Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally-YA Contemporary Romance
Borrowed paperback ARC
Summary: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?
Miranda Kenneally knows how to create strong female characters. Even though Parker seems somewhat lost, she really is a tough girl. While she has this strength in common with Jordan, from Catching Jordan, the books couldn't have been more different. I loved watching Parker go through the trials she faced.
Parker Shelton has gone through some pretty major family changes in the past year. Her perception of her family life shattered and her faith in her church was put to question. While I'm not a very religious person, my father grew up in a strict religious household, so I could understand how the church was such a heavy influence on her life. At a time when she really needed guidance and support, she felt abandoned by her church. As a result, she did what anyone would do. She reacted. She quit the softball team, lost weight, started messing around with boys, and became less involved in church activities. Then...her best friend Drew makes her get involved with the baseball team as a trainer.
Parker is reluctant to become too involved with the team until she meets the new assistant coach. He's a good looking guy in his early twenties. While the age difference isn't that big, life experiences between the two broaden the bridge. Not to mention the fact that I can't condone a student/teacher relationship. However, I get the attraction of the relationship from both perspectives and I'll also admit that in a way, Brian WAS likable. Did I think he took advantage of Parker? Yes, I do, but I also believe that Parker knew what she was getting involved in. She knew the risks. I think that Parker needed some positive attention and she thought she was getting that from Brian, but really found it from Corndog aka Will.
You guys, I LOVE Will. While his association with Parker has always been competitive, you can clearly see he has a soft spot for her. I love that Will is so loving with his family. His little brother made my heart squeeze. I think Will started to fall for Parker when he saw her interaction with his brother. It was truly one of the sweetest moments in the book. Parker and Will develop a relationship slowly and certainly go through some serious stuff before they can get to the end.
I'd like to briefly mention that I love Parker's friendship with Drew. They have a true friendship. Even though they have their own struggles in the book, their dedication to each other remained strong.
We also get to see glimpses of SAM and Jordan in this book, which made me VERY happy. They are still as cute as ever!
Going into this book I knew it was going to have a very different tone than Catching Jordan. Stealing Parker dealt with some pretty heavy issues: religion, homosexuality, and student/teacher relationships. I'll admit that there were situations that made me uncomfortable, but overall, I really loved the story. This book is a story about forgiveness, courage, love, acceptance, and finding faith in yourself.