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?
I also enjoyed how this book went right along with Catching Jordan. I liked that the characters were interwoven as it gave some familiarity to the story.
Overall, another hit for Miranda Kenneally. I can't wait to see what happens next!
I fell in love with Miranda's writing and her characters when I read Catching Jordan a couple of weeks ago and couldn't wait to get back on the playing fields of Hundred Oaks High! *coughs* Sam Henry *coughs* Stealing Parker is a story about one girl's journey to figure out who she is and what matters most. It examines the impact faith can have on the choices we make and is filled with humor, heart break and romance. Stealing Parker will steal your heart.
Parker Shelton is a girl whose spent much of her young life trying to live up to other people's expectations. Whether it be God, her church, her family, or her friends, Parker has been putting everyone else first only to be letdown time and again. Don't get me wrong, selflessness is a great quality to possess as long as you don't lose yourself along the way. When her Mom makes a choice that leaves Parker and her family devastated as well as the topic of gossip at both church and school, she decides to take control. In an effort to prove she's nothing like her Mom, Parker is convinced that if she can be the kind of girl guys want; pretty, skinny, and flirtatious then she'll be okay. Unfortunately, her choices leave her with nothing more than a bad reputation.
Parker longs to be in a real relationship, to be loved, to be worth something to someone else and when she meets Brian, she thinks he could be the guy she's been looking for. Brian is cute, funny and doesn't judge her but he's also a little out of her league. Then there's Will. He's the one who challenges her on and off the baseball diamond, calls her out on the hard stuff and gives her a glimpse of what a relationship with God should look like when he invites her to his church.
She quickly finds herself caught between two guys, both of whom seem willing to risk everything to be with her but when her past mistakes come back to haunt her, she's faced with striking out altogether. To help her through it, she'll have to reach out to the person she holds responsible for all of her pain and anger. Forgiveness and grace will come into play, and Parker learns that sometimes, going to bat for yourself is more important than being the designated hitter.
One of the things I enjoy so much about Miranda's books is that she not only gives us flawed characters, but one's who have to face the consequences of their actions, thus making them relateable. Parker has been "looking for love in all the wrong places" and a common misconception is that teenage boys aren't affected by this kind of behavior, but they are. Parker's behavior is a result of the pain she's trying to numb thanks in part to her church's reaction to her Mom's life choices. When she realizes the effect her actions have had on the guys she's been hooking up with, she gains a better perspective about herself and how she really wants to be seen.
Will was a great character! He's cute, smart, funny and has a good heart. He's far from perfect and I really appreciated his willingness to hold himself and others accountable for their actions. He makes different choices from those of a typical teenage boy and I LOVED that about him! *clutches Will* (After *meeting* Will, Sam Henry has some serious competition in my heart, just sayin'! *winks*)
Sam, Drew and Tate are good examples of what a friend should be (especially Drew). They too have their own issues but I would be happy to call any one of them my friends. Companion novels are fun because you get a chance to see beloved characters again and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the hot mess of a boy that is Sam Henry! *grins really big* Psst, Miranda, I think Sam needs his own book...I would be ALL OVER THAT! ;)
There are a ton of commonalities between Stealing Parker and Catching Jordan, and I don't just mean the sports. Both girls have a similar love triangle dynamic going, though their reactions to it differ somewhat. Also, both get their feelings out by writing, a strange similarity I felt. Jordan writes poems as a way of getting a handle on her feelings, and Parker writes letters to God, which, unsurprisingly, I wasn't a huge fan of.
Parker's faith is actually a huge theme of the book, one which is handled with tact. Parker's family attends one of those big pompous, holier-than-thou churches, which puts members down if they do anything that doesn't fit their definition of Christian. For example, they've been gossiping about Parker's family ever since Parker's mom left her father to live life as a lesbian. Their church clearly just drains the happiness from Parker, and brings so much self-hatred into her life. However, the book isn't anti-faith either, as she attends another church, which is friendly and uplifting. Basically, the message is to not get yourself stuck in an unhealthy environment or with false friends.
The reason I'm rating Stealing Parker just a little bit lower, though it was still an awesome read, is that I just didn't like Parker as much as I liked Jordan. Parker's reaction to the gossip about her mother and the intimations that she too might be a lesbian, because she's muscular and plays softball, isn't one that I can fathom. She decides to prove that she's straight by losing thirty pounds and making out with any guy that's interested. She doesn't go any further, but that's not really the issue. Clearly all of this tonsil hockey isn't making her feel better, so she really shouldn't be doing it.
In her latest endeavor to make bad choices, Parker decides to go after the baseball coach, a 23 year old guy just starting on his first job out of grad school. Brian Hoffman seems like the perfect guy, and she thinks she has a chance. Well, guess what? Teachers that date their students? Creepers. I just wanted to grab Parker and shake her back and forth. I also couldn't stand that she, just like Jordan, continues in an unhealthy relationship even when she's not really into it anymore. Save yourself some heartbreak and run away, girl! Still, I feel I must emphasize that all of her stupid choices came off as believable teenage acting-out, but that didn't make me any less uncomfortable!
