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Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker by Miranda KenneallyI am not one to seek out books I know I won’t like—that’s not how I roll. Despite that my negative reviews generate more pageviews and more comments, I have zero interest in reading things that don’t appeal to me. There are far too many books in the world to waste my precious reading time that way.

As a result of that, I know some of you will be surprised that I read Stealing Parker after Miranda Kenneally’s debut, Catching Jordan was a quick “did-not-finish” book, due to its ridiculous implausibility and extremely troubling themes. 

Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist trying Stealing Parker, as I am desperate for a quality sports-themed read and I’ve grown to adore baseball. (Guess who saw a perfect game—in person—this summer? That’s right, this girl!) Unfortunately, while I did finish Stealing Parker, it was a struggle. I am certain many readers will enjoy in this book, but for me it was too shallow and too inauthentic to recommend.

Seventeen year-old Parker is a former high school softball star who quits the team, loses 20 pounds and starts kissing inappropriate boys after her mother announces she’s a lesbian and moves away to live with her girlfriend. Her mother’s news scandalizes Parker’s conservative small town and particularly Parker’s family’s church community.

In this slim novel, Kenneally attempts to tackle all of the issues Parker faces, including crises related to faith, family and friendships—not to mention Parker’s extremely ill-conceived flirtation and eventual relationship with the baseball team’s new assistant coach.

The storyline about Parker’s strained relationship with her mother and the resulting fallout in the family’s community is the most compelling and authentic.

This news rips apart Parker’s family, and in her conservative small town people are quite unkind and my heart sort of broke for Parker as she feels so very lost as her old friends push her away and her family crumbles.

The day Laura told everyone I was probably just like my mom— a butch softball player who probably likes girls— Drew crawled into my bed and held me until I cried out every tear in my body. He held me all night long. Even with everything that’s happened to me, I have to thank you for letting me keep Drew. Written on February 17; kissed and tucked away in my Bible.

Unfortunately, this is only a small piece of the main storyline—it pops up here and there when Parker reflects on her attempts to be a better girly-girl (she spends a lot of time tangling her hair in a specific way that is apparently very appealing to teenage boys), and the end of the book deals with her reconciliation with her mother—but that’s not the meat of Stealing Parker. 

FNL Character Rating: Luke Cafferty/Landry Clarke*!!!!

(* I tend to be biased against Landry because he looks a lot like one of my ex-boyfriends, BUT his nerd-to-football player persona works for this rating. And I didn’t even necessarily like the main character of the book, so that works too. And I ADORE Luke, and his cute, sensitive persona works for this rating too.)

On to the Actual Review…

So, I’m at this point in my life where puberty is far enough in my past that I find teenagers bewildering. I find myself too old to relate to them anymore. When I see them hanging out at the bus stop in front of where I work, I think to myself old people thoughts like, “Why are those kids yelling while having a conversation when they’re standing right next to each other?!” Or, “Why are they texting each other when they’re standing right next to each other?!” Or, “What’s with those pants? Are they pants? Their parents paid for those pant-things AND let them wear them in PUBLIC?!”