2012-10-29

Home Run Blog Tour

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date ~ October 1, 2012
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13:  9781402271878
ARC received from Raincoast Books for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

As part of the Home Run Blog Tour highlighting Miranda Kenneally's sophomore book, Stealing Parker, I am thrilled to be able to share with you some of my thoughts on the book, a special guest post from Miranda, AND a giveaway for one of you lucky readers to win a copy of this new release!

Catching Jordan was one of those books that completely took the YA book world by STORM- and even I had to admit that I was pleasantly impressed by Miranda's debut release. Needless to say, there's been a fair amount of anticipation surrounding Stealing Parker as a result.

And while I wasn't completely sold on Stealing Parker's story, it struck me as an excellent companion to Catching Jordan and proves that Miranda has a very strong voice to contribute to the YA world with her stories.

  1. Realistic, flawed characters:

    My favourite part about Miranda's stories is that she doesn't shy away from asking hard questions and tackling tough issues and making her characters deal with them head on. She doesn't tiptoe around anything, and I think Stealing Parker is a devastatingly good example of this as Parker finds herself in a situation just begging to blow up in her face. She's often struggling with where she needs to draw the line, and I appreciated how her actions did have some ugly consequences - because Parker was living in the real world.
  2. Complicated questions:

    Remember how I mentioned that Miranda doesn't shy away from the tough issues? It's easy to see why Parker feels like she's dealing with a life crisis when you consider her fairly young age, lack of guidance from those around her, and the numerous changes she's had to adapt to in her life. Parker has to question everything she's known and relied on in her life, from her faith to her parents and even her closest friends. There's just something so raw about Parker's life, and I imagine a number of readers will be able to relate to at least some of these issues in one way or another.
While I felt like the build-up and anticipation in the story was wildly successful, it was the conclusion that left me feeling a tad uneasy. For the most part, Parker comes out relatively unscathed - and it felt just a little too much like all the issues had been neatly wrapped up and tied with a pretty little bow. It isn't that everything turns out perfect (because it doesn't), but I think that my strong sense of justice was still holding out for something more and I didn't feel like the plot delivered to my satisfaction.

And I personally wished we had delved a little bit deeper into Parker's character. I loved all the layers to her, and all of her messy mistakes and flaws but I don't think it was completely driven home for the reader. I can easily see how some may get tired of her at first, because she is so good at hiding the real Parker behind a mask that I'm not sure she truly shines through by the end.

Overall, I don't think Stealing Parker is quite as effective as Catching Jordan - it felt like there was a little too much heaviness for so few pages and like a bit more balance to the story could have worked better. But for fans who appreciate strong contemporary reads  that aren't entirely simple, Miranda's books are an excellent place to begin.


The Art of Making Mistakes by Miranda Kenneally

Why messing up is one of the most important things you can do

I love reading reviews of my books. I always listen to what people have to say in hopes I can make my writing better. However, there’s one thing I’ll never change about my books, no matter what: I’ve seen some readers get upset when my characters make mistakes.

My characters make big mistakes and small mistakes. Some decisions have serious repercussions on the life of not only my main character, but sometimes on the lives of others.

When I was a teenager, I did some very dumb things. Like, one time my parents told me I couldn’t go to the Aerosmith concert, but I took their car and went anyway. My parents got really upset. Sure, I loved the concert, but afterwards I had to live with the guilt of hurting my parents and doing something I knew was wrong. They grounded me for a month!

Another time, I told a friend a serious lie because I thought it would impress her. She was always doing things that were “cool” and I wanted to feel cool too. I wanted her to think I was worthy of our friendship. Instead of thinking I was cool, she told a bunch of people what I said and spread the gossip about me all over school. What made it especially bad was that some people knew it wasn’t true. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. And I was sad that my “friend” wasn’t a true friend. But I learned from the mistake. I learned not to lie anymore, and I learned that true friends will love me for who I am, not what I’ve done.

When I’m writing a book, I’m not scared to have my characters screw up. If we don’t screw up, we can’t learn, and then we can’t become better people.

LUCKY YOU!
Sourcebooks has VERY generously offered up ONE finished copy of Stealing Parker to one reader!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form & good luck! :)

US/Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


18 comments:

lisseth Torres said...

Interesting review. I really liked that you pointed out that Real flawed characters and complicated questions. Because I really like those two traits in a contemporary book. I can see that Parker's character was complicated. Really enticing review & I agree it sounds like a lovely tale ^_^

The Romance Bookie said...

Great review! Like Lisseth said, great analysis of the flawed characters! I loved this book, however, I will admit there was something about "Catching Jordan" that still makes it my #1 choice for a Miranda Kenneally book! :)

tiffing said...

Awesome review. I love contemporary YA and I absolutely love flawed characters. I like the premise of this one - haven't read Catching Jordan yet, but it's on my list.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Shelver506 said...

This is one of several good reviews I've read about STEALING PARKER. I hope I'll win so I can read it!

Lacey T said...

I can totally understand how an ending isn't satisfactory. I feel that way with other books too. I really liked Catching Jordan, so I'm glad that the characters are still very realistic! Great review!

TayteH said...

Not as good as Catching Jordan you say? Odd, most reviews I've read said it was better. Oh well, to one's own opinion. And the ending isn't as good? Dang. I'm going to be cautious going into this book then. :)

Na said...

I really enjoyed Catching Jordan so I'm looking forward to this one. Characters that are realistic and I can connect with definitely makes me want to read it. I hope I'll enjoy it even if it seems Catching Jordan was better.

Christina said...

I pretty much agreed with you, though I don't remember being bothered by the conclusion. I do think the criticism of a bit too many dark issues for such a short book has definite merit. I would have also liked to find out whether her family finally changed churches, and, from what I recall, we don't.

Catching Jordan was a bit more solid for me, but I liked this one as well.

k.elizabeth said...

Great review! I've read so many good reviews about Stealing Parker. Can't wait to read it myself.

Angie said...

I haven't read either Stealing Parker nor Catching Jordan, but I've been really dying to. I love contemporaries with realistic premises.

Judith-Pamela Ayimma said...

I like this review, and hope that this book is just as good, if not better, than the first for me!

Natasha said...

Great review!! I can't wait to read this one!

Grace Lo said...

Fantastic review! I love authors who go for the hard questions and tackle them like nothing else matters. I haven't read Catching Jordan yet, and hope to do so soon! Also, awesome guest post!

Alicia said...

I like that you said that the build up was good, there have been a few books I have read recently where I didn't realize I was almost done with the book because I felt that the plot had not progressed at all - stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. I am a little worried about the conclusion from your review, but I still want to give the book a shot :).

Marie-Michel said...

It's not the first time I read a review saying that they were bothered by the conclusion. I can't wait to read this book to find out if I feel this way too.

SarahO said...

I tried to read as much of the review as I could without spoiling the book for myself and I'm glad to see you liked it for the most part. It's unfortunate that you weren't sold on the ending because often that can taint someone's view of the whole book. I'm still really excited to read this one though.

Hushed Paradox said...

I loved Catching Jordan and thought this was going to be equally good. Thanks for giving an honest review.

- Stella

Kris Mathewson said...

Great Review!!I have read so many great things about this one, i can't wait to read it!!

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