The reason I love blogging so much is that it makes me able to talk to people who like the same things I do. However, when I just started this blog I would never have thought that blogging would allow me to meet some of my best friends in the entire world. But then I met Amber, at the end of 2012, and she has been one of my favorite people ever since. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her, not only with this blog, but also in life in general. We talk every single day, and I wouldn’t change this friendship for the world. Anyway, earlier this year Amber decided it was time for a visit (which we’d been talking about forever but had somehow not happened yet) and then in November, there we were.
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: December 1, 2011
Genre/Age Group: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Gifted, Purchased
Add it: Goodreads
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
I thought about reviewing these books separately but since Ellice has already done that and I don’t think I could fill four paragraphs about each book, here is a series of mini reviews instead. I was going to wait to post this until I had also read Breathe, Annie, Breathe but then this review just sort of typed itself and here we are. Just roll with it.
Miranda Kenneally’s books are a bit misleading because judging by just the covers and the titles they seem to be fluffy contemporary reads where the romance is the main plot point, so I was a bit surprised when all of these books turned out to be about a lot more than just romance. They are all stories about girls dealing with growing up and trying to figure out what exactly they want from life, set in a lovely Southern town. There is definitely romance, but it doesn’t define the plot, and I love that. Most of all, I think these books have incredible character development that I am certain readers who went through high school graduation and trying to figure out what you want to do in life can relate to. I definitely could. Even though these books are not all fluff, reading them just made me incredibly happy.
When I think about this series, I usually say that Catching Jordan is my favorite, but I’m really not sure if it is, since all these books were amazing. I did, however, thoroughly adore this first book. Jordan was a lovely main character, her growth was incredible, and I was rooting for her all the way, but the friendship was even more amazing, and probably my favorite aspect. Not just Jordan and Sam Henry were great, but also JJ and Carter (and later Carrie and Marie). I loved to see Jordan with the guys, and they all cared so much about each other. The only thing I didn’t like was Ty, who was controlling and just really not worthy of Jordan’s awesomeness. Jordan’s dad was a sexist pig for the most part as well, and I wanted to smack him many, many times, but at least he redeems himself, and I think it’s great that Jordan’s parents played such a huge part in her trying to figure out the future. Also, hi Sam Henry, I love you.
I adore Jordan and Sam Henry, but I love Parker and Will Whitfield just as much. My only issue with Stealing Parker was that it was so short. I wanted more more from these characters and their stories and I was a little disappointed it wrapped up so quickly. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book just as much as I loved Catching Jordan. Parker is a loveable character who has a great sense of humor and makes a lot of mistakes, but ultimately, grows so amazingly. Aside from amazing romance (that was equal and loving and I want it), family dynamics were a big part of this story, which I loved, even though I wanted to smack Parker’s dad at times. I like that, while Parker regrets parts of her relationship with Brian, she never blames him for it. They both had issues and Parker realizes that, which to me was the most important part of her growth. It was lovely to watch Parker grow into herself and be confident again.
Things I Can’t Forget is the kind of the odd one out in this series, but maybe also Kenneally’s best work of the four. Not only does it have a different title and does it lack sports as a main theme, but this book takes place in the summer after high school, another really defining moment in a person’s life. This book is about Kate, whose goal is to live according to the rules of her church. She is very judgmental in the beginning and that honestly annoyed me, but I think that was Kenneally’s point. Because Kate’s off-putting attitude at the start is mostly what makes her growth stand out. It was great to see her reevaluate everything she thought she knew and ultimately come out more mature. This is one of the best character growths I have ever seen. But of course, I also adored Matt and their relationship, because while Kate broadens her horizons, she also stays true to herself. She is still not the most likeable character, to me, but she is so real.
I wish I loved Racing Savannah as much as the other three, but unfortunately, it is my least favorite so far. I was really emotionally invested in the other books and while there were moments in this book that really got to me, my feelings for it stayed rather surface-level for the entire story. The good? Savannah was a great main character, who knew exactly what she wanted and was confident enough to fight for it. Her love for horses also came across really well, and I loved that aspect (which surprised me because I am terrified of horses). Rory Whitfield is everything, and the cameos of the previous characters made me cry because OH MY GOD. The not so good? I didn’t like Jack, and I thought their romance developed too quickly and left me unattached. It’s not the book’s fault at all, because it’s still a good story, but I need to feel something in order to love something, and this book just didn’t do that for me.
One last thing I want to point out is that I love how sex-positive these books are. In Catching Jordan, Jordan is a virgin at the beginning of the story and then she sleeps with a guy, but ends up with another guy. But no matter what, Jordan is never shamed for anything she does. She does what she does because she wants to do it, and then she just doesn’t end up with that guy. She doesn’t regret it, but realizes he wasn’t for her. In the next two books church is a main theme, but while there is definitely virgin shaming, both Parker and Kate ultimately realize that they shouldn’t care about this (Parker) or that it is not okay to do so (Kate). With Savannah it’s mostly about what she is comfortable with herself, and she just does whatever she enjoys. I feel like it’s rare that books talk so positively about sex. It’s not portrayed as A Big Thing when characters masturbate or have sex, and it’s all about feeling comfortable. I think that is so important.
All in all, Miranda Kenneally writes books about girls trying to find out who they are, and she does that in a way that revolves around comfort and learning. Even though these are marketed as fluffy reads, they are so much deeper than that, and I love them for it. But despite the sometimes heavy topics, these books make me so incredibly happy, and I can’t wait to read Breathe, Annie, Breathe and whatever Kenneally writes after that.
“You know what I think about dreams? . . . That if you send too much time dreaming, you’ll stop actually doing. And when you actually do stuff, there’s a good chance things will work out. We make things happen by attacking, not by sitting around dreaming.”
– Catching Jordan
“I see the guys on the football team and baseball teams who have girlfriends, and it’s like… it’s like it’s their whole lives. I guess I want to have my own life first and then meet someone who can be a part of it… but not fill it…?”
– Stealing Parker
“Learning is never a bad thing. And neither is changing your mind about things… It’s always good to reevaluate. To think and consider all sides.”
– Things I Can’t Forget
“I want to scream at him for kissing me, for leading me on, but I don’t want to be a mean, vindictive girl. That’s not who I am. I don’t need a guy to validate me.”
– Racing Savannah