Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks, #2) by Miranda Kenneally
Published: October 1, 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
Received: On loan from Jess - thank you!
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? [goodreads]
My casual read along with friends continues with Stealing Parker, Miranda Kenneally's second book in the Hundred Oaks series. This sophomore novel surprised me by how much growth Kenneally portrayed in her writing. I saw such a significant difference between Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker. Some of the reluctance I felt with her first novel was overturned in this one and my ease into the story felt much more natural.
Parker used to be the star of her high school's softball team, where she shared the field with friends whom she thought accepted her for who she really was. But after a life altering moment in Parker's family occurs, it leaves her judged upon; which ultimately sends Parker to the extreme. Now Parker feels the shame of her mother's actions as she's looked down on by her church. The only friend she has left is Drew, who forces Parker to be a part of the boy's baseball team as the team manager. She's been cast the school slut, friendly with all the guys, receiving death glares from all the girls. It's a role she didn't particularly want, but confusing times call for confusing decisions.
As the reader I felt more invested in Parker's story. I saw the mistakes she was making and ultimately knew they'd end up hurting her, but I also understood those pains were needed in order for her to see the wrong in what she feels is the right. There were moments that left me disgusted, not just with Parker, but of the situation and how other character's actions took advantage of her. I felt that particular situation wasn't given the best finality either. But I also understand that wasn't the main focus of the story, just a piece of the puzzle.
Once again Kenneally wrote a predictable storyline with characters that I could easily figure out, but this time I enjoyed the sequence of events and how their actions played out much smoother than they did in her first novel. Yes, there was character conflict, but this time around it didn't leave me conflicted as the reader. I had a better grasp on why certain characters acted the way they did. Over all this story just made more sense for me.
If you're a fan of young adult contemporary that touches upon heavier topics, portrayed through the eyes of a teen; then I recommend this sophomore novel by Kenneally. Her writing has progressed so much that I am even more intrigued to read her upcoming novel. Also, if you're a fan of good, wholesome characters that are nicknamed after cafeteria menu items, then you'll adore this story, too.