Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2)
by Miranda Kenneally
4 Stars: A Great Read
Paperback: 256 Pages
Publication: October 1, 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
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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?
Stealing Parker is filled with kicks, giggles, and the bittersweet angst that comes with the teen years when we make those stupid mistakes that seem so right at the time but become so wrong when we really think about it. Parker is a good girl. She was in the running for valeditorian (and made it), had a talent for softball, and had a life. When her mom comes out as a lesbian and leaves her family, Parker's life comes crumbling down and she makes drastic changes in her life. Her decisions aren't all the right ones, but she rationalizes them so well in her mind. If it weren't were certain strings of events, she could have made it though high school without the slutty reputation and dirty rumors. Parker is a very real and down-to-earth character. Underneath her pretty exterior, there's a fiery spirit sheltering a vulnerable interior, one that questions everything that's happened to her.
I've heard about the hot, to-die-for realistic guys of Miranda's, and I'm not disappointed. Will is one of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet. He's hot, and he knows it, but it's not overstated. After the initial introduction, I had to remind myself that girls would kill to hook up with him because he's so down-to-earth like Parker. He's a smartypants (losing the number one spot in school by a narrow margin), he has the wittiest exchanges with Parker ever, and he's into chick flicks. How cool is that? After meeting him, you can't not want a Will of your own! I also love Drew. He's a good friend to Parker and sticks with her through the worst of it. There was just this one thing he does towards the end (and which Will also does) that I felt was a bad move as a friend, though I can see where he's coming from.
That sums up the main characters. The others weren't as well developed; mostly, it didn't really matter for the plot, and oftentimes conflicts remain unresolved, especially with people who aren't worth the time that it takes to resolve things with them. Oftentimes, these people are jealous, petty, and uninterested in coming to an resolution of sorts. Then there are people like Brian who are indecisive and, in wanting what they can't have, do whatever they want and then give up without seeing things through. He's a jerk and worse.
While romance is at the heart of this story, religion also plays a role in this book. After being betrayed by her church and others that she trusted, Parker loses faith in God. She still writes to him, but she's struggling to find him, to find faith in herself. Losing her mother and so many other important things to her shakes Parker's faith in God and in people in general. Her struggles are something that I feel are relatable to many of us who struggled with faith while attending a religious institution. Even if you aren't religious or of the same religion as Parker, however, this book is one that you can enjoy. This isn't a religious story at its core, though Parker's letters to God play a role in shaping her background and showing us her internal conflicts without bogging down the story.
Humor, rocking dialogue, and memorable characters. This book has it all! I haven't read Catching Jordan, but I seriously have to get on it now because I just loved the scenes where Sam and Jordan appeared. A guy who puts on sparkles to prom and a girl who can put up with him? I have a feeling that I'm going to love them even more after reading their story than I already do now. Hundred Oaks is an amazing place. May I please move there? Absolutely can't wait to read the next book in this series!
Mature content warning: There are some sexual scenes and substance abuse.
A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.