Monday, September 24, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... 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!