Posts tagged ‘sam henry’

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!

November 24th, 2011

Ask Henry – Day 1 of the Week of CATCHING JORDAN

by Madeleine Rex

IT’S ALMOST HERE!

Catching Jordan, written by the fabulous writer, friend, and critique partner, Miranda Kenneally, will be released in a mere week! I believe a celebration is in order. Nay, not one celebration, but an entire week of celebrations. Today is day one.

Ask Henry

I am not exaggerating when I say that Henry (real name: Sam Henry) is one of the most hilarious, rowdy, and sweet people I’ve ever read about. He is also quite a ladies’ man. This boy knows what he’s doing. Would you like a taste of that witty wisdom? Now is your chance to grab a bite.

Henry is willing to answer your questions in an advice column. Anything and everything, people. He’s not picky. Just make sure you comment on this post by Monday, December 5th. Miranda and I will pick the best 10 questions, and we’ll be giving away some Catching Jordan bookmarks as well.

So, eat your turkey, and while you’re in the sleepy haze following dinner, ask us a question! And make sure to check back here for an inverview, giveaways, and more!

Happy Catching Jordan Week!

(Oh. Happy Thanksgiving, too.)

EDIT: Extended to January 20th!