Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1st, 2012
Interest: Contemporary / Author
Source: ARC received from the publisher
Summary (From Goodreads): Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.
After her family’s scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.
Miranda Kenneally really knows how to hook a reader! Her debut, Catching Jordan, kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down, and I had the exact same experience reading her sophomore release, Stealing Parker.
I’m confident that my girls in class are going to love Stealing Parker. It’s more mature in nature than Catching Jordan in regards to sexuality, but it also deals with an important issue. Some may see the idea of a book involving a relationship with an older man who is also in a position of authority as taboo, but it’s not uncommon either. I knew plenty of girls in high school dating significantly older guys, although none of them worked for the school. The idea of that always made me uncomfortable, and it made me uncomfortable as a reader watching Parker enter dangerous territory with Brian. I think the girls in class will enjoy watching Parker flirt with Brian, but as things grow more serious, I think they’ll be hoping it ends. Miranda Kenneally did a fantastic job making the scenes with Brian tense as opposed to romantic. Nothing about their interactions are romanticized. Parker doesn’t think six years is that great of an age difference, and I remember thinking along those lines when I was her age too, but it doesn’t take long for her to realize that it’s actually a significant difference. In the grand scheme of things we know that six years isn’t a huge age gap, but when you’re in high school and your love interest is beyond that, the life experience alone makes six years a huge age gap.
Parker’s other love interest serves as a sweet and simple balance to her relationship with Brian. I’m not going to say who it’s with, but it’s absolutely adorable. This character made me mad at times, but he still won me over. I hope other readers cheer for him like I did!
Watching Parker grow as a character was really enjoyable. She’s quite naive in areas of love and relationships. The shocking revelation that her mom is a lesbian crushed Parker. It threw her world into a tailspin and rocked her self-image and thoughts about love. Her so-called friend, Laura, starts rumors that Parker’s a lesbian just like her mom. As a result Parker wants to do everything she can to distance herself from her mother. She loses weight so she doesn’t look “butch” and starts kissing lots of boys so people will know she isn’t a lesbian. I can’t imagine going through what Parker goes through. She’s completely lost which is what drives many of her poor decisions. I love a good mother-daughter storyline which Stealing Parker has and does well (it even made me tear up!). The only thing I didn’t need in this part of the story is Parker’s weight issues. The story would have been just as strong without them. Her concerns with calories and weight were more of a distraction because I didn’t know if it was going to lead to something more severe as the story progressed. I didn’t expect religion to play such a big role in Stealing Parker, but it works with the story. I have quite a few students who are active in their church, so I think they’ll enjoy that aspect of Parker’s story.re
I thoroughly enjoyed Stealing Parker because it invoked so many reactions in me as a reader. I was completely engaged and connected to the characters. I wanted to smack Laura, I wanted to hug Parker, and I wanted to laugh with Drew and Corndog. Miranda Kenneally tackles some heavy issues, but she does so with ease and charm. I wish her next book, Things I Can’t Forget, came out sooner!