Monday, June 27, 2016
Review: defending taylor (thousand Oaks) Miranda kenneally
Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.
Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start? ~ Goodreads
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Count on Miranda Kenneally and her Hundred Oaks series to pull me out of my reading funk. Defending Taylor was a delight and I breezed though it in a day.
Kenneally has such a gift for writing authentic teens, and more importantly, familial relationships. Drama without the llama. lol
On the surface Taylor has it all. She’s the daughter of a senator, attends private school, has great friends and a boyfriend and is headed to become captain of her soccer team.
Then she screws up big time and lies about it. As Taylor points out – it’s not so much the crime as the cover up that always makes things worse. Taylor makes a bad decision but for a (semi) good reason. Was it dumb? Yeah. But I could totally relate and empathize with her reasoning.
Taylor loses everything. Her posh boarding school, her boyfriend, the trust and respect of her family, soccer but she never feels sorry for herself. She was planning to go to Yale and she stays focused on that goal, doing whatever she needs to get back on track. She joins her new school's soccer team even though they aren't nice to her and it's a huge step down from her old team. Instead she tries to make them a cohesive team and showcase the other players. She's a good kid that cracked under a lot of pressure.
Defending Taylor brings up a lot of topical subjects and would be the perfect book, if you’re a parent, to read with your teen. Taylor is under enormous pressure from her parents to do well but they aren’t cartoon villain parents. They love her and want the best for her but they’re caught up in their own drama her father’s reelection bid. This aspect was developed really well.
The author also touches on teen sexuality (very sex positive), classicism, learning disabilities, consequences and balance. Taylor works so hard to please everyone that she’s forgotten how to have fun and live.
The romance was cute. Eza is her brothers best friend, which for some reason is always this big taboo thing, and I honestly don’t get it. Aside from some initial awkwardness, if you can’t trust your best friend with your sister – why is he your best friend? But Kenneally handles this perfectly!
I can’t say I was bowled over by Ezra. He’s nice enough, but to be honest, I read Miranda Kenneally for her female protagonists. They struggle, they screw up but they push forward and stay true to themselves. I find that, and the family relationships, far more compelling than the romances even though they are always sweet and swoony.
Being a teen is tough and I think it’s great to have the Hundred Oaks series out there. They show that you can screw up or have bad things happen but still find your way back.
Plus! Cameos from previous couples