“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.
What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though — she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.
But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?
Miranda Kenneally’s young adult novels take place in and around Hundred Oaks High School in the fictional town of Franklin, Tennessee. Each book has a teen girl at its center, and while the stories interweave a bit, with familiar faces from earlier books popping up later in supporting roles, each book stands alone nicely as well.
I stumbled across these books more or less accidentally, when I picked up an ARC of the 4th book, Racing Savannah. Since then, I’ve read two more, and now I’m finally going back and trying to read the first three Hundred Oaks books, starting with the author’s very first novel, Catching Jordan.
Jordan Woods is a high school senior, an amazing quarterback, and captain of her school football team. She’s the daughter of a world-famous NFL quarterback, and sees no reason why she shouldn’t follow in his footsteps and pursue her dreams of QBing a top-tier college team — despite her dad’s lack of support due to fear of her getting injured.
Jordan’s closest friends are the guys from the team, especially Sam Henry, the quintessential boy next door who’s been her absolute best friend since childhood. Jordan and Sam’s friendship is tested when a hot new guy moves to town — a guy who not only is competition for the QB role but also wants to date Jordan.
Jordan is a total jock, and she’s not ashamed of it. She also refuses to cede any ground in her fight to be taken seriously, and throws herself into her love of football wholeheartedly. (I’m a big fan of Jordan’s, even if I’m not at all a jock myself!)
One of the things I love about these books is the fresh take on teen friendships and social roles. Yes, there are some mean, gossipy cheerleaders — but there are also a couple of nice, positive cheerleaders who actually are supportive friends, once Jordan drops her guard and allows herself to hang out with girls. Jordan is always afraid of looking soft in front of the guys, but she eventually learns that she can wear a dress and makeup if she wants to (and she very rarely wants to) without giving up any ground as the football authority.
I also appreciate the honest look at high school relationships in Catching Jordan. These teens definitely do hook up, and sex is a pretty casual thing for most. Jordan faces her first kiss and losing her virginity within the space of a week, and it’s not because she’s taken a stand or hasn’t been interested. She’s just never before figured out how to balance having a love life with her status as captain and one of the guys.
I almost hesitated to include the book synopsis while writing this “Take a Peek” review, because frankly, the synopsis makes the book sound kind of cheesy and stereotypical, and that’s so misleading. I mean, “what girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out?” and “amazingly hot”? Really?
Ignore all that, and just pay attention to this: Catching Jordan is a terrific young adult novel about a strong, self-sufficient young woman who values friendship and loyalty, knows what she wants out of life, but has to figure out who really matters to her and how to find the kind of love she really craves. The small-town, Southern vibe is lots of fun, and I’m eagerly looking forward to reading the two remaining Hundred Oaks books that are calling my name.
Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: November 11, 2011
Length: 283 pages
Genre: Young adult contemporary fiction