14 March 2013

Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally

Published: 1 December 2011

Pages: 281 (paperback)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary

Source: Own library

Synopsis

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?


My Thoughts

I have to start this review with several disclaimers, and some possible offense (all meant in good fun, I swear) to fans of American Football.  I've never watched a game of American Football, nor do I have any desire to.  Australian's have their own game of football - and we often make fun of the American version - our players don't wear any padding, and as I understand it, play a far more physical game.   And I LOVE Australian football - I've gotten up at 6am on Sunday's to watch finals (for me, that's a whole lot of love).  So going into Catching Jordan, I was a little bit wary of the fact that the plot is set around a sport I have no interest in or understanding of.  So if I haven't offended you yet, read on ;-)

I'll fully admit I completely skimmed over all the football references in Catching Jordan.  And perhaps this is why I didn't enjoy the book as much as everyone else in the world appears to have - it could be that I missed something elemental to the plot or character development that a reader who likes, or at least understands American football would have picked up on.

As far as contemporary YA goes, Catching Jordan worked in some ways for me, and in others it fell a little short of the mark.  I'm not the most open-minded person when it comes to contemporary YA, and most of my reading of that genre is 'issues' books, and whilst Catching Jordan talks about the issue of females in sport, and the difficulties they face in gaining acceptance from some men, and women, it doesn't go completely into the dark depths of sexism in sport.

One thing I found very difficult to swallow was the relationship between Ty and Jordan.  Yes, I get that he was cute, but for a girl who seems to pride herself on being on the of the boys and not easily swayed by attractive boys, Jordan was pretty easily distracted, and hooked in by him.  And I didn't like Ty much at all - I found him to be possessive, un-charming and a bit of a dick. 

Although Ms. Kenneally gives some background information that hints at why his behaviour was a certain way, I didn't find it excusable, and I lost a lot of respect for Jordan as a character that she couldn't see through the flimsy excuses.

What I did love about this book however, was the embracing of a girl being one of the guys - I loved Jordan's interactions with her friends and teammates, and to me those relationships really felt genuine and believable.  I also enjoyed Jordan's changing relationship with her father, the quiet support of her mother and her own journey as she started to realise the realities of life.

Catching Jordan was a fun, quick read, that despite my complete lack of knowledge of the game of American Football and a relationship that pissed me off, I enjoyed far more than I thought I would.  I'm never going to be a contemporary YA lover, particularly where there are no intense, dark issues involved, but I did enjoy this quite a bit.

11 comments:

  1. I wasn't a fan of Ty either, and I was actually hoping that Jordan would realise that, in the end, she was right about handsome boys (although that may not have been the best message to put across!) and that she was happy to wait until the right guy came along.

    You seem to have captured my feelings perfectly. I thought that this was a good book, but it didn't live up to the hype for me.

    I am laughing because I seem to slag off American Football every chance I get, even though I mean no offense. But come on, compared to Aussie rules and rugby, American Football is nothing. Having said that, I did watch the pilot of Friday Night Lights. Oh dear.

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    1. Nothing beats Aussie Rules and I will stick to that until I die LOL.

      Without those few frustrations I would have liked this a lot more - I did like that Jordan wasn't a typical girly-girl but it was still a fun read.

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  2. I didn't like Ty either, I don't think we were supposed to. I was all about Sam, the scene with the fake baby? hahahaha

    I have always had this weird obsession with high school football, so I think that's why this one worked so well for me. I'm happy that you did find things that you liked about it and enjoyed it overall. Fabulous review.

    I am verrrry curious about Australian football now!

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    1. Awww Sam, bless him. What a lovable doofus he is.

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  3. Lucky you! I hate football. I've only watched it because I was in marching band for two years. It is boring as crap. You are missing nothing.

    Well, I think Jordan prided herself on being one of the boys to get respect from them on the field, but it doesn't mean she doesn't also want boys. I don't know. He also wasn't one of the boys at first. I don't know. I didn't like Ty at all, either, but I sort of got Jordan's attraction to him, at least at first.

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    1. I guess it was the whole 'different' thing after being so familiar with all the other guys, and I did like that Jordan was comfortable with herself for the most part, but the whole football thing was just *zombie eyes*.

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  4. First off, no offense taken. I'm an American that despises American football. I'll take REAL football (aka soccer) anyday. Rugby is a close second.

    When it comes to contemporary YA, these books typically don't rank too high. I prefer my contemporary to be more of the John Green/David Levithan sort (then again, I am somewhat newer to the genre, so really, what do I know?). I do find it fascinating and applaud Kenneally for giving us a girl we can root for. Growing up, I was always one of the guys and it's nice to see someone whose characteristics aren't narrowed solely because of her gender. Although, from what it sounds like, she becomes totally out of character for that one new hot guy. So yeah, that's not exactly helping her case.

    FYI: Ty as you described him sort of reminds me of a particular vampire of the sparkling variety and that is NOT cool. I don't ever jive with over-possessiveness or jealousy.

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    1. I'm thinking that this just isn't the book for me.

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    2. We are united in our ability to not connect with contemporary YA! I like the kooky John Green / David Levithan characters better, they are infinitely more fascinating.

      I think it was also about her moving out of her comfort zone and accepting the differences between herself and the guys, but I wasn't completely comfortable with the messages.

      I wouldn't NOT read Kenneally again, but I'm now almost 100% certain I'm only going to enjoy this genre with a few 'issues' included.

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  5. I don't care for most of the sports but I did like this book, Kat! As you said she embraced being one of the boys, and I found her attitude towards relationship really refreshing :)

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    1. It was a fun read, and different from a lot of other contemporary YA. I liked that it was not typical.

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