Posts tagged ‘mirandakenneally’

July 18th, 2011

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Catching Jordan

Author: Miranda Kenneally (!!! Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Published: December 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

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 now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starting position… suddenly she’s hoping he’ll see her as more than just a teammate. [From Goodreads]

Blurb:

There are two fundamental things in this world that baffle teenage girls – love and football. A clever and gorgeously written novel about characters I’d love to see walking the halls of my own high school, Catching Jordan manages to teach the truth about both.

Review:

This book gets better every time I read it. It has a timelessness to it, and particularly to its characters, that I believe will never fail to enthrall me.

I’ll admit: Catching Jordan‘s first few paragraphs are a little scary. Blitzing? What on earth is blitzing? But it only takes a moment before Jordan’s voice seeps through the football jargon, and you’ll be infatuated. Jordan is an open, raw, no-nonsense sort of narrator, and she has such an entertaining, sarcastic, joking way of looking at the world. (Can you tell I love her? That sentence had six happy adjectives!) Even when she made some silly decisions, I knew that she would turn out just fine. She’s strong, tomboyish, but unarguably a girl. No matter how hard she might try to maintain a sort of manly, domineering force on her team, the reader knows she’s just as susceptible to mucky teenage-girl feelings as any other girl is. This fact ensures that non-sporty girls like myself will feel the crucial emotional connection with Jordan that we all look for in a protagonist.

Within the first five pages, the reader is made aware of what’s at stake for Jordan, and within the first chapter, a threat is targeted. At stake? The state championship and, potentially, a full-ride to her dream school, Alabama. The threat? Ty Green, gorgeous, alluring, quarterback extraordinaire. For once, Jordan feels vulnerable. Will he steal her heart? Or worst – her position?

And from there sprouts a fantastic story of friendship, love, mistakes, family, teammates, and, well, Jordan Woods. Despite her confidence on the field, the Jordan at the beginning of the book is uncomfortable in her own skin. She has a specific, flawed idea of who she’s supposed to be, but as a reader, it’s evident that the real her is boiling under the surface, ready to surge over.

One of my favorite things about Catching Jordan is the team, particularly JJ, Carter, and Henry. JJ’s an oddly lovable sort of fellow. If I saw him from a distance, I might roll my eyes, but he’s a fantastic friend. Carter seems to have a story of his very own, and I enjoyed keeping an eye on him. And Henry…

HENRY.

Henry is phenomenal! I absolutely adore him. His irresistible, silly, humor is just the sort that wins me over every time. The history between him and Jordan felt so real, so substantial. Miranda expertly wove their past into the book, enriching their relationship and their characters. A girl would do just about anything for a friend like him – like play football. Yes, maybe even that.

Family plays just as important a roll in Jordan’s development as her team does. In fact, Jordan’s relationship with her father is an extremely sensitive issue. Though the entire state acknowledges her talent and potential, her father stands alone in his disapproval. Having the great Donovan Woods, quarterback for the Tennessee Titans might appear to be an asset, but his lack of support for her drives Jordan crazy. In my opinion, Jordan’s future was hinged on the evolution of their relationship.

Another feature of the book I appreciated was the poetry embedded between chapters every now and again. I couldn’t write poetry like that to rescue my books from a raging fire! (Although that’s a pretty shabby compliment, considering how terrible my poetry is. They’re very lackluster, while Jordan’s are the opposite.) The poems are laced with Jordan’s witty, comical voice, but also tend to express some of the emotions and feelings she’s too self-conscious to reveal verbally. They round her character and allow the reader to take a peek into her deeper feelings.

Miranda Kenneally is an abundantly talented writer. Her style and voice are riveting, and her characters are extraordinary. (Think Sarah Dessen but… funnier.) Catching Jordan is her debut novel, and I can assure you that she has much more in store for YA readers.

I can’t wait for Catching Jordan to hit shelves and for all of you to have the opportunity to befriend the fantastic characters within it. In fact, go ahead and preorder now to avoid the horror that would be wasting a single moment!

