the one described. Yes, it's a stereotype but it's one that is sometimes true. I related to Parker's struggles with religion and loved listening to her inner monologues and conversations with God. She's clearly going through a difficult time in her life and there aren't many people she can count on. But we do get introduced to her best friend Drew, a couple guys from the baseball team and her family, who all play important parts as the story progresses. These characters are intertwined with the other issues explored throughout the plot, like sexuality, dysfunctional families, bullying and just trying to figure out who you are at a very confusing time.  The author definitely knows how to come up with authentic, strong female characters that you can relate to, even if you've never been in their shoes. And I really responded to Parker's voice. I have no doubt that anyone else who decides to read the book, will feel the same way.

(Minor) reservations: The romance was a little predictable and I didn't quite root for this couple as strongly as I did Jordan and Henry in Catching Jordan. But like I said, this book is a lot deeper and complex and deals with things that I found to be far more compelling.

Do I recommend?: If you're already a fan of Miranda Kenneally's work, you'll want to read this. And if you've never read any of her books, I highly suggest you do. Each of her books have managed to surprise me in different, refreshing ways. I can't wait to see what she does with her third book.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I really should read Catching Jordan, huh? Miranda sounds like she can write an incredible story, and I look forward to experiencing her work.

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  2. I have never read any of Kenneally's books, so I think this means I need to drop my life and read Catching Jordan which I have on my shelf and Stealing Parker which I have on my Kindle. Also I love the whole strong, authentic female character vibe. YES, I am going to read these books before March.

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  3. I'm a bit torn on this romance, because I like Will more than Sam, but I liked Jordan better than Parker, so that sort of ends up being the same for me. On the whole, I like Catching Jordan a bit better, because the whole fooling around with an authority figure thing is just so skeevy.

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