by Miranda Kenneally
Hundred Oaks series; book II
This review is LONG overdue, and I'd like to apologize profusely for the lateness.
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?
My Expectations: super high because of the surprise hit of Keneally's first book
Delivery: not that great, I wanted to be more invested
I loved Catching Jordan-- like I absolutely loved it because it caught me by surprise and it was sweet and funny and all around great. I went in with the same enthusiasm for Stealing Parker, but I left disappointed, for the wrong reasons.
Stealing Parker didn't work for me because I was a sucky reader, not because the book was bad. I usually like to go with the themes and judge things like plot, character, and writing, but this time whenever I came across this subject, a part of my brain jerked in response before I could shrug it off and keep going. And yes, this is a totally personal and biased thing, but it was the religion aspect. Don't get me wrong, this book is not preachy in any way, the religion and faith was simply there and it just doesn't resonate with me and kind of annoyed me, purely based on my personal beliefs (which sadly I can't ignore as I read). And this is a fact that I'm hesitant to reveal because it's super subjective, but it's a reason contributing to why I found this book less enjoyable. I was unable to build the flow and rhythm of the novel because I was getting distracted every few chapters.
However, if you want to look at the novel objectively: it's great. The character building is there, the tension between her and a few guys, and the "forbidden romance" which everyone is eager to read about was very well executed. I loved Parker's relationship with her best friend and I thought her feelings about her mom were explored well. The way Kenneally gradually unveiled Parker's history made me interested and invested in her character; I absolutely loved the mentions of previous characters from Catching Jordan, and if you're a Melina Marchetta fan, you might pick up some tiny references as well. Also, can we mention how freaking awesome the discussions about Harry Potter were? Best way to my heart.
So honestly, it is a very big "it's not you, it's me" type of deal, I can recognize the fact that the book will be hugely enjoyable to many (especially if you liked CJ) but it didn't hit home for me because I was distracted by the themes, and that caused Stealing Parker to lose a lot of its charm.
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Acknowledgements: forgot to read :/ I'm sure they were great though!
Recommended for: contemp fans looking for a fast paced, addicting read featuring 3-dimensional characters and a forbidden romance ;)
7.5/10 - because I'm a subjective reviewer and I wasn't a fan of the religious themes which got distracting. Despite that, I sincerely hope you get a chance to pick it up though! Miranda Kenneally is fast establishing herself as a fantastic must-read author for contemporary fans who are in want of both hot romance and simmering sexual tension-- but without missing a beat on the character development and dialogue front. Do read it!
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