August 12, 2013

Stealing Parker - Miranda Kenneally

Stealing Parker - Miranda Kenneally
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from Estelle (Thank you!) || Paperback

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? (from Goodreads)

Don't you love it when a book surprises you? Stealing Parker was an unexpected hit with me! There were three reasons it was a strong read: a strong & real main character, a wonderful & quirky love interest and a compelling story.

Parker Shelton has been dealing with a lot of things since her mother announced she was a lesbian and left their family. Her (former) church friends abandoned her. She’s taken over her mother’s household duties. And, even with all this, she’s dealing with the ups and downs of being a teen. The way she chooses to cope isn’t necessarily the most ideal, as she loses herself in boys (even the ones who aren’t right for her) and tucks her feelings away never to be discussed. She even lets go of softball, because it’s too hard for her to bear without her mom. While it certainly appears like Parker is a hot mess, her actions actually seem likely in her case.

There is one helpful activity she engages in – writing letters to God. There’s a question attached to almost every letter, making it clear to readers that Parker is questioning everything she thought she knew about faith and God. Watching Parker go through this process of trying to understand God’s will really struck home with me. The book doesn’t make the solution preachy or take the easy way out. It instead reads as the story of one girl’s attempt to make sense of her own situation, all while factoring her faith in the process.

This novel felt so realistic, which is what I loved most. Questioning the things you believe is something that almost all of us do, and Kenneally manages to convey it well. Plus, it becomes even more challenging when we encounter traumatic, highly emotional situations! Parker’s journey managed to mirror this experience we all have in a truthful, believable way, which is all thanks to Kenneally’s writing style.

Of course, this book would not be complete with just a hint of romance – and it comes in the form of Corndog, a.k.a. Will Whitfield. He’s my favorite Kenneally hero, mostly because he’s adorable. He has a wicked sense of humor, athletic ability AND manages to be smart too! What really won me over were his kindness and his strong relationship with his family and his friends. The way his relationship with Parker develops certainly feels organic. They begin as rivals, and then become friends and eventually, they develop into something a little bit more.

Stealing Parker is definitely my favorite of the Hundred Oaks books! The elements that make this story strong - questions of faith, romance and familial issues - were really written well. It's a book that will do well with most readers, particularly if they find themselves able to relate to Parker as much as I did.


  1. I just finished reading Catching Jordan and liked it quite a bit. No, in all honesty, I loved it. I may have not agreed with Jordan's every action, but she grew on me as a main character who makes mistakes, but learns and fixes them. I hear that Stealing Parker is as religious as it gets. I'm not religious, so it may have put me off a bit since I have a bad record with religious books. I respect everyone who believe in god nonetheless though. I really like how Parker seems to grow throughout this novel and I'm glad this touched you so much. I agree, we all question ourselves and it's a struggle we must crawl out of by ourselves by asking the right questions and testing ourselves. I can't wait to read it since this pretty is sitting on my shelf as we speak:) Hopefully soon:) Thanks for your lovely thoughts, Alexa!

  2. I loved Stealing Parker too! I love how Kenneally's heroines always have a creative outlet to get them through whatever problem they are having: Jordan's diary/journal, Parker's letters, and in the next book, These Things I Can't Forget, Kate's drawing.

    Of all three heroines Parker is the one I relate to the most, so Stealing Parker holds a special place in my heart. And if you love her and Will then you will really enjoy reading These Things I Can't Forget because they have a a pretty substantial role in it:)

    I'm such a fan of Kenneally's writing--I think she is just so authentic and real--she's definitely one of my fave contemporary authors writing today. Great review, Alexa!

  3. I'm so glad you liked this one!! This is one of my favourite series -- it's just so much fun and I love the romance. :) Can't wait for Racing Savannah!

  4. Ooh, I'm really glad you liked this one as well! I'm with you on all the things 100%. I'm a huge fan of books that feature religion when it's done in a meaningful, non-preachy way, and I think Parker's struggles with God were really relatable.

    And Corndog - I loved him. I just did. I loved the way he interacted with Parker and how their relationship grew and changed throughout the course of the story.

    I haven't read the third book in this series yet, but I can't wait to see your review when you get to it! It might just give me the kick in the butt I need :)

    Tara @ Hobbitsies

  5. I keep putting off reading this novel, but it sounds like I need to bump it up on my TBR list. It sounds like it is wonderfully written!

    Nice review!

  6. I seriously need to move this up the list. Everyone loves this series, and this book in general. This def sounds like a fun and entertaining read with a side of romance, which is what I love. Great review!

    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  7. See, I didn't manage to connect with Parker, I think because of her many bad decisions, and that made this a really hard read for me. I'm glad to see you loved it so much but it wasn't the book for me.


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