As with Catching Jordan, what really makes this such an incredibly delightful book are the well-drawn characters. Kenneally has a knack for writing authentic friendships, down to the stupid nicknames and inside jokes. I just love how real the bonds are between the characters, even the painful ones, like with Laura and Parker. I've had some Lauras in my past, and Kenneally got that just right.
Miranda Kenneally's books are so incredibly enjoyable. Plus, I love the way these books are sort of a series, in that they're set at the same school and characters from the previous books show up. I loved getting to hang out with Jordan and Sam just a little bit! I will be eagerly anticipating the next installment, Things I Can't Forget.
I love Miranda Kenneally's ability to mix the serious in among her lighter, fun plots. There are such complex relationships between characters and the voice of her heroine is always very authentic. Parker is such a strong heroine who has been through a lot. She grows so much as a character throughout the book.
It is so easy to fall in love with Miranda Kenneally's characters. Right away, I was hooked into Parker's world and the story she had to tell. Stealing Parker brings out ALL the feelings. I was so heartbroken at so many parts, upset at others, and just filled with joy. Stealing Parker was just the perfect blend - it was funny, sweet, touching, heartbreaking, and so much more.
The relationships in Stealing Parker were probably my favorite thing about the book. I loved the slow building relationship between Will and Parker - it was absolutely adorable! Parker and Drew have a friendship that rivals my best friend and mine in so many ways - down to a T in some events that happened, so that was a lot of fun. Even the smaller characters who played a much smaller role, like Veena, really worked her way into my heart from the way she sought out Parker.
I'm pretty sure only Miranda Kenneally can make a guy nicknamed Corndog sexy as heck, but man she has pulled it off in Stealing Parker. Parker is full of spunk and was really easy to connect with. She faces so much at the hands of her peers; something most people can connect to from one point or another. I love how the characters from Catching Jordan make their appearances. When Sam Henry made an appearance or two, my day was pretty much made.
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally was a definite win. I will read anything Miranda Kenneally writes. Her stories just fascinate me. They're the kinds of books I can reread over and over and still laugh and cry with the characters and never get bored.
This book is amazing, and that's it I am no lyrical artist but I can say that out of most the books i have read from you. You are one of the best authors I have seen in a LONG time.
So I state this and this alone.
You are an amazing author, with a amazing series. Nice job.
- Sincerely, Korben R. Fisher
I loved Catching Jordan so I was super excited to read the next in the series. Parker Shelton loved playing softball but quit the team after there was a scandal that rocked her family. This scandal not only resulted in her quitting the team but in her parents divorce and her bothers reckless behavior. Parker joins the boys baseball team as the manager where she meets the new coach Brian Hoffman a very good looking 23 year old who Parker finds herself attracted to. Then there is Will aka Corndog who is super sweet. Will Parker cross the line with the coach or will she fall for Corndog? You will just have to read to find out.
There are definitely some laugh out load moments in this story. At one point Parker plays M.A.S.H with Brian which took me back to my middle and high school days. However perhaps the funniest part of this story is when Parker's dad cannot get Corndogs name right and keeps calling him Corn Fritter!
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it. I am already looking forward to the next in the series! I cannot wait. Happy reading!
Review originally posted on my blog: http://www.ramblingsofabooknerd.com/2012/12/review-stealing-parker-bu-miranda.html
After Parker's mom announces that she's a lesbian and leaves her family to join her girlfriend, rumors begin to fly. And what's worse, they stem from her former best friend. From there, everything begins to spiral out of control and Parker decides to leave the softball team and make out with guy after guy. All to prove that she's nothing like her mother. She then decides to manage the baseball team thanks to her best friend for life, Drew. From there she meets the baseball coach intern Brian. And from there, her life falls out control.
One of my favorite things about Kenneally's books is that in each one she teaches life lessons. In this one, she tackles one of the biggest issues in teen society right now, homosexuality. A lot of times, people that are homosexual find it hard to come out and find it harder to find friends to stick with them. They become embarrassed about what they like. Kenneally portrays this situation with expertise. She shows that it is ok to be however you want and do whatever you want. She shows that "sometimes you have to do what's best for you." Another lesson that can be taught from this book is hypocrisy. But I won't go in detail for fear of spoilers. Just know that the lesson is there.
I also loved the characters Parker is strong willed, believes in her Christian values, and is a very good friend. She just made some mistakes along the way. Also, all the guys that she befriended are all characters. (No pun intended lol) They provided the comic relief and I was grateful through all the drama with her family and her church. And I loved that it was a companion novel that features Jordan and Sam. It's so interesting to me when an author can provide us with another story and feature them in it without it being a whole story about them.
As far as the romance, I was very happy with it. I must admit tho, Kenneally kind of scared me towards the end. I was so close to the end and the issue hadn't be resolved yet so I got nervous lol I'm ashamed to say I cried for a little bit when everything was finally fixed. I had just connected with Parker so much and I was happy things begin to fall in place for her.
