Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1st, 2012
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 3/5

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?

I really, really wanted to like this book but I could tell almost right away that it was going to fall short. It's companion novel Catching Jordan, was smart and heart-warming, but Stealing Parker lacked the spark of its predecessor. The story itself lacked warmth and humor, and did not live up to the potential the concept presented.

Reading a book about female athletes makes me so so happy. I adore sports, and played them a lot when I was younger. Although baseball is probably my least favorite sport, I was really looking forward to reading about the team dynamics and sports enthusiasm. And while that was an awesome part of the book, it was few and far between. Instead, the focus was on Parker's home life and her relationship with her older coach. I think I would have enjoyed that part of the story had it been done right, but instead I found the majority of it unrealistic and predictable.   

I think the real thing this book was missing was the heart of Catching Jordan. I found Jordan to be such a passionate character, and I loved her desire to push the boundaries set before her. She was not content to just sit back and hope for the best, but wanted to earn respect and pride. Unlike Jordan, Parker was a very flat character. She mostly let things happen to her and never really did anything. Her situation was different than Jordan's but there was so much opportunity for growth and, in the end, I wasn't entirely sold on the new Parker. She said a lot but I find that actions, be them purposeful or unconscious, speak much more about a character than their words. Parker was going through a crisis, no doubt, and I can't fault her for not responding to it well, but she didn't do anything to change her situation either. By the end of the book, I was proud of where she ended up but I don't feel as if it was genuine. She seemed as if she was put there rather than working her way there.

The whole plot itself I found pretty formulaic. I wasn't looking for twists and turns, but I felt like the whole book was just going through the motions. There was no power behind it. This book could have had some fantastic messages about self-discovery, about being your own person, but it lacked the passion to really drive home the point.

On the positive note, Miranda Kenneally really knows how to write great love interests. I mean, I was swooning all over the place because of Will. He was so sweet, earnest, and fun. The kind of guy I would just love to hang out with. His scene with Parker were enjoyable, and they seemed to bring out the best in each other.

I think, overall, I just expected more from Stealing Parker. More heart, better characters, and a story that would have made me smile. I'm a bit disappointed with this one, but I do look forward to the next companion novels. The heart is there, I think it was just missing in this installment.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Miranda Kenneally's Website

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