Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Source: Sourcebooks at ALA 2012
Buy It: Amazon
Add It: Goodreads
*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.
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 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. :)