Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 242 (Paperback)
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?
This is such a hard book to review because I love Miranda Kenneally and will read anything she writes. But this is probably my least favorite story she is written. However, this book also has my second favorite boy she's ever written (second only to Jere and tied with Sam Henry).
Allow me to explain...Parker struggles with a lot. Public perception of her, slut shaming, her religion and belief in God, views about sex, perceptions of the lgbtq community (she's cool with it, but not everyone around her is), and the whole proper and improper morals thing. Also, there may be a slight eating disorder and body obsession in there somewhere. She's complicated. And it makes her both likable and unlikable.
Let me start from the beginning: Parker's parents divorced because her Mom was depressed and unhappy and, it turns out, she was also a lesbian. Eventually she ran away with her friend Theresa that was really more than a friend and it turned Parker's world upside down. She quit softball despite being amazing at it because it connected her to her mother and she didn't want people thinking she was a lesbian like her because her church is super judgmental and full of gossips. She dropped her 30 pounds of muscle and began eating significantly smaller portions and, at times, barely touching her meals because she wanted to keep her 110 pound frame that boys like. Gone was the burly could-be-butch-lesbian and instead she was replaced by a skinny girl that wears a lot of make-up and has a reputation for kissing a lot of boys so people in church recognize that she is, in fact, straight.
Parker let's all of her rumors fly and it comes to hurt her because the truth is she is a virgin that really wants to find a good boyfriend that won't flake out on her the way she thinks her mother did and how her old best friends dd once she was deemed a "sinner." Then she meets Brian, the new coach of the boy's baseball team, and even though he's 6 years older than her, she takes an immediate liking to the challenge he represents and goes after him because she think he's different. At the same time, Will (aka Corndog and also known as Corn Fritter to her father) has taken a liking to her as she begins to manage her team at the request of another player, her best friend Drew (who may or may not be gay. She doesn't know).
Let's set the record of this weird love-triangle straight: I hate Brian. I freaking love Will. He is book boyfriend material times one million. So kind, so sweet, so caring and all around cute. A nice guy with an amazing body and a genuine love and concern for his family and autistic little brother. But Brian sucks, and, unfortunately, Brian is a focus for a great amount of this book. Will could care less if Parker pigs out on burgers and fries with them, but Brian likes Parker's body and the attitude she throws at him because she makes him feel young again. In other words, Brian is selfish and I hate him.
This is a waste of a book because of him, if you ask me. I understand how important he is to Parker's story and Parker learning about her body, learning to realize she deserves a good person, learning to love herself, etc. but I wish that was less of the book and there was more of her being happy with Will. Their story is so short page-wise and they are together for only the end. I want more of her happiness with coming to terms with her mother, realizing that her church sucks but not all churches do, re-inforcing her faith in God, and loving herself. I want more of the happy Parker that'll eat burgers instead of eating celery and yearning to dip it into peanut butter. And I didn't get that. And while I understand why I didn't get that, I am still disappointed that I didn't get it.
This book presents such a dilemma to me because of all the complicated stuff described above. But, in all honesty, I am obsessed with Will and am being super selfish because I just want more of him. In the end, though, I can't hate any book that Sam Henry and Jordan Woods make solid cameos in. And Kenneally wrote it and I love her, so instead I'll just mark this is as my least favorite of a favorite series and move on gracefully to whoever's story is next in the lovely town of Hundred Oaks.