Saturday, March 9, 2013
Sourcebooks Fire, 2012
YA Contemporary Sports
Although I had a very negative reaction to Kenneally's Catching Jordan, I thought that might be a fluke and resolved to try another book as well. Unfortunately this one didn't really work for me either, partly for the same reasons but also for its own problems.
A brief summary: Set in the same community as Chasing Jordan, we turn our attention to Parker whose mother came out and who has subsequently set out to prove that she is very much a straight girl by kissing as many boys as she can. When the baseball team gets a new hunky young coach, she soon finds herself playing with fire as they engage in a dangerous flirtation.
I found the first half of this book alternately boring and frustrating. I didn't feel like it really got good until Parker finally turned to her mother (loved her!) for help. Although Parker thinks back to her great life before her mother's scandal, I never really felt like I had a sense of it and thus I didn't sympathize with Parker over losing it (does that make sense?)
Like Catching Jordan, I felt like this book was somewhat anti-girl as Parker has mostly horrid experiences with her fellow females while the guys all have fun personalities who don't scorn her based on her mother's choices (and not just because she's pretty and makes out with some of them). I also thought there could have been more focus on baseball/softball whereas it seemed to be used more for window dressing. Also like in Catching Jordan, the first guy the protagonist hooks up with is just a prelude for the guy she really likes (who I called as being her ultimate date within the first ten pages)-it felt like a recycled plot although the details are pretty different.
Don't worry-I did like some things plus the book is short so I had no problem finishing it. Like I said, I really liked Parker's mother once we got to spend some page time with her. I also liked how angry Parker was. Angry characters can be really fun even when they make tremendously stupid decisions as Parker does. I really loved her growth and that is what made the second half of the book much better.
Overall: Unless someone tells me there is a huge shift in writing style and tone, I think I will have to stay away from Kenneally's Thousand Oaks books no more how much the fun summaries and bright covers tempt me :( We just don't work.
Other Opinions-I'm very much in the minority here:
Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
The Book Scout