281 pgs, 2011Kindle
256 pgs, 2012
Summaries from Publishers WeeklyCatching Jordan
Jordan Woods is the captain and quarterback of her high school football team in Franklin, Tenn. (“I mean, obviously I think Justin Timberlake is a megahunk, but I’m also over six feet tall and can launch a football fifty yards,” she boasts). Jordan single-mindedly pursues her dream of getting a football scholarship to the University of Alabama until Ty, a hot quarterback from Texas, moves to town and throws her off her game. In addition to Jordan’s instant crush on the new competition, her father (a starting NFL quarterback) won’t come to her games; she is under the scrutiny of recruiters; and her longtime best friend is in love with her. When Jordan breaks her own rules and starts dating Ty, she must re-evaluate her priorities. Jordan’s team’s wholesale acceptance of a female quarterback strains credibility, but debut author Kenneally does a solid job of depicting Jordan’s conflicted emotions, the pressure she is under, and her testy relationship with her father. Despite the gridiron setting, this is at its heart a romance—most of the action and drama takes place off the field.
Parker Shelton wants everyone to know one thing about her: she likes boys. After her mother divorced her father for another woman, Parker has made it her goal to be seen with guys. Lots of them. But when not-quite-legal Parker sets her sights on the boys’ baseball coach, things get dicey—even for her. Parker is also growing closer to her academic rival, Will, a thoughtful, chivalrous guy who her newly out BFF Drew secretly has the hots for, too. Further complicating matters: a brother who’s constantly drunk or high, a father who thinks the church has all the answers, and a former friend intent on taking Parker down. Kenneally (Catching Jordan) writes with heart, earnestly tackling such challenges as being a teen with a gay parent and being unsure of one’s faith. Parker’s insecurities, her desire to be loved, and her uncertainty about how far to take her steamy but illegal relationship are realistic. Not only will readers want to see Parker find true love, they’ll also hope she learns to love herself.
My Thoughts on Catching Jordan
I hate to even acknowledge this, but I struggled to get past the premise of Catching Jordan. I’m a girl and I LOVE football. I know football. And I commend the author because the football related sections of the book are accurate (except that the author is clearly a Tennessee fan and living in fantasy land – Tennessee hasn’t been relevant in a decade). I believe there are some very talented female athletes out there and I can even believe one would be successful at the high school level, BUT I just don’t see there being any Division 1 scholarship interest for a female QB. Jordan has her heart set on Alabama and it becomes clear that the only reason they are returning the interest is so they can use her as a recruiting tool. First of all, Alabama doesn’t need recruiting help. When you’ve won a few recent National Championships recruiting gets easier. Second of all, why would having a female on the team assist in recruiting? And finally, the way she is treated by Alabama’s (fictional) head coach and athletic director makes it clear they have no intention of her ever playing – which opens them up to a myriad of lawsuits. Basically they don’t have to even look at women football players when recruiting, but the second they have one on the team she has to be given a fair shot at playing (there was a lawsuit a few years ago).
Anyway I kept getting distracted by these issues so I never got completely immersed in the book. I like Jordan, she wasn’t perfect, sometimes judged other girls too quickly, but her relationships with the guys on the team were fun and genuine. The QB competitor and love interest, Ty, was a little two dimensional, but I liked that the author painted a realistic look at what high school dating is like (even when it isn’t what we want it to be). Jordan’s relationship with her best friend Sam was much more fleshed out and interesting.
Overall it was fun, entertaining, and quick read. And I liked it enough to follow up with the companion Stealing Parker.
My RatingEnjoyability – 3 out of 5
Relationships – 2.5 out of 5
Writing – 3 out of 5
Entertaining in the moment, but pretty forgettable. I don’t even really see myself rereading it.
My Thoughts on Stealing Parker
I found Stealing Parker to be much easier to lose myself in because I bought the premise. Parker’s mom left their family for another woman. Parker lost all but one of her “friends” at the same time, basically cause they were stereotypical judge-y church friends. One of whom spread rumors that Parker was gay too. So Parker quit softball (which she LOVED), dropped some weight and started to fool around with boys to prove the rumors wrong. Too make matters worse Parker’s father won’t admit that maybe the church they attend is a problem and continues to attend and insist Parker attend.
I felt like the author did a great job of giving Parker depth. You understood why she was doing things even though doing them made her feel worse. Unlike quite a few TV shows I could name, Kenneally doesn’t glamorize the relationship with the adult coach. The best years of his life were clearly high school and he doesn’t know how to grow up. I did feel like Stealing Parker followed a similar script as Catching Jordan. I knew which guy Parker would end up with about 10 pgs in.
Again it was fun, entertaining, and quick to read. The author has 4 more companion books in this series, 2 of which come out this year. I may try one more.
Enjoyability – 3.5 out of 5
Relationships – 3 out of 5
Writing – 3 out of 5Entertaining in the moment, but pretty forgettable. I can see myself rereading when I need something light.