Stealing Parker is a quick read, but its content makes up for the lack of pages. Things move very fast and you'll find yourself swept to the dug out, chewing gum, and listening to the crack of the baseball connecting with a bat.
eARC received by Sourcebooks
Release Date: October 1st—On Shelves Now!
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: A poignant story about heartbreak, forgiveness, and first love
This is my first book by Miranda, and I had no idea what to expect. Just from reading the blurb, I thought it sounded interesting, but I didn’t know how I would like the sports aspect of the story. Don’t get me wrong---I love sports, but I’m more of a watch ‘em, not read ‘em type of girl. Surprisingly, the sports part was one of my favorite parts of the story. It wasn’t overly boyish and I didn’t find myself saying, “Go on…get on with it.” Their sports world was like an entirely new setting within the high school life, and I enjoyed being opened up to a YA book that touched on sports.
The best part of the book was the growing friendship between Parker and Corndog. It was sweet and innocent, and it just felt right. I found myself laughing at loud at some of Corndog’s jokes, but at other times, he was a real jerk. Just like a high school guy! It was endearing to see him struggle with his own problems and then take them out on Parker—a realistic and heartbreaking truth about high school relationships. I found myself waiting for Parker’s next encounter with Corndog, just to see what would happen next.
I also really liked Drew, Parker’s best friend. He is the type of guy that you just automatically like. He sticks by Parker when her mother comes out as a lesbian and the entire town turns on her family. It’s a very religious town, so this caused quite a scandal. While everyone else looked at Parker like she was the plague, Drew stood up for her and stood by her. Such a sweetie!
I was really surprised by the mature content level of this book—it didn’t bother me at all, but I think I was expecting the fade to black type of love scenes. At first, I enjoyed these small scenes between Parker and Brian (the coach). It wasn’t really creepy, and I felt like they really liked each other. However, as their physical relationship progressed, I found myself getting really annoyed by Parker and the way she discussed their relationship. She seemed very crude to me, and by the end unfortunately, I was really wishing she would just zip her mouth.
What else bugged me?
The entire book was preachy to the extent of annoyance. I’m from a small town, and I understand the role religion plays in the lives of people there, but I just don’t believe that an entire town would turn against someone instead of trying to save or help them. But instead of doing that, they hurled accusatory glares and Bible verses. It just became too much for me, and I think it took away from the book.
Most of the reviews I have read said they really enjoyed Parker as the main character, but I was on the other side of the fence with her. She seemed very vain and immature to me, and I found her very annoying. There were times she was so self-involved that I ended up rooting against her, hoping things would fall apart so she would look around, wake up and quit her self-loathing.
Overall, there were some very cute parts to this tale of discovery, and I think that many people will enjoy this book. I liked that Miranda ventured into an area that many other authors might be afraid to write about, and I liked that she did it in a non-creepy way. However, I thought that Parker and Brian (both major characters) were too wishy-washy, and this wavering made them unrealistic and frustrating to me.
Final Judgment: While this book was not my favorite, I do plan to read more of Miranda’s books in the future.
Content Warning: I would rate this for mature teens for somewhat explicit sexual situations. (Riding the line somewhere between YA and NA).
Parker is your average girl. She goes to high school, she goes out with boys, she loves sports. Softball to be exact. But when her life is turned upside down, she turns herself upside down. She quits softball, drops weight, and becomes a little friendly with the boys. Then, a new baseball coach steps into her life, and she’s more than happy to add him to her kissing list. She thinks this is what she wants, but is it really?
I read Catching Jordan a while back and fell in love with Miranda’s writing. You know I’m not big on contemporary at the moment, so I’m super picky about the stories I read. At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, but it took me by surprise. Stealing Parker was a definite win for me.
I loved Parker as a character. She was real and personal from the very beginning. She could’ve been any girl from my high school or even college. I love when a character makes you sit up and pay attention and Parker was that for me. Sure, there were parts where I kind of wanted to strangle her a little, but that just makes her more human.
Yep, pretty much this :)
While I loved Parker, I was insta-love-beyond-all-love with Will! Seriously, the moment he stepped into the pages, I was a gonner. This boy was a gorgeous, smart, caring specimen of amazingness. His relationship with Parker and those around him was great. I got a feel for his character right off the bat, and I couldn’t help but cheer him on in everything throughout the book.
Miranda discusses some important issues in this book, woven into the sweet romance. I really didn’t expect the story to talk about religious issues. As a Christian myself, it’s hard to read something that may not bring Christianity into the best light. It saddens me to see that people view Christians as judges, because there are a select few who take on that job themselves. I loved Miranda for showing a contrast to people who gave Christians a bad light versus those of us who try their best to live their lives according to His Word. (Not all Christians are bad. Some of us may even surprise you :)
Overall, I loved this book. The chemistry between the characters Miranda created was outstanding. The tension, the longing, the perfectly placed little phrases, all of that made the book just that much more. This high school is one I wish I could’ve gone to, just so I could meet all these fabulous people. I can’t wait to see what Miranda has for us next!