Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Summary: After Parker’s mother “turned” lesbian and left her family, she became isolated from all but one of her friends. Parker began to mess around with as many guys as possible to prove that she wasn’t like her mother. Now, a few months after her mother’s departure, Parker wants things to go back to the way they were before. She misses playing softball, and she misses having genuine relationships. When a new softball coach shows up (a hot, twenty three-year-old one), Parker finds herself drawn to the comfort he offers.
My thoughts: I consider myself to be a pretty good predictor of endings when it comes to YA romance. I can usually tell who will end up with whom fairly early in the book. Stealing Parker, though, kept me on my toes—which made it an even more enjoyable read. I couldn’t stop reading until I knew how things would turn out for Parker.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Stealing Parker quite as much as I did because 1) it features a student-teacher relationship, which is totally skeevy and 2) the book has a strong Christian theme, and that rarely goes over well with me (everything tends to come off as preachy). However. Miranda Kenneally is truly something, because she pulled both of these themes off with finesse. Obviously, she isn’t promoting breaking the law (student-teacher shenanigans), but she makes Parker’s emotions believable. I enjoyed reading Kenneally’s take on forbidden schoolgirl love, especially since she makes it so down-to-earth.
The Christianity themes were similarly handled; Parker is a girl struggling with her faith, and she continues to do so up until the very end. I liked that Kenneally presents religion as a personal experience rather than a strict adherence to certain guidelines.
I have yet to read Catching Jordan, Miranda Kenneally’s debut, but after reading Stealing Parker, I’m going to make a point to do so. Kenneally has a great voice and a spunky, fun writing style that I fell completely in love with. Plus, her characters are interesting, and the stories she tells are meaningful rather than purely fluffy.
An unpredictable and suspenseful romance
+ a meaningful story
+ complex themes that are handled gracefully
+ a baseball team full of ridiculous and hilarious boys
= Stealing Parker, a seriously fun book
For those who like: Baseball, romance, family drama
Find the author at MirandaKenneally.com.
Comment question: Do student-teacher romances skeeve you out, or are you fine with them when it comes to fiction?