Personal Thoughts: I read Catching Jordan, the first book in the Hundred Oaks series last year but I had been hesitant going into it because in my own personal life, I could not care less about sports. As it turns out, I love sports anime and contemporary romances where sports play a part. I think what I’ve learned here is that if real life sports games had more monologues and less play time, I would probably enjoy those as well. I was excited to start Stealing Parker because one of my reading goals for the year is to catch up on the Hundred Oaks series and because this book focuses on softball. I played softball from third grade through my junior year of high school (when I wanted to spend more time with my friends so I purposely threw the tryouts since my parents forced me into them despite my disinterest). There ended up being a lot more baseball than softball but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I even loved it more than Catching Jordan!
Plot Summary: Stealing Parker is about a girl name Parker who has a very complicated life. Her mother came out and left her family and she hasn’t been handling the fallout well ever since. Parker is shunned by her best friend, the people at her church turn on her and in order to dispel rumors that she’s like her mother, she ends up kissing a few more boys than she cares to. Things get even more complicated when she becomes the manager for the boys baseball team and starts taking an interest in her very adult coach.
Critique: I really enjoyed this one! Stealing Parker was not at all what I had been expecting, I’ve never read a YA contemporary romance where religion plays such a huge role. I love that Parker begins to question everything she’s been taught once the people at her church turn their back on her and her family over the “scandal” involving her mom. It’s not just a coming of age novel in the general sense but it also focuses on finding yourself spiritually. Each person in Parker’s family is handling everything differently so this is in no way, a cute fluffy contemporary. It covers everything from underage relationships to slut shaming to drug abuse to eating disorders to best friend break ups and more. Parker ends up making a slew of bad decisions while going through her depression and as I’m sure you can imagine, things continue to spiral downward into even more of a mess before a resolution is reached. I absolutely adored the romance in this book (and no, not the sleazy teacher / student relationship). My only complaint is about Parker’s best friend Drew. His piece of the puzzle was a little ridiculous to me because of certain circumstances but overall, that didn’t hinder my opinion at all.
Do I Recommend?: Yes! Stealing Parker is the second book in the Hundred Oaks series but it’s not at all necessary to read these books in order. There are cameos of characters from the first book, but they wouldn’t be noticeable if you aren’t familiar with their story and you don’t need any background information on them to enjoy what’s currently going on.
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally is the first book in the Hundred Oaks companion series. It follows a girl named Jordan who is the only female football player in the high school football league during her senior year of high school. It took me a little while to warm up to Jordan because football is not my thing but midway through the book I got used to her character and the way her teammates interact and I was able to enjoy the story going forward. It was also surprising at the beginning because the first chapter narrates a football scene with Jordan as the quarterback and they never identify her gender until the second chapter so I had originally assumed she was a male. I was able to quickly readjust and I know that was done on purpose. Catching Jordan is a light, fun contemporary romance and it was exactly what I was craving.
As I stated, I’m really not interested in sports and I’ve never hung out with people who care about sports so the way Jordan and her teammates and friends interact was largely outside my comfort zone. It took me some time to get used to their lingo and their priorities but I ended up enjoying Catching Jordan overall. I like that all of the guys on Jordan’s team are so accepting and respectful of her but that Jordan’s relationship with her father is complicated because of her love of football. It’s interesting to see the struggles she faces as a woman in a male dominated industry and her spirit and passion is to be admired. Jordan undergoes some very important character development in regard to her relationship with other women which is one of things that won me over the most. I think female friendships are really important and while I enjoyed the dynamic between her and the guys, it was nice to see her open up to some women without being so judgmental. And of course, I love the romance in this story. I saw it coming from the very beginning and while it didn’t play out perfectly, I thought it was adorable and the characters ended up where I wanted them so no complaints here!
Final Thoughts: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally is the first book in the Hundred Oaks series which follows Jordan, the female quarterback of her high school football team. It’s a light and fluffy contemporary romance and it’s very sports heavy so if you’re like me, you may need some time to adjust to the characters. I would recommend Catching Jordan for fans of Friday Night Lights who are looking for a cute beach read this summer!
ONE OF THE BOYS
What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line? (via Goodreads)