Release Date: Oct. 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.
After a 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.
I really didn’t want to use such a pun in these circumstances, but I can’t help it—Miranda Kenneally has knocked it out of the park with her sophomore novel, Stealing Parker. This is a contemporary that’s about more than romance. It’s about choices, forgiveness, and being true to yourself. And… yeah, okay, there’s also romance, and it’s both sweet and smoldering.
After her mother ran away from her family to be with another woman, Parker Shelton felt the need to prove how different she really was. She quit playing softball, lost 20 pounds, and started making out with just about any guy who would show her attention. Her best friend Drew signs her up as manager for the baseball team, where she meets fresh-out-of-college-and-super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot assistant coach Brian Hoffman. Ignoring the scathing comments of her former friends and teammates as well as the members of the baseball team (especially academic rival Will “Corndog” Whitfield), she decides to go after what she wants, even when it’s very much off limits. In the process, she gets more than she bargained for.
Parker is flawed, which makes her story believable, honest, and in all other ways worth your time. She is aware that going after the baseball coach is wrong, despite the fact that there’s not an enormous age difference and that he obviously reciprocates the feelings. The reader knows it’s not okay, but they get along so well and they have such great chemistry. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I thoroughly enjoyed following Parker through her journey of Brian vs Corndog. She makes so many valid arguments for both sides, and they are truly teenage girl arguments. Parker reminds me of me actually, and my friends from school, in countless ways. Though you may never have experienced this, her struggle is universal. However, my favorite relationship here isn’t between Parker and her love interests at all. No, I’m totally Team BFF Drew. I adore their Harry Potter movie marathons, specifically their commentary. Any time there’s a reference to Oliver Wood, we all become winners.
If I can bring up one teeny nitpick, it would be poor Will’s nickname. Corndog? Seriously? I just wrote this whole paragraph about how this is the silliest nickname I’ve ever heard, but then I remembered: I went to school with a boy we dubbed Cornflake. Who am I to judge? At least Will sounds like he can carry a crazy name like that.
In all seriousness, Stealing Parker touches on loads of hot-button topics facing teens today— struggles with sexuality, identities, and religion, just to name a few—but it’s never heavy-handed. It’s all presented as teens see it, which is refreshing. Kenneally weaves another great tale around another strong heroine at Hundred Oaks High, and she can write the sexytimes like no one else. I’m just glad I can go along for the ride. I liked Catching Jordan but I loved Stealing Parker.