Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: October 1st 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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?

Discovering Miranda Kenneally last year as one of the biggest contemporary YA sensations was really awesome. I adore her smooth, effortless writing and sweet, real and honest characters. They're easy to relate to and make rooting for them fun. Whereas I absolutely loved Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker unfortunately didn't live up to my hopes. Let me tell you all about it.

“Sometimes you gotta do what’s right for you and forget about everybody else. All that matters is what you want. What you need.”

First of all, I had heard that these books held religion in them, but it wasn't such a huge part in Jordan's book. Stealing Parker was more religion-oriented and while I don't judge anyone who is even slightly religious, no, it did make me feel a little uncomfortable I guess. I actually wasn't a big fan of Parker, but she did grow on me with the last couple of chapters. I guess I didn't fully understand her that much, hence me not connecting with her.

The three guys in Parker's life

  1. At the beginning of the novel, I was impressed with Drew. He came out of the closet. (Sort of.) He was a great friend. Then, all of the sudden, I was really disappointed in Drew when he turned his back on Parker thanks to that thing with Will. She was right, he didn’t listen to her nor let her explain. He came back though, didn’t he? I guess I can forgive him.
  2. I loved Will. He was such a refreshing character and I like how even though the guys in Miranda’s books are pretty much as popular as they come, they aren’t jerks nor are they dark, mysterious etc. They’re still ordinary, flawed guys, but they’re also friendly, caring and fun. That makes Sam Henry and Will so awesome and great to root for. 
  3. On another note, I didn’t like this Brian guy at all. He was such a d-bag. He was so selfish and I still don’t know if he truly cared about Parker or just wanted to have a good time. The way he said Park to her, made me furrow my brows and widen my eyes. Dude, it wasn’t cute, but rather annoying actually.

My favorite part of the book: Parker and her mom

Even though romance rules as a king on a high throne in this plot, the biggest issue is still Parker and her mom because if it wasn’t for what happened, Parker probably wouldn’t be hooking up with all of these people. She’s so upset with her mom and the fallback that happened after she left and it was heartbreaking to watch. When they finally reconnected, it was the most emotional part of my reading experience regarding this book. I really liked the ending. Also, I agreed with Parker’s mom when she said that some people are better of friends than lovers. That’s a grain of life wisdom, cupcakes!

All in all, I was let down by this piece. I didn’t really connect with Parker nor was I fan of the plot. I guess I had these huge expectations after finishing Catching Jordan and loving every minute of it, but you know.. I’m not giving up on Miranda. Her writing is strong and the ending chapters are always my favorite--the ones where the story comes together. There are 4 more books for me to explore and I will devour them all piece by piece. Some of them sooner than later :)

Overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 
Stars: ★★★

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  1. Woah...three dudes? Never saw that coming. I've seen mixed reactions towards this novel---but Will sounds really sweet! Such a shame that you couldn't connect with Parker that easily :(

    Lovely review! <33

    1. Ha, well, one of them was the gay best friend, so not that worrying, but she did get around a lot because of her family issues. Will was one of the things that saved the novel in my eyes:) Thank you, Melanie!

  2. I'm with Mel...she does have a lot of dudes around. Anyhow I still haven't read the first book or actually any by this author but I don't think I'll get to this one. I mean I don't like books with religion in them, mostly cause I couldn't care less about religious things so it's hard to connect with all that. Sorry this one disappointed you girl. I'm sure you'll enjoy your next read. Amazing review, Siiri :)

  3. I still haven't read the first book in this series. I'm wary about it, given the religious nature and the general characters, but I am curious. I'm not sure I'd be able to connect with Parker in this one, though, even though I do feel bad for her because her mother's actions had a serious impact on her. She just sounds like someone I might end up getting frustrated with, and as for the guys - both their own characters and in relation to Parker...I'm just not sure. I'm sorry this one disappointed you, Siiri, especially since you loved the first one so much, but thanks for the lovely review! :)

  4. I didn't like this one as much as the others either. I also had trouble with Parker and the romance with that d-bag wasn't my thing. It sort of annoyed me throughout.
    I think my favorite book in this series is Kate's story. It's heavy on the religion but it's also got the best romance.
    Great review, Siiri. Sorry this disappointed you! :(

  5. Awwww sorry this one didn't quite rock your socks off as Catching Jordan did Siiri! I agree it wasn't as strong as Jordan's story, like you, the prominence of the religious element was a touch uncomfortable for me at times, but overall I really liked the story. Like you said, she writes really fantastic male characters - swoon worthy guys who don't go hot and cold all the time or aren't dark and brooding, just seemingly normal, nice guys. I still need to read the rest of the books as well, maybe we can tackle them together!

  6. The mother daughter relationship sounds like something that I would really enjoy about the story as well

  7. Although I liked this one, this isn't my favorite Miranda book. That goes to Catching Parker and Racing Savannah :)
    Sorry this one didn't work for you.

  8. I actually haven't read this series, but I've heard much good about it! I'm sorry this one didn't work for you :(

    The mother/daughter relationship sounds really interesting though: I love it when books focus on family dynamics!

  9. I think a lot of people struggled with this one. The third book has a lot of religion, but not preachy. I do agree that Kenneally is a great writer.
    Very nice review!

  10. I have not read this yet, but I know people who rave about it all the time. Three days? :( gosh I cannot stand triangles let alone..erm squares? lol

  11. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as Catching Jordan. I hated the whole Brian angle, and I know I would've loved this more if the romance was focused more on Will and Parker. I totally agree, Brian was a total D-bag and I was disappointed that Parker didn't catch on sooner. I rated this high at the time, but looking back I'm not as thrilled with this story. I had even more trouble with the next one. I didn't even end up finishing it. Great review, Siiri! :)

  12. Read Racing Savannah! I haven't read the previous ones, but I did really enjoy that one. Dang, three guys? Well, at least Will is a keeper. And while romance is the main point, I'm glad that Kenneally gave a familial aspect that we could focus on as well. Sorry you didn't like it more!

  13. I know what you mean about religion in a book making you slightly uncomfortable, but I don't have anything against it. Wow, there's 3 guys in Parker's life? What a lucky girl! Too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  14. Nice review (: I've read Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker and Racing Savannah. Honestly, if you were uncomfortable with amount of religion in this book, I wouldn't read 'The things I can't Forget." For me that third one of the Hundred Oaks series focused on religion the most and the main character was even more hard to relate to (and honestly annoying) then Parker. It was also incredibly slow paced. All of those things made it a DNF for me. My favorite book of the series is still Catching Jordan, with Racing Savannah falling second.

    Anyway this was a great review of Stealing Parker! (: I definitely agree with the points made about religion.

  15. Great review! I agree so much with all the points you brought up. I thought the religion part was a bit overkill. I also thought the book series wasn't all that consistent. I mean, I thought the books were all about these athletic girls, but then suddenly the author brings in religion. Then the sport didn't become such a big part of the story anymore, unlike in Catching Jordan. Catching Jordan is my favorite out of all the books!

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

  16. I still haven't started this series, though I've heard lots of rave reviews. Still, I think I might struggle with this book as you did. I think this girl's behavior would make me uncomfortable, even if it is honest. I just have never dealt with problems like this girl does. But I'd like to read these sometime anyway. Sorry this book didn't work as well for you, but I'm curious whether you like the next one better or not. Also, I like this phrase: "romance rules as a king on a high throne in this plot" It made me chuckle! Thanks for the honest review.