Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Release date: October 9th, 2012
Pages: 256 (ARC)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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After her family's scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.
Parker is nearly finished with high school, but there are still a few things standing in the way of her happiness. Ever since her mom came out and moved away with her partner, splitting up their family, Parker has found that she's being judged by the entire town. To help ease the pain and to make herself feel wanted and less abandoned, she becomes a girl she thought she'd never be. Though she still has her standards, she keeps making the same mistakes. Finally, after being forced to manage the boy's baseball team (thanks to her best friend, Drew), things begin to look up. Parker begins to feel whole again.
What I loved most about Stealing Parker is that the characters are so realistic. They're easy to relate to and they're so imperfect, making you realize that this could easily be yourself or someone you know. Parker is just a teenage girl who is dealing with the issues she's been dealt the best way she can. When she meets the new assistant coach, she becomes quite fond of him. It doesn't matter to her that he's 6 years older, what matters is getting what she wants, and all she wants is to be happy with someone she enjoys spending time with. There are many people that Parker knows she can't trust, and she feels that Brian isn't one of them.
The character that stood out the most was Will, because he seemed to have the biggest heart when it came to his friends and family, especially. He never once treated Parker with disrespect like the other boys, and he's proven himself to be a worthy friend. Though Parker gets judged on a daily basis, she still has those few special people to lean on when others try to drag her down, and that always warmed my heart.
The author did an amazing job with this story, focusing on many of the things teenagers go through, such as first love, friendship, acceptance, and learning how to survive when something life-changing takes you off course. Stealing Parker is emotional in all the best ways, and I love that Miranda wasn't afraid to bring up sexuality, addiction and add an illegal relationship to the mix. Those are the little things that make her stories realistic and memorable.