By Miranda Kenneally
Available October 2012
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?
This Blonde’s Review:
Her life was ruined when her parents divorced and her mother went to live with her girlfriend. Why did God do that to her if he loves her? She’s a good christian, yet her christian friends judge her and their parents tell them to stay away. Suddenly she’s not welcome at her church. Either she’s like her mother or she can prove she isn’t.
Parker wants to make sure no one can confuse her with her mother. She quits softball, the sport they both loved and excelled at, and she starts making out with guys left and right. They can’t say she’s a lesbian if she kisses boys. Except in the typical way of hurt teenage girls, she doesn’t see what they can say. She doesn’t see that there are many who don’t know her mother’s story and only know what they see her doing.
When her best friend convinces her to assist with the boys’ baseball team Parker finds herself surrounded by guys, including some who tempt her. But when one of those tempting guys is the new assistant coach Parker finds herself heading in a direction she shouldn’t. She also finds herself missing softball and considering rejoining the team.
I really enjoyed this one. Parker is a hurting teenager and sees what she expects to see. There are people who make judgements and betray her, but there are also many people she projects her own interpretations of their thoughts on. I especially loved getting to know her friends. Not the girls who used to be her friends, people I would have loved to give a serious set down, but the guys on the team. They’re rough and inappropriate, but they are loyal and caring.
Parker finds herself in an unlikely love triangle, with the guys involved not knowing about what’s going on with the other. The types of relationships she has makes it easy to keep it quiet. When a friend spills a secret about being interested in one of the guys Parker is getting close to, she finds herself in a more difficult situation. To chose the guy who wants more from her than she wants to give, or to take the guy her friend wants but never has a chance with.
Throughout it all there is a steady stream of religion. It showcases some of the worst parts of churches, parts that are more true than most want to admit. The judgement and manipulation that you’ll find in some of the more rigid churches, but we also see the love and acceptance you can find in other churches. I do love that this book didn’t lift religious people up or put them down, instead we saw them as people. Case by case, some were jerks and some weren’t. We didn’t understand the way some of those people could be and that isn’t something the author sought to fix. It simply was a part of her life.
Parker was a girl dealing with what she felt was her mother’s betrayal and all that comes with refusing to talk to her mother when she needed her most. Her family was falling apart around her and there was little she could do to save it. With all that pressure it was little wonder Parker was starting to crack. When it all comes tumbling down Parker has to decide if she wants to keep shutting her mother out, despite the hypocrisy of her actions, or look for her mother’s guidance.
I can’t say exactly why I loved this one without giving too much away. The ‘villian’ of the piece was clearly not someone to be admired, yet at the same time the author gave us enough reasons to sympathize and understand. He wasn’t evil, but he was wrong. I loved that we may not have had all the answers there, but it wasn’t a clear cut idea of this person is bad that we get with so many books.
I enjoyed Parker’s best friend and the way she was willing to stand with him no matter what. And I loved that the right guy for her did it right by letting their relationship build slowly, so slowly that we almost wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t so obvious. I hated that her friends really were the jerks that they appeared to be, but I loved that she didn’t let that defeat her.
Parker had problems. But they were real mistakes that real people could make, and I loved that they were the kind that anyone could make. I especially loved that she hurt but didn’t let her destroy her.
If you enjoy reading about a girl who makes the wrong choices and has to learn to make the best of what remains, then you’ll enjoy Parker’s story. You’ll find yourself getting caught up in her story and hoping that she turns it around before it’s too late to get her happy ending.