Series: Hundred Oaks, #2
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.
Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.
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?
3 / 5 Stars
Since I read Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl, I’ve been slowly trying to read the rest of the Hundred Oaks series. I love Kenneally’s feel good writing style. Her books always leave me feeling happy. I was hoping I would have the same experience with Stealing Parker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
There were so many incredible things in Stealing Parker. First, the characters. Parker Shelton is a girl who quits softball, loses weight and sets out to kiss as many boys as she can after her mom declares she’s a lesbian and moves out. Reading Parker’s point of view felt like reading the mind of a real teenager. Her experiences with parents, friends, boys, gossip and church were all real life experiences. Then, there’s Parker’s best friend, Drew. I loved Parker and Drew’s easy friendship and the way Drew supported Parker. I also loved that Parker understood Drew and put his feelings first. My favorite character, though, was Corndog. One, his name was Corndog. That’s a pretty awesome nickname and he does awesome stuff to live up to it. Two, he was surprisingly mature and sweet for his age. I loved Parker’s relationship with Will.
Stealing Parker didn’t just have great characters, though. It also dealt with some huge issues. Parker really resented her mom for leaving her and her family. She didn’t know how to handle her negative feelings towards her mom. Rather than deal with them, she avoided her mom.
Parker wasn’t just dealing with her mom being a lesbian and leaving her family, she was dealing with the fallout the situation created. Parker lost friends due to her mother’s actions and felt the need to recreate herself. She felt the need to hook up with as many boys as possible to prove she wasn’t like her mother. This didn’t help her friend situation.
Parker also struggled with her new found sexuality and what it meant in terms of her relationship with her church and God. Whether it was reconciling her experiences with her church and its member with her belief in God or dealing with her feelings about her lesbian mother, I felt like this was such a great topic to include in a Young Adult novel. So many of us grapple with faith, church and our actions as teenagers. Kenneally did an amazing job portraying this struggle. I loved how it all worked out for Parker.
There was one huge issues in Stealing Parker that I didn’t like at all: the student-teacher/coach relationship. I get that these relationships happen all of the time, but they’re incredibly uncomfortable to read. I cringed every time I had to read Brian and Parker’s interactions. I wasn’t happy with the way their “relationship” ended. I would have liked more accountability to their actions. Honestly, I didn’t see the need for this storyline in Stealing Parker. It would have been a better book without it. It’s what made Stealing Parker a 3 star book instead of a 5 star book.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Stealing Parker. I feel bad only giving it 3 stars because it is a well written book. I just can’t get past the icky vibe the student-teacher relationship gave it.