P.S. This horrible review does not do the book justice. My creative juices are simply not flowing this morning. However, if you want a real taste of this book, you can check out an excerpt here.

July 15th, 2011

Broken News!

by Madeleine Rex

As seems to always be the case lately, I’m a little late to the party. However, I’m so excited by the many wonderful developments this week that I can’t keep myself from sharing them with you!

And I know a few of you are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winner of my ARC of Kiersten White’s SupernaturallyCongratulations, Kailia Sage! I’m sure you’ll adore it. Treasure it. Treat it well.

Now… on to the other wonderful news!

1. After much anticipation and a slightly unhealthy amount of obsession over the mail (seriously – my mailman’s lucky I wasn’t stalking him), I received my ARC of Catching Jordan (December, 2011) by my friend, Miranda Kenneally. It’s such a fabulous book, which I knew all along, but my love for it has been renewed since I started a reread. Her characters are priceless, folks. Timeless, too. They’re the whole enchilada. If you have not added Catching Jordan to your to-read shelf on Goodreads, go. Now. (Also: I’m in the acknowledgements! Miranda’s a fantastic friend, and I’m so grateful for her.)

2. HARRY POTTER. Need I say more? No? Too bad; I’m going to. I’m so excited! I firmly believe this movie will be epic – it has to be, really, to be deserving of the Harry Potter title. Sadly, I am not going to the midnight showing (I’d be standing outside the theater door right now), but my family and I have tickets for Saturday afternoon. My dear great uncle is here to visit and wants to come along, and he’s 84, so midnight isn’t exactly his ideal movie-watching time. He’s worth the sacrifice.

3. I was late, per usual, to join the hubbub surrounding Tahereh Mafi’s upcoming debut, Shatter Me (November, 2011). It wasn’t until I saw the cover today (and was astonished by it) that I took a look at the synopsis. I am desperate to read it, now! The cover was just revealed, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I typically disapprove of the overused “girl with pretty dress and conservative colors” theme, but there’s something I can’t quite nail down that stands out about this cover. Maybe it’s the awesome strike-throughs or the killer tagline. Whatever that thing may be, the synopsis only emphasizes this book’s potential, and I can’t wait to read it!

4. Julie Kagawa gave a ground-breaking announcement this week! Seriously folks – she wasn’t aiming to surprise, she was aiming to send her fans into comas (not that I’m trying to insinuate that she’s evil. I’m sure she’s lovely). Not only did she announce a spin-off trilogy to her popular Iron Fey series (staring the Iron Fey protagonist’s little brother years later), but an entirely separate series as well. The new series is a post-apocalyptic vampire series entitled “Blood of Eden,” a title that I think is perfectly classy and intriguing. I’m not sure which one I’m more interested in.

5. Kiersten White, who has to be one of my favorite people, announced the title of the third book in the Paranormalcy series. I think the title, Endlessly, is elegant and perfect for the end of Evie’s journey. There’s even something about it that is more… mature than the titles of the other two books. Evie’s come a long way.

6. I won’t force you to read this because I doubt you really care, but I’m almost done with draft two of The Lemonites! I’m so thrilled to be wrapping up this draft, and I feel like the story has evolved so much. Though there’s tons more to deal with, I feel a lot more confident. I incorporated a few new aspects that I hope will enrich the entire experience that is my beloved WIP. Now let’s just cross our fingers and pray that my critique partners agree…!

I realize I just talked your ear off, and I apologize to those of you I lost. I feel the urge to spend as much time with you as I can. I’ve missed this blog. I’ve missed Twitter. Honestly, my life has become so hectic lately that I’ve doubted whether I could keep Wordbird alive, but as long as I’m still kicking, it will be, too. Thanks so much for the support you’ve given me, whether it be through comments, advice, or simple page views. It blows my mind to think that people out there want to know what I have to say. Particularly when I can’t seem to shut up.

Speaking of which, I’ll leave you be. Enjoy the big, wide world of books!

