Stealing Parker takes place at Hundred Oaks High School, the same setting as Kenneally’s first novel Catching Jordan (click link for my review), except instead of football it’s about softball/baseball. I grew up in the south, so I love that these books take place there and I appreciate all the references – especially the red clay. And yes, there are cameos of Sam Henry and Jordan Woods, which totally made me smile!
In Stealing Parker, Parker is struggling with the fall out of her mother admitting she’s gay, and leaving town to live with her girlfriend. Her family is Christian and very active with the church, and sadly the church reacts badly when learning that her mother is a lesbian. Parker even lost her best friend Laura because of it, which to me means she was never BFF material. Thankfully she has her guy friend Drew, who has stuck by her through it all.
Parker’s family is in shambles, and she’s angry with her mother, not for being gay, but for causing her life to flip upside down, so she’s shut her out when she needs her most. To prove to her peers that she’s not a lesbian, Parker quit softball, the sport she loves and has immense talent to play. She also carefully built herself a reputation of being promiscuous, and then she falls for Brian, the assistant coach 6 years older than her…
Parker used to be a good girl; played by the Christian rules and put her friendships first (before her own happiness) just to have them turn on her. She’s questioning her faith in God, and she prays to Him through journal entries that she writes, and then burns. I consider myself spiritual, but not religious… and for me, this book walked the line of my comfort zone regarding religion. But in the end, I really loved the story and these characters.
My favorite things about Stealing Parker are: Parker’s friendship with Drew, Corndog/Will (he’s my new crush), and seeing Parker and her mom interact together. There were so many great moments! I have to admit, I’m surprised that I love these sport centric books so much. I’ve never really been into sports, but they’re just awesome.
What I love most about Kenneally’s books are the friendships, the dialogue/banter, and the little moments between characters that she nails perfectly. I can’t wait for her next book, Things I Can’t Forget, the next companion novel in the series!