Friday, May 10, 2013

REVIEW: STEALING PARKER (Hundred Oaks, #2) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker
Series: Hundred Oaks, #2
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Genres: YA, Sports, Romance
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Purchased
My star rating: 4/5


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?


Since finishing Catching Jordan, the first book in the Hundred Oaks series, I couldn’t wait to start Stealing Parker. I was expecting something very similar to the first book in this series and although Stealing Parker was a great read, it doesn’t compare to the magnificence of Catching Jordan.

Lately I’m more and more into sport-themed books and in that regard this book didn’t disappoint. Even though it isn’t focused so much on sport as it was in Catching Jordan, I still enjoyed it a lot. The focus here was more on the romance aspect, but in such a way that it wasn’t mushy at all. I’m not so much a fan of romance, but I do have appreciation for romance that makes me swoon. One of my pet peeves is when one character falls in love with another solely based on the other character’s looks. Yes, looks should be a part of it because that’s what attracts people to each other, but it shouldn’t be the only reason one person falls in love with another. Such relationships hardly ever last and thus I can’t believe in a happily-ever-after ending in a book with two shallow characters falling in love with each others’ appearance and nothing more. Yep, I’m old-fashioned like that. One of the many reasons why I loved Stealing Parker is because the characters are attracted to each other based on what they see, but then they fall in love with each other based on what they discover in that person. Another reason I enjoyed it is because it has familiar characters in it I recognized from the previous book.

Parker is a really terrific character. At first I wasn’t too fond of her because she seemed really reckless and fickle. She flitted from one guy to another, using them as she goes along without considering their feelings and the consequences. Then she falls in love with new coach, Brian, and I was just rolling my eyes. He was just so hot and she just couldn’t help herself. Yeah, right. But, the further I read – and once Parker and Wil started hanging out – I could see where the author was heading with the story and I started to warm up to Parker. When her life fell apart, it really fell apart. She has to deal with a mother who turned lesbian and left her family behind, a brother who couldn’t deal with the disappointment and turned to drugs and alcohol, and a father who is in denial about pretty much everything and who has unwavering faith in the church which he allows to dictate his life - even to his own detriment. (Just between you and me, I found Daddy Denial quite endearing and a couple of times I couldn’t help but laugh at his oblivious ignorance.) On top of all that, Parker is ostracized by her former best friends at school and at church because of the decisions her mother made. This girl really had it hard and because of this I was happy with the way the book ended.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this story. One theme amongst many that stands out is the matter of faith. Parker has a constant inner monologue with God and the reader gets to know and understand her better through her notes to Him. Parker makes a lot of wrong decisions and she blames her mom for it, but she also makes a couple of new and unexpected friends along the way who teaches her to see things differently. I like the message this book sends out about taking responsibility for your actions, and especially the message about doing what’s right for you, whether the church and everybody else approves of it or not.

Stealing Parker is a beautiful, multi-layered story with a heartwarming conclusion. It forms part of a really magnificent series which I think should be read by every teen girl once she gets to that age where she has to make the decision about when and to whom to give up her virginity. A lot of girl issues are sensitively dealt with in this story and truly this author is very much in touch with the inner workings of the age group for which this book has been written. A highly recommended must-read!



Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally has 583 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



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