July 12th, 2011

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: One Night That Changes Everything

Author: Lauren Barnholdt

Published: July 6th, 2010

Number of Pages: 256

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transfered and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to—like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini…you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right? Well, she’ll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn’t move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it’s two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup…turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won’t give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It’s torture…until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they’ll want to trade her notebook for. What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he’s stolen her notebook, and how freeing—and life-changing—it can be to do the things you fear the most. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

Eliza: The problem with YOU is that you don’t take the RESPONSIBILITY for anything@ You think you can just run around, doing whatever you want to whoever you want, and that it’s going to be fine. That everything is just going to be TAKE CARE of for you, with no consequences.

Cooper: No. I don’t, and I have had consequences from what happened with me and you.

Eliza: Yeah? Like what?

Cooper: I lost you, that was my consequence.

(Kind of corny, but very cute, right?)

Review:

I was originally turned-off by the cover of this book because it reminds me of something along the lines of Gossip Girls (which isn’t quite my sort of book), but Miranda Kenneally informed me that the book is about a girl who doesn’t typically do those things you’d associate with Gossip Girls. So – count me in.

I bought on a Tuesday and was finished sometime Wednesday afternoon. I loved the ease with which I could read it. There’s a simple, soothing flow to the narration and the plot, despite the fact that Eliza would call her adventure anything but soothing. From the very beginning of the book, the reader knows what’s at stake, why it’s a big deal, and that Eliza will do just about anything to rescue that purple notebook from the clutches of the taunting boys. After all – how could you be okay with a list of your worst, most personal fears splattered all over the internet? Particularly when some of those fears involve people you love and whose good side you want to stay on?

Eliza’s voice isn’t unpleasant or “clunky.” I truly felt like I was reading from the point of view of someone I’d run into in my French class. My issue with her voice was that it could have been anyone in my French class. It wasn’t unique enough to stand out. I don’t expect everyone to be as clever as John Green’s characters or as emotional as Jennifer Donnelly’s, but I do want there to be some trait that is solely this character, this person. Eliza simply didn’t feel individual to me. If her friends hadn’t mentioned traits of hers (for example, they say she’s very smart), I wouldn’t have perceived them from her narration.

The adventure or quest manages to be light-hearted while keeping the humiliating consequences at the forefront. I never lost sight of the seriousness of the situation, but I could ride along with the characters without, well, freaking out. This book is just the sort of thing you’d want to bring with you on a car trip or on vacation, and it was perfect for a quick Spring Break read. I’d also recommend it to girls (this probably wouldn’t appeal to boys) who don’t typically enjoy reading.

Eliza’s ex-boyfriend, Cooper, ends up playing a much larger role in the entire notebook situation than Eliza would have expected – or hoped, for that matter. I knew from the very beginning that something serious must have happened to pull them apart because Cooper comes off as a really nice guy, despite Eliza’s anger with him. I couldn’t understand what he could have done to wreck things, and that made the relationship far more interesting. I knew something had gone seriously wrong. I also knew that though she’d dumped him, their relationship wasn’t over – either they were going to find closure, or something just as crazy as the event that broke them up was going to bring them back together.

Overall, I think the main reason I didn’t feel satisfied after reading One Night That Changes Everything was Eliza. She definitely grows and learns some valuable lessons on her insane trip around Boston, but there were certain areas in which she just fell short. Her voice wasn’t spectacular and her choices weren’t always ones I could back up. Sure, she was likable, but she wasn’t the sort of person I’d want to be close friends with, and it’s far easier to cheer someone on when you feel like you want to get to know them better. Eliza’s innermost secrets were laid out in front of me, but I didn’t feel the urge to look at them.

I’m sure I’ll pick up another book of Lauren Barnholdt’s, as it was her character that didn’t wow me, not her. I think the premise of the novel is an interesting one, and the journey the characters take through the book was fast-paced and well-managed. I’m excited to see what she else she’s come up with and how she handles other scenarios and, most importantly, other characters.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of an ARC of Supernaturally by Kiersten White! You have until this Thursday to enter!