Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Book:  Stealing Parker
Author:  Miranda Kenneally
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Date:  October 1, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A-

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After her family's 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. (cover and description from

Initial reaction
Whoa!  This book is a hard-hitter!  (bad pun actually intended…..)

Cover Story
I actually like this cover.  It fits with the story and even though the heads are cut off, it works because then the reader has no idea which of the guys it actually is.  The title is cute, if not very substantive.

What’s the Story?

I thought I was going to have a bit of a light contemporary read with this one after all this kind of heavy paranormal and dystopian stuff I’ve been reading lately. This one is contemporary, but people, it ain’t light!!!

This book deals with some heavy stuff.  There is homosexuality, parent absenteeism, judgmental bible thumpers, drug and alcohol abuse and, the real clincher for me, student/teacher relations.  Whew!  Luckily, it was a quick read, or I might have gotten bogged down in all that!  But, despite all the heavy issues, I actually enjoyed this book and the ending left me on a very positive note.

Now, the reason that this book is an A- instead of an A for me is because of that teacher/student bit.  As a teacher of teens for 20 years, that is just so squicky for me that it was just outside of my comfort zone.  I just wanted to smack both of them and scream “What the hell do you think you’re doing??”

In fact, poor Parker really did need a strong female figure to smack her around a bit, shake her and tell her to get her head on straight.  If I could have, I would have jumped right into the pages of that book and staged an intervention with that family.  Mom, Dad, Ryan and Parker all needed a pretty good butt kicking throughout most of the book.

In fact, the only person who seemed to have it together in the whole book was Corndog/Will.  Now, admit it.  You have to love a character that goes by Corndog!  And love him I did!  He was so wonderful.  Just sweet and smart and caring throughout the whole novel. 

Miranda Kenneally is a master at taking these heavy hitting issues and dealing with them in a way that makes you think but doesn’t make you want to sit in a dark closet listening to Nine Inch Nails for 2 weeks.  It was an experience to watch these characters stumble around and make mistakes until they finally started to get things right.  Now, she doesn’t tie it up in a pretty package at the end, but she does leave the reader with a lot of hope.  Which in my opinion is a way better ending than getting married, becoming a vampire, giving birth to a half-vampire mutant baby that gets imprinted on by a werewolf/shape shifter pedophile.  Ooops!  Did I say that out loud?

In Stealing Parker, Miranda Kenneally gives the reader a glimpse into a small Southern Bible belt community and gives the reader pause to consider how we judge others and what makes a person “good” or “bad”.  She shows a lot of people, teens and adults alike, fumbling around with bad choices but finding ways to redeem themselves in the end.

The Soundtrack

Pressure by Paramore

Drive by Incubus

Chasing Pavements by Adele

Waiting for the World to Change by John Mayer

When You Were Young by The Killers

Welcome to My Life by Simple Plan

Does anyone else think that these soundtracks are getting out of hand???

The Final Grade

My final grade for this book is an A-.  It was a great book, but the squick factor with the teacher/student relationship just made me a little too uncomfortable, so that’s what earned the minus.  But if you are looking for a great contemporary that deals with some very relevant issues but leaves you feeling pretty good in the end, you will love this book.

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