Posts tagged ‘miranda kenneally’

December 12th, 2012

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Stealing Parker

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Published: October 1st, 2012

Number of Pages: 256

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

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? [From Goodreads]

Official Review Sent to Publishers*:

Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan won me over with its charm and humor. Her companion novel, Stealing Parker, though just as charming and funny, takes its characters a step further, placing them in difficult positions, teaching them that though you struggle, you are not a failure, though you’re in that awkward what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life stage, things will turn out fine. It’s a story that deals with issues that teens have faced for centuries, as well as issues that are unique to teenagers today. It is a story that is inspiring without losing that charisma and fun that makes Catching Jordan a great book. At the risk of being cliché, I must say that Stealing Parker hits the ball out of the park.

Review:

As you must know, I’m a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally’s. She’s an awesome writer, beta-reader, and friend. Her awesomeness is made manifest once again in her second novel, Stealing Parker. However, those who have read her first novel, Catching Jordan (Review), and are expecting something nearly identical are in for a surprise.

Certainly, there are loads of similarities between the two books. Both take place around the same time period, in the same place, and with many of the same people. Stealing Parker’s primary difference is its main character. Parker, like Jordan, is a sporty, troubled teenage girl in need of a little guidance. But just as Parker’s sport is different than Jordan’s, Parker’s trouble is of a different vein.

Parker struggles with many social issues that are particularly relevant to today’s teenagers (I would know – I spend all day with them): low self-esteem, sexuality (not her’s, but that of those people close to her), need of a belief system. It is clear from the start that Parker is looking for something and someone to believe in. Her life appears to have taken a turn for the worst, and she needs someone to guide her through the chaos. Parker’s challenge is to find someone who will guide her through it, not distract her temporarily.

Miranda is great at twisting love stories. Parker’s is quite an adventure. I definitely spent a lot of my time worried that her confusion would lead her astray, but there’s an array of supporting characters whose friendliness and genuine love gave me hope. Though it’s a funny story and its tone is lighthearted, I saw within Stealing Parker a more serious story of girl trying to figure out who is really on her side, who has her best interest at heart, who loves her. And it’s within that more serious story that I find Parker’s troubles to be a lot like mine – like any teenager’s. Just as she did with Catching Jordan, Miranda captures the essence of the Great and Terrible Teenage Confusion (my new term).

Like I mentioned above, and inevitably after the brilliance of Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker is clever and funny. Parker and her group of friends (some of whom were part of Jordan’s group, too, like Sam Henry) can’t seem to help themselves – they’re hilarious. By nature. It’s a gift of the characters’ personalities that the reader can freely benefit from.

Because this book deals with issues that the average eleven year old doesn’t deal with, I wouldn’t recommend it for the average eleven year old. In other words, this is definitely a book for a young adult audience. I think it would be great for book clubs (and intend to have mine read it) for a variety of reasons. One, it’s funny and full of quotes people will want to share. Two, you learn about baseball (I’ve always felt my ignorance was somewhat unpatriotic). Three, Parker’s problems are our problems. My friends deal with similar issues every day. I found Parker’s experiences were not only entertaining, but instructive. I can learn from her mistakes as well as her victories.

Overall, Stealing Parker is a book that will make you laugh and make you think. It’s complex. It’s life.

*Thank you so much, Sourcebooks, for the ARC!

January 6th, 2012

And we have a winner!

by Madeleine Rex

I’m very pleased to announce the winners of my Catching Jordan giveaway!

1. Susan Dennard

2. Erica Chapman

3. Alyssa

Congratulations, you guys! Email me via the “Contact Me” button to the left and leave me your address, and I’ll get things to you as soon as I can (Miranda has to sign them first)!

I hope you all enjoy Catching Jordan when you get a chance to read it. It’s a very sweet, very fun book that is sure to make you smile.

And one of the things crucial to making you smile is Sam Henry. I’m extending (yet again) my “Ask Henry” feature. I’m surprised that there are so few questions. Everyone: Go read the book! And then, ask away!

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Check out the cover of Miranda’s next book (which I am in the process of reading), Stealing Parker!

Simply because it is bound to be awesome, I made this so enormous you couldn’t miss it if you tried.

December 29th, 2011

A Very New Year (Urgent News! Please Read!)

by Madeleine Rex

I am so sincerely sorry. I really am. School this year has has forced me to give up plenty of the things I love to do – reading, writing, and blogging being only three of them. Last week, after considering what’s been going on lately, I told my dad that I thought it might be a good idea to quit the blog (while in tears). Not necessarily because I want to. In fact, not at all because I want to, but because a majority of the time, it just sits here, rotting and making me feel guilty.

He was pretty dang adamant when he said no.

The next morning, the first thing he told me after “Good morning” was that he had an idea. He proposed that I fix the crappy mess that is the last giveaway I attempted, and then take a new direction toward blogging.

It’s evident that I don’t have the time (or sanity) required to keep up with this blog as I’d like to. Not only do I not review books much anymore, but I hardly ever read them (yes, I said it). My dad came up with an alternative.

I’m opening up Wordbird to anyone who’s willing to lend it (and me) a hand. It would pretty much be a guest post opportunity for anything book related: reviews, posts on reading or writing, announcements about movie adaptations, anything. The goal would be a three guest posts a month, plus one that I would write on my own. If you’d like to write a guest post, click the “Help Needed” page above.

I know this is a lot to ask, but the horror of giving up Wordbird is only equaled by feeling guilty about it for the next six months. I need help.

I’ll admit I’m really worried this won’t get any response. If anyone’s still reading this, you are fantastically loyal readers and friends. Thank you.

And you definitely deserve a decent giveaway! I’m reopening the giveaway of Miranda’s Catching Jordan until January 6th, and am also going to direct you to the Ask Henry post, which will now be open for questions until January 6th as well. Please, whether you are willing to submit something to Wordbird or not, please take advantage of these great opportunities to spend time with Miranda’s characters!

Again, I want to say that I’m sorry. I hate that I’ve had to give up some of the most wonderful things in my life, but I’m hoping that the sacrifices I’m making now will make my future even better. Thank you so much for sticking with me, and I will heartily appreciate any help you can give to my blog.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to share books with you guys. Have a great New Year!