Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: December 1st 2011
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought

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 on 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 now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team…and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.
It's been over three years since I read Catching Jordan, so I don't remember the details, but I just read the Jesse's Girl, the newest book in the Hundred Oaks series, and reminded me that I really want to write a feminist review of this series. With strong female characters and an honest approach to relationships between older teens, Miranda Kenneally writes some of the best, most feminist romances I know!

Jordan is a great main character. We're as different as can be, but I had no trouble relating to her. Her voice is so unique, realistic, and hilarious. Jordan is strong and in control, but she's vulnerable too, and the different sides of her are portrayed really well and make for a realistic, dynamic main character. I loved her confidence and how she goes for what she wants, working hard to be able to play football in college, even though the idea of a girl doing that are ridiculous, according to some of the people around her. In the beginning, I had some issues with how Jordan devalues femininity - she's one of the guys and has never had a lot of female friends because she thinks they all kind of suck - she would say something like "Oh crap. I sound like a girl!" after talking about her feelings. But she grows over the course of the novel  and makes friends with Marie and Carrie, who show her there's nothing wrong with sounding like a girl.

The romance is everything you can hope for and more. I don't want to say too much about the romance because it turned out to be very different than I'd originally thought and I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but wow. Ty is a great character, and I liked reading about him and his family-issues. And while I liked him, my heart was with Henry from the beginning on. He's the classic boy-next-door, and he's so sweet to Jordan. The way these two interact is hilarious and plain adorable. I found myself hoping Jordan and Henry would turn into more than friends, and I'm glad Miranda Kenneally ended up exploring that option, too. I especially love how Miranda Kenneally addresses the topic of sex - in all her books, it's handled with great honesty, with a strong safe-sex and sex-positive message.

Even though the romance plays a major role, I loved that it's not the #1 focus - Catching Jordan is a richly layered coming-of-age story. The relationships between Jordan and her parents are portrayed realistically, and Jordan's relationship with her brother Mike is adorable. This is where the issue of sexism is addressed pretty explicitly, when her dad tells her she can't play football in college because she's a girl, and I really liked how this is handled over the course of the novel. The teammates are great characters too - I loved the scenes with JJ and Carter. How they interact with Jordan is hilarious and so sweet.  All the characters are fully-developed and so vivid - I could easily imagine each and every one of them.

I loved Catching Jordan - and all of Miranda Kenneally's subsequent books - so, so much. With one of the most unique and lovable main characters I've read in a long time, vivid writing, and a kickass feminist message, Catching Jordan is a sweet and hilarious story of finding your place in this world. If you're looking for coming-of-age stories with strong characters and a feminist message, you really need to pick up one of Miranda Kenneally's books!

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