Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Stealing Parker

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Stealing Parker

Stealing Parker
by Miranda Kenneally
Expected publication date: October 1, 2012
by Sourcebooks Fire

Source: ARC via Around the World ARC Tours





My summary: Parker Shelton is a straight-A student and star softball player. But when Parker's mom shocks her family and their conservative community by falling in love with a woman, Parker's entire life goes off the rails. As Parker begins to question everything she thought she knew about love and faith, she begins eyeing the new baseball coach, a twenty-something guy with more than a few issues of his own.

My take: I loved Catching Jordan, the companion book to this one, but I think I might love Stealing Parker even more. I have a soft spot for angry characters, male or female. Parker's angry at her mom, at the church members and former friends who now shun her, and at God. As a result, she starts doing some stuff that is Really Not a Good Idea. While I found that hard to read about, I didn't feel it was done for shock value, but to probe some difficult questions. As a person of faith, what do you do when you feel yourself losing that faith? What do you do when you discover that someone you love isn't the person you thought they were? What do you do when you find yourself not acting like the person you want to be?

Stealing Parker was a darker, deeper book than Catching Jordan. I loved the fact that Miranda Kenneally wasn't afraid to ask a lot of tough life questions and to let Parker go to the very edge of her own moral boundaries, then stop and take a look at what she was doing. I love books that are able to incorporate themes of religion and faith in a way that's nuanced and non-preachy.

But Stealing Parker is not all seriousness and hand-wringing. It's funny. Heart-breaking. Inspiring. I was thrilled that some of the characters from Catching Jordan make cameo appearances! And then there's Corndog. Never, ever, ever would I have predicted that I would come to love a character named Corndog.

Then there are some things I love that I'm discovering are a hallmark of Miranda Kenneally's writing:

Great male-female friendships
I loved the friendship between Jordan and Henry, and I love the friendship between Parker and Drew. Some of the conversations they have are laugh-until-you-cry hilarious.

Themes of dreams and being true to yourself
I loved the way that Stealing Parker acknowledges the fact that everyone has dreams and that sometimes those dreams don't work out the way you hope. People disappoint you. Sometimes you disappoint yourself. So you pick yourself up and try to find your way again.

I'm a huge, huge fan of this author and can't wait to read whatever she writes next!

42 comments:

  1. At first I was thinking "this book kind of sounds like a bummer" with Parker getting in to some bad stuff so I'm glad you mentioned that it is balanced by some moments of levity. Much as I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy Kenneally's writing, I definitely couldn't handle anything that was non-stop dark.

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    1. No, this is not one of those "I hate my mom and my life sucks" kind of books. Parker deals with some really weighty issues but the book is not depressing at all.

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  2. I honestly can't wait to pick this book up. Like you, I love the relationship between the males and females in Miranda's books too!

    great review

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. It's something you don't always see in YA, which is often just guys and girls falling in love. I love that she shows real friendship too.

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  3. I loved Catching Jordan so I have no doubt I'm going to love this book as well. I can't wait to read this book, great review! :)

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    1. I'm sure you'll love it then. Be sure to let me know!!

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  4. I have Catching Jordan on my shelf, need to read it ... and this one sounds good too. A character named Corndog? hehe ... Oh, I just saw an announcement of Kennealy's twitter/blog: she's signed a deal with Sourcebooks Fire to write about a wannabe jockey at a swank horse farm :o) I'm intrigued!

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    1. Read Catching Jordan first, because as my friend Heather pointed out to me, otherwise Stealing Parker has a major spoiler!
      Ooh, checking that out. Sounds great.

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  5. I love when an author is able to break the mold and stay in the same world but write an original story rather than sticking with a formula.

    I can't wait to read this one!!

    Great review Jen :-)

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    1. That is definitely the case! Same world, completely different kind of story. But you'd know that she wrote both of them. Love her! :)

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  6. I really want to read this one. I got an invite for the blog tour, but it only goes through until November and I don't have any free space until after. :(

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  7. In some ways I feel like my whole life has been a crisis of faith and I'm super curious about htis one now. I didn't think Catching Jordan was for me, but Stealing Parker sounds more my speed. Glad you loved it.

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  8. I loved this one but I don't really like religious books. It wasn't too preachy but it was a bit much for me. I did like Parker's journey and everything she was going through. I love the the books have friendship turned love with Jordan and Sam Henry and then Parker and Corndog. That was such a funny and cute nickname!

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  9. These books look so good! I'm going to have to try them out sometime. The only companion book I've read like this is Lola and the Boy Next Door ... I love it when characters from my favourite books make it into a companion book!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I LOVE great male-female relationships! I haven't read Catching Jordan yet but I think I almost want to read this one more. Great review!

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    1. If you think you want to read both, read Jordan first. Cause Parker has a spoiler.

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  11. You know, despite Kim being a fan of Catching Jordan, it just didn't appeal to me, but for some reason this book does. Maybe it's the older guy situation? I don't know, but I do know Kim wants to read this, so that means I get to borrow! ;)

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    1. Yay -- can't wait to hear what you guys think :)

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  12. What a great review! I haven't read Catching Jordan nor this book but I enjoy how you broke down the plot. I am not a fan of preachy books or sneak attack christian books (not saying this one is) but I can get behind (or understand) reading about the plight of a younger person and a crisis of faith. I think that can happen to anyone, a personal crisis of morality, and when written about well it can be pretty amazing. I look forward to adding this to my TBR list!

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    1. I agree -- I don't like books that try to sneak-attack preach, no matter what cause or belief they're preaching: environmentalism, religion, whatever. Kids don't like being lectured at and neither do adults.

      The crisis of faith thing is so interesting to me, though. It can be applied to so many situations.

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  13. I haven't read CATCHING JORDAN yet, but I am looking forward to reading both books.

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  14. Looks really good. Nice review. I love find authors that can manipulate all the right things to really make a nice story!

    Haley

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    1. I know. Miranda Kenneally does it so effortlessly, but I know it's not easy!

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  15. I still haven't read Catching Jordan so I'll wait to read both. This really sounds like a great book. Great review!

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  16. Well now I want to read this book! :D

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  17. I couldn't agree more with your take on this, Jen! You know i love me some "bad" girls and angry girls too! And I think every single situation found in SP felt authentic and true to life. Be it broken homes, loss of faith or misguided decisions, all of it happens in real life on a daily basis and THAT is the type of contemporary I LOVE reading:) GREAT review!

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    1. Just read your review which is SO good. The more I like a book, the more I feel I don't do it justice!

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  18. I want this book! It sounds amazing! I love it that it's more in depth than Catching Jordan. :D

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  19. I read Catching Jordan not too long ago and although I enjoyed some aspects (Henry and Jordan's friendship most of all), I didn't love it and I can't put my finger on exactly why. I definitely am going to check out Stealing Parker though, as I can't say no to a contemporary novel, and love when an author includes characters from a past book.

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    1. I really enjoyed Jordan but I liked this one even more!!

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  20. I've been wanting to read both this and Catching Jordan. Is it better to read them in the order that they came out? Or is it ok to read Stealing Parker first? I think I might be getting this one, that's why I'm wondering. I want to jump right into it..lol

    Great review, I definitely want to read this even more now.

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    1. You should read Jordan first if you can. Something happened in that book that I did not see coming, and it is spoiled in Parker.

      But they're companion books, so you don't need to read one to understand the other.

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    2. Ok, I think I will read it first then!

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  21. I like to read books that sometimes take me out of my comfort zone, sometimes with "hard" topics. As long as it's entertaining along the way. This book sounds like a good read!

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  22. Awesome review, this isn't a book i would typically read but you have made me curious!

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