Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally [REVIEW]

TITLE: Stealing Parker
            (Hundred Oaks #2)
AUTHOR: Miranda Kenneally 
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PUB DATE: Oct 1 2012
Summary from Goodreads:

"Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

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?"

Rating:

Parker Shelton lives an almost perfect life; she’s the running valedictorian of Hundred Oaks High, she’s the star player of the softball team, and has friends all around. When news broke of the scandal Parker’s mother has caused, Parker loses everything. Afraid that she might be looked down upon same as her mother, she starts to remake her image. She quits the sport she loves, went for an almost modelesque figure and kisses more than one boy. And if that’s not enough to point out her preferences, she goes for the hot new baseball couch...

The first book from Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks stories, Catching Jordan, wasn’t exactly a blast to read for me. I struggled with the believability of the whole thing. And I couldn’t relate with the characters. With Stealing Parker on the other hand, I had an entirely different opinion. I guess Ms. Kenneally thought: “Hmmm...So you couldn’t relate with Catching Jordan, huh? Try this [Stealing Parker] on for size...” Wow, way to shove it on my face. Yup, she totally showed me.

Stealing Parker is probably one of the most relatable contemporary novels I’ve read. This might get a little too personal, and I might be expressing way too much grudge (?) or something all throughout this review – so be warned!

Now let’s cross out Parker’s sporty side [since I possess no skill in athletics]. I understand Parker’s need to create an image for herself. Even though you’ve heard the phrase “Be yourself” and “Other people’s opinions don’t matter” well, in high school, these are probably not the advice you’d follow. With a lot of peer pressure going on and the desire to find a place where you belong, you try to come across a way to make people think good of you. So here’s where I think I fit in with Parker’s disposition. Since I grew up in Riyadh, I had only known the small community of Filipinos that was my school. There was only one class per grade, and over the years we only encounter one or two newbies, which means everybody knows each other. So yeah, it was great.

More than ten years later, I find myself back in the Philippines – hello, culture-shock! Never had I felt so small and insignificant in all my life until I got enrolled into a private school near home. So many kids! It was overwhelming. This is where I experienced all sorts of craziness and awfulness. I have a unique name, and with that came a lot of mocking and making fun of. I was taller than most kids (I feel shorter than most now) and that had me end up at the standing last in line during ceremonies and the next batch of students would gawk (not in a good way) at me (since the kid behind me would be the smallest from their class). Also I had to hunch my back down because really the gawking was unnerving. My back-hunching also caused another kind of dilemma. Some girls called me “kuba” which means “hunchback” because of it. I got ridiculed over almost every little thing I did, even down to the food I don’t like to eat (apparently saying you don’t like sardines in a can, and you hate the feel of fish bones [no matter how soft they say it is] going down your throat garners you the “maarte” award. It’s a negative connotation meaning finicky or pretentious). I didn’t think kids could be soooo mean!

The gist of it, I was bullied – a lot! I had friends turn their backs on me (partly of course was my fault) and so I turned to a boy for comfort. Later finding out that I never really loved the guy and just used him to get away from all the harshness. The moment I realized it, of course I broke the guy’s heart which ruined my reputation all the more (the guy douched out). Eh, that was high school.

So I guess you get where I’m coming from, and Parker’s story seriously touched my heart. It brought me back to the feelings I had in high school and the foolish actions I’ve done to think it would remedy the situation. I wish I would have read this book back when I was struggling to fit in and adapting to the culture here in my country. That way, maybe I could’ve avoided a lot of mistakes. But then again, without them I wouldn’t be the person who I am now.

In case you haven’t figured it out. I highly recommend Stealing Parker. And thanks, Miranda Kenneally... for rubbing it in (my high school life and relate-ability issue). Ha! Ha! :P

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