Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Book Review)

Posted September 14, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Book Review)Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 1, 2012
Pages: 242
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
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2 Stars

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?

*NOTE: I read this book without reading its companion, Catching Jordan,  and was totally fine. There were no spoilers or confusing moments. Jordan and Sam do get mentioned, but it’s minimal.

I witnessed all the raving reviews for Miranda’s Catching Jordan, and was very excited to find this companion novel at ALA. I got to meet Miranda, who is extremely nice and fun to chat with. I wish I loved her book as much as I loved her, but that’s ok. I always worry that, after meeting an author, if I do not end up liking their book that it will make them feel like I did not like them. That’s totally not it. The author is great. I just did not like the book, and I’m really sad it turned out that way. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. It is brought up many times in this book that Parker is a good Christian girl. Religion is actually a very big theme in the book. Since I am also a good Christian girl, it bothered me how many times Parker went against her beliefs, and then got upset that her prayers were not being answered. She wasn’t even trying. And it’s not that I mind that she went against her beliefs. I totally get the whole “question your religion” thing. It happens a lot with everyone. It bothered me that she continually did it, though, and then got mad at others for her choices. I’m not going to go deeper into this point, just because I don’t want to spawn a religious discussion or anything.

2. I didn’t like Parker very much. Of course, a part of that is because of my first point, but I also because she came off as being a broken individual with no real desire to put the effort into piecing herself back together. There was a lot of moping and continuous bad decisions that ended up making her feel worse about herself. PLUS to compensate for her mother becoming a lesbian, Parker has decided to create a reputation for herself that marks her as a slut who “hooks up” with everyone. She’s not a strong character, and she’s not even one that young girls can look up to.

3. Brian, the assistant coach that Parker has a thing for, is completely unlikeable. I get that he’s attractive, and that getting attention for an older man is appealing and exciting. But he’s going against school rules to be with Parker, plus he is walking a very thin line legally as well. And for nothing. He’s totally using her, and she’s totally letting him. You can tell that very early on, so don’t worry. I haven’t spoiled anything. Really, this whole storyline just bugged me. I understand that age does not always matter, but when you’re dealing with the LAW and you’ve got an adult and a minor, it’s just not something I enjoy reading about.

4. I liked the supporting characters on the baseball team, and her best friend Drew. Corndog/Will (the third side in this semi love triangle) is really sweet I absolutely loved him from the very beginning.

5. I appreciated that this book tackled some heavy issues, like homosexuality. I enjoyed watching Parker and her family go through the healing process, and I really liked Parker’s mom.

6. This book is too graphic for younger readers. There were some pretty steamy scenes that I wish had been watered down more. (I mean, we read about specific body parts and descriptions of what those body parts are up to.)

Overall, the elements of this story just did not gel with me. There were so many names and things going on all over the place. I didn’t really like either of the main characters, and the supporting ones were not given a ton of attention. When all was said and done, I wasn’t even very satisfied with the ending. It was very anti-climactic. I wanted to love this one a lot. I really did. I’m still intrigued by all the hype surrounding Catching Jordan, so hopefully I enjoy that one more. :)

2 Stars
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4 responses to “Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Book Review)

  1. aww I’m sad you didn’t enjoy this as much as you hoped for! From your intro paragraph I don’t know if you read catching jordan or not but you should check that out.

    Also, I know how difficult it is to tackle religious themes in books but I think Miranda made Parker as she is with all faults because lets face it, none of us are perfect. Even good religious people tend to mess up a lot. Still, I get how annoyed you got because of that point.

    great review!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  2. I have to disagree. I thought Stealing Parker was a very strong novel, and MK brought up a lot of difficult but realistic subjects.

    As for the religion aspect, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I wish I knew more people who were open with questioning their religion. And I could see why Parker was confused with how she grew up, how this community reacted to what happened to her family, and how her life was sort of out of control.

    As for Brian and Parker… I really liked Brian at first, and I could see what Parker found appealing about him. I think he was confused by his feelings too, and I’m not justifying what happens as the story unfolds but I was in two similar relationships when I was younger and at times, I felt these scenes were so realistic I had to close the book. For the record, I’m going to say mine were both respectful relationships despite the age gap.

    Honestly, I don’t think Parker’s mom had much of a choice when it came to being a lesbian. She was struggling with her feelings through her entire marriage and finally decided that being who she was was important for her own happiness even if it went treading through muddy waters to get there. I applaud her courage and bravery AND SHE NEVER ONCE LET HER KIDS KNOW SHE DIDN’T LOVE THEM. That was number 1. Everyone else had to really fall in line, and there was pressure coming from own sides to deal with that.

    Not to mention, it’s nice from a YA perspective, to see that adults in these stories are still people with their own issues and problems and life isn’t just about the kids.

    I thought this book brought up so many great discussion in my own head about sexuality, making difficult choices, and facing the facts. I wish more authors would write something as raw and thought provoking.

  3. Aww, too bad this one didn’t work for you! I was one of the few people who didn’t enjoy Catching Jordan, I just wasn’t a fan of the writing and I didn’t like the main characters or the love story.
    Because of all the buzz, I was thinking of reading this one, but since we usually have similar tastes, I think I’ll skip it.
    I hope your next read will be better!

  4. oh no, I’m sorry you didn’t really enjoy this one! Having the main characters be unlikeable can be really frustrating but I’m glad the supporting ones were great. I haven’t read Catching Jordan but sooort of thought about it, even though it doesn’t really seem like my kind of book. Still, thanks for your honest review. :)