Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally Review

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally (Twitter)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: December 1, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 281
Source: Publisher

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?
Jordan breaks the mold on a daily basis. She's athletic, funny and smart, and she breaks the stereotype that girls can't play football. As the captain and quarterback of her school's football team, she leads with confidence, simply because her life revolves around her sport. Jordan has carefully created a world around her in which she can succeed, but whenTy moves to town and shakes things up, for the first time in a long time, Jordan doesn't know the next play. Will she find her balance again before it's too late?

On the surface, Catching Jordan looks like everything I despise in YA contemps. Judging by the cover alone, I assumed the book was barely more than a petty teenage drama involving first loves, heartache and whittling a strong main character down to a shell of what she once was. I couldn't have been more wrong. Miranda Kenneally has written a sweet, empowering, humourous and altogether endearing tale of a girl simply trying to navigate her way through high school without falling prey to everyday drama like so many others. Realistic and refreshing, Catching Jordan is so true-to-life and honest that it makes you feel as though you've stepped back in time, and you're watching the ups and downs of high school play out before your eyes. 

Jordan was, at first, a character of whom I was extremely dubious. I don't know the first thing about football, and her life revolved solely around the sport, so I wasn't sure I'd be able to fully access her emotions or passion for her sport. However, simmering beneath the surface, we can see that Jordan is just as human as you and I with her quirky personality and charisma that draws others to her. When Ty enters, though we see Jordan's confidence waver just a bit, we manage to access and draw on that vulnerability, finding yet another reason to root for this confident and empowering female character. What I loved most about Catching Jordan is that we're provided excellent characterization in Jordan, never being forced to watch a girl whittled down to a shell of what she once was due to a high school crush. We get to watch as she transforms from someone with a singular focus to someone who learns that she can let someone in and still be as strong as ever - if not stronger. Furthermore, Catching Jordan presents a high school story that is very honest, offering tangible tension, the navigating of first loves and questioning just how far one should go. It's simple, but realistic, and the beauty of the story is that it doesn't just scratch the surface...it gives us so much more.

I was completely and utterly surprised by Catching Jordan, and despite the fact that there was some dialogue and subject matter that was a bit too convenient for my taste, I thought this book excelled. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

18 comments:

  1. I have yet to read a novel by Kenneally, but I absolutely love when an author can combine so many differing emotions at once. Great review, Melissa!

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  2. I loved this one too, Melissa. I'm not a sports girl but I loved her passion for it. I thought the characterizations were wonderfully done. Great review. :)

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  3. 1) yes, the cover is terrible isn't it?


    2) I actually liked this book the first time around but disliked it the second time around. Great review though!

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  4. I've heard so many good things about this book and the author, but I haven't read it yet. I'm a huge contemporary junkie though so this sounds like a really good option for my next read.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

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  5. I thought this book was so cute! It kept me glued to my chair for an entire afternoon and really was fantastic. I'm not a football fan at all, but this book made me fall in love with the sport. I was, unfortunately, not a fan of the companion novel to this and think I may have outgrown Kenneally's writing style, but this was definitely a perfect read. Fantastic review, Melissa! :D

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  6. These books seem to be so popular, but I just haven't go to read any of them yet. Great review. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I need something simple and realistic.

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  7. I was surprised by this book too, it ended up being so much more than your average YA contemp. I completely agree about Jordan's characterization - it was excellent!


    Fabulous review :)

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  8. I was completely surprised and moved by this story, Hafsah - I think you might actually really like it!

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  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, too, Rachel! And yes, the characters were so well-executed :)

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  10. The cover is SO not my cup of tea, but yes, I actually enjoyed this one. I'm always scared of re-reads because I get more analytical haha

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  11. Ellie, she's a great writer, and it's a fun, fast-paced book. I easily read it in a day :)

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  12. Thank you, Keertana! It's definitely a fast, sweet novel, but I'm glad to know you didn't enjoy the companion. I'll be prepared :)

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  13. Thanks, Annette! It's a really fun and simple read, which can be so refreshing sometimes.

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  14. Thank you, Nick! And yes, football and I aren't friends haha my poor boyfriend is at a loss as to how to teach me. But I'm thrilled to hear that her other books are actually better(?!??!) - that gives me such hope!

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  15. Thank you, Lea! And yes, it really surprised me in the best possible way :)

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  16. I would have to agree about Jordan's characterization as well-very well-done and she has such a strong personality that I feel like I know exactly who she is.

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  17. She really does, right? It's fantastic :)

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  18. Yay! I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed this, Melissa. To be honest, this is actually my least favorite Miranda Kenneally books. I liked, but didn't entirely fall in love with it because I couldn't connect with Jordan completely. I know nothing about football either!
    If you liked this one so much, then you should definitely try her other books! Things I Can't Forget was my favorite of hers!
    Lovely review, Melissa!

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