Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks High, Book #2 (companion to Catching Jordan - could technically be read as a standalone)
Published: October 1st, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
242 pages (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Bought
Warning: May contain spoilers
Read my review of Catching Jordan
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.
Stealing Parker had all the charm, humour, and originality of its companion, Catching Jordan. Miranda Kenneally has a knack for telling stories that are honest and real, and that evoke a wide array of emotions.
I absolutely adored Parker. She was one of the most relatable, authentic characters I’ve come across, and at times, my heart absolutely broke for her. She thought that being a good Christian meant being perfect and never sinning. Then when she did something wrong she was wracked with guilt, even though most of the time it was just normal teenager stuff. She wanted so badly to be a good person, and she was, but all she could see was how the church and God would see her. I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and hug her tight and tell her everything was going to be okay.
I was aware of the religious aspect of this book going in, and I was worried it might affect my overall impression of the book. I’m not a religious person, and I tend to avoid books with religious themes, but after reading Catching Jordan, nothing would have stopped me from reading Stealing Parker. Parker’s Christianity is a big part of the book, but it was done in a way that didn’t bother me. Her letters to God, her questions, doubts, and anger were so achingly real it didn’t matter that I don’t have the same beliefs - I believed in her. I was angry at the hypocrisy around her, but thrilled and even proud when she learned to rise above it and realized that Christianity doesn’t have to be black and white, and it doesn’t have to be practiced in a strict, specific way. I give Kenneally huge kudos for taking a subject I normally stay away from and making it something that was enjoyable to read about.
Then there were the boys in the book - Parker’s best friend Drew, her rival-turned-friend Corndog aka Will, and Parker’s crush Brian, who also happens to be the new coach at school. I loved Parker’s interactions with all three guys - they were alternately hilarious, touching, maddening, sweet, and heartbreaking. I honestly couldn’t imagine how things were going to turn out, but I liked that. In the end, the romance didn’t come easy, it wasn’t insta-love, and I loved that Parker learned who she was and what it meant to be herself before she ended up with a boy.
Refreshingly original, bold, laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, and touching, with stand-out characters that won’t soon be forgotten, Stealing Parker has bumped Miranda Kenneally to the top of my ‘new favourite authors’ list.
Have you read Stealing Parker or Catching Jordan? What did you think?
How do you feel about books with religious themes?