by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Romance
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Parker Shelton's mom left her family for another woman. Her church and friends all turned on her so Parker quit softball, lost 30 pounds, and started making out with all different guys to prove she is not like her mom. I felt so devastated that Parker was abandoned in this difficult time. She has one great friend Drew who stood by her. Drew wants to spend time with Parker and suggests she help out with his baseball team and do the stats. Parker meets the hot 23 year old Coach Brian Hoffman exactly 52 days before she turns 18.
I have to admit I did like Brian. I felt like they really did understand and need each other for awhile. They have some hot scenes together too. But as Parker snuck around with him more and more she realized she needed more. She always used guys but begins to feel used and learns that it doesn't feel good. I think Brian truly cared about her but all it could ever be is a hidden affair otherwise he risks losing his job and his teaching career that has just started. I think he was a good guy but was just going through his own thing. For a short time they made each other forget their problems. I also liked that Parker took responsibility for her actions. She was almost 18 and knew what she was doing.
Parker is valedictorian and has always had a rivalry with the runner up Corndog. Everyone calls him Corndog and he was the cutest thing. Parker's very evil ex friend Laura always tried to take everything from Paker. When they were young Laura told Parker she liked Corndog so Parker stayed away from him. Corndog begins hanging out with her again and Parker realizes she may be able to have something real and meaningful but she also can't help enjoying her time with the coach. What I like about this book and the companion novel is that while there are two love interests in the books I never feel like it is the typical love triangle. In both books it was more about the girl figuring herself out and what truly works. Both guys had their good and bad qualities and both were good for Parker at times but Parker just grew into herself and into one guy more. I loved the developments that happened with both guys, it felt natural and realistic.
My only complaint about this book is that it gets a bit more religious than I normally like but it never does feel too preachy. Parker is dealing with feeling like God and her church abandoned her and also dealing with morality. How far do you go to be happy? It is a hard line to decide. She often writes prayers on a napkin, sort of like diary entries. They let us into her feelings and past experiences. It was easy to relate to Parker's issues even without being religious. How sometimes bad things happen and others judge and abandon you when they should be supporting you. Her church was an unhealthy environment. She does attend Corndog's church and saw more support there but wanted to support her dad by continuing to attend her church. I thought she should have found a new church.
More than just romance the book also dealt with family issues. Parker's mom leaving left her father devastated and her brother turning to drugs. Moving on was difficult for everyone and I felt tears at times as Parker tried to deal with her feelings of abandonment. Conflicting emotions for loving her mother and hating her for leaving. Quite a few heart wrenching moments but plenty of humor in the book as well. I loved Drew and Corndog's scenes. Parker played off them well and even talks about how they would reenact Seinfeld. I included a scene between Parker and Corndog below. Great romance, friendship, humor, and overcoming obstacles to find yourself, I found the book heartwarming, inspiring, emotional and realistic. I might have liked Catching Jordan a tiny bit better but this was another favorite. I loved it!
"But you're still thinking of me as your archrival."
"I'm Princess Peach, and you're Bowser," I say with a laugh.
"You think I'm an ugly dinosaur-dragon dude who kidnaps women for fun?"
"It's better than being a plumber like Mario. At least Bowser has all those castles. He's rich!"
"So it's all about money for you?"
"Any man of mine's gotta give me lots of presents."
"Oh yeah? Like what?"
"Nail polish? iTunes gift certificates?"
"A guy doesn't have to be rich to manage that. I can definitely afford to buy nail polish."
"I can't wait to tell all the guys you're gonna buy me nail polish."
"In these novels, all the problems could be solved if characters would talk to each other."
"Maybe all friendships don't fizzle. Maybe, like the kaleidoscope, the colors just change."