Expected Publication: October 1st, 2012
By: Miranda Kenneally
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?
Parker Shelton used to have the perfect happy family complete with her stay-at-home Mom, overachiever brother Ryan and architect Dad. But then her Mom revealed that she was a lesbian and left them for another woman. Now Parker is ostracized by her ex-best friends Laura (the youth pastor's daughter at the family's church) and Allie, gossiped about by everyone in church and only her friend Drew stands by her. Conflicted about whether or not to stay in touch with her Mom and forgive her, or to stay angry and keep herself away from the 'sin' Parker is determined to prove that she is NOT a lesbian like her Mom. She quite softball and loses 30 pounds to seem less 'butch.' She refuses to have committed relationships and instead only hooks up with a guy once and moves on to another the next day. But with her brother becoming more and more into drugs, her Dad never being home and no Mom to guide her, Parker is making some serious mistakes. Can she do the right thing for her family and herself? And is it really okay to sneaking around with the new, college graduate assistant coach Brian when it's against the law and could get them both in serious trouble? Can Parker find a way to keep her friendship with Drew and start a real relationship with his teammate Will? Parker has some serious issues and I honestly think that made me sympathize more with her and like her more than I would have if she'd have been more like Jordan Woods, the main character in Miranda's other book. Parker wants for things to go back to normal with her family and she does want a relationship with her Mom. But at the same time, her church and her old friends have managed to make her so confused about what's right or wrong, that she is reluctant to communicate with her Mom at all anymore. I felt so sorry for Parker that had the idea that she needed to hook up as much as possible to avoid the label of 'lesbian' because of her Mom. Small towns are so cruel. I have gay relatives, but that doesn't mean that by association I'm anything less than straight as an arrow. I loved the realistic family conflicts and I wasn't surprised when Drew tells Parker about his personal revelation. I liked the slow-growing relationship between Parker and Will (aka Corndog) and was seriously pissed when Drew questioned her ability to remain faithful and have a serious relationship. I enjoyed the prayers that Parker wrote at the start of each chapter and burned to keep them personal. Brian was an unusually sympathetic character for me, as it was obvious that he really did care about Parker, but had so many issues of his own that he wasn't capable of a strong relationship. Not to mention that she was a student and that their hook up could have destroyed his coaching and teaching careers for good. I liked the plot, characters, overall story and the development that each person went through, but especially Parker. The ending was very sweet and I am impressed with this book's approach to life. I am interested to see what the author does next and I would recommend this to fans of YA contemporary fiction, especially Sarah Dessen, Deb Calleti and Susanne Colasanti.
VERDICT: 4.25/5 Stars
*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on October 1st, 2012.*