Miranda Kenneally Knows Sports Romance!
Any book that has a character named Corndog
is my kind of read. :-D
I adored Catching Jordan so I was eager to read the story of one of Jordan's classmates, Parker Shelton. She's a high-school senior softball ace who quit the team after a scandal rocked her family life. Now bound for Vanderbilt next year, Parker is searching for an activity to fill her free time.
Parker decides to join her best friend Drew on the baseball team by becoming team manager, helping with stats and equipment. How bad can it be to hang around hot guys in uniform, right? What Parker doesn't realize is that the 23 year-old assistant coach Brian Hoffman is the hottest guy on the team. Coach Hoffman's six years older and highly inappropriate as a love match. Too bad they have an instant connection.
If that's not enough drama, there's a sweet guy Will a.k.a. "Corndog" on the team that might be into Parker. Unfortunately, Parker's bff Drew might have feelings for Will too, if
Drew's gay (like Parker suspects).
Though something about the love triangle (quadrangle?) didn't quite grab me emotionally, I really enjoyed the exploration of homosexuality and the church in small-town Tennessee. Not only is Drew's sexual orientation in question, but Parker's family scandal is that her mother left her father for another woman. Parker became so traumatized that she dropped 30 pounds, leaving her at an anorexic weight. Parker's older brother--once an academic superstar--has now turned to alcohol and other drugs to deal with his emotional pain.
Members of their evangelical church have shunned the family for Parker's mother being gay, which was really sad to read. I understand some people view homosexuality as a sin, but I don't view it that way, and I became angry when Parker's classmates called her a slut simply because she kissed several guys in an effort to prove her heterosexuality. Homophobia can be rampant in settings like athletics and particular churches, leaving Parker to feel deeply alone.
Mounting evidence shows that eating disorders are a biological illness and that multiple risk factors have to be present for an eating disorder to begin. Still, it bothered me that 5'7" Parker got down to 110 pounds and didn't seem to face the horrible consequences associated with malnutrition, like low energy or food obsession.
Like in Catching Jordan
, there are painfully honest journal entries by the main character and abundant teenage humor. Here Parker writes a memory about her mother:When I was five, Mom discovered a recipe for homemade edible Play-Doh...I had dinosaur cookie cutters, so I made Play-Doh T-Rex. I bit its head off, and Mom joked, "My little praying mantis." We giggled and giggled and gorged ourselves on that Play-Doh. The next day we went to church and Mom and I kneeled at the altar. As I prayed, I didn't ask you for anything. I only thanked you for giving me Mom.
Gah! That is so sad.
I cracked up when Parker played MASH with Coach Hoffman--a game where she predicts his future in different categories of life."Okay, so you're going to marry Kim Kardashian and you'll go to Tokyo for your honeymoon. Then you'll live in a house at the beach and drive a submarine around."
It was also good humor when Parker's dad messes up Will's nickname:Dad sets a hand on Will's shoulder and studies his face. "What church do you go to, Corn Fritter?"
Ba ha ha!
Overall this is a wonderful Young Adult read and I look forward to the next in the series!