Today we are diving into another BOOK REPORT, a feature that we share every month. We both read the same book, chat about it, and post it here. With minor spoilers, we introduce Miranda Kenneally’s awesome debut novel, Catching Jordan.
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover for Magan and Paperback for Estelle
How we found out about it: It was one of Magan’s most wanted reads of December & Estelle had yet to read a sports YA book so why not?
Summary: Jordan lives and breathes football. Her best friends are her teammates and despite the lack of support from her pro-football player dad, she dreams of playing football on a college team. Then gorgeous Ty walks onto her football field, who shares the same position as her, and suddenly she’s a little (A LOT) distracted…
Estelle: Helloooooooo! This is me on zero sleep & very little caffeine!
Magan: HI! I’m still in my PJs, but super anxious to talk about this book!
Estelle: I’m jealous of your PJs. Even tho my boss isn’t around, I don’t think I would get away with that.
Magan: Haha! So, in three words, how would you describe Catching Jordan?
Estelle: That’s a tough one. Sexy, strong, and sporty! It sounds like a cologne.
Magan: Oh, my gosh. You just made me crack up. That’s awesome.
Estelle: (I want to add in smart, too.)
Magan: I would add unpredictable to the mix! I didn’t anticipate how things were going to go down and I was so THANKFUL it wasn’t like that.
Estelle: I agree with you! “It” threw me for a loop.
Magan: Ha! I think this might be a good time to remind everyone that we might talk about a few spoilers, so they should maybe read this with caution.
Estelle: Yes! It’s going to be hard not to! I want to start talking about Jordan and the kind of character she was. I really loved her “one of the guys” personality and how she was sort of mystified by being friends with girls.
Magan: YES! Right off the bat, I loved her. She had this guy-ish attitude and talked just like them. The guys she surrounded herself with weren’t just teammates, but her best friends. The girls she described – the cheerleaders – made me cringe, too.
Estelle: I agree. I liked how a few of them surprised me though. So did the football players. I mean, I know there are all those stereotypes about football players who don’t care, and aren’t emotional. But I think this book is about uncovering those stereotypes. Here we have a girl playing on a football team, and wanting to play college football. That’s one, and then step by step… we see the other sides of all these people.
Magan: You’re right, it’s something that occurs throughout the book, but I didn’t feel like I was reading through tons of self-discoveries. People changed and evolved naturally. I will say that because people were changing, there were characters I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to trust. I felt very confused about Ty.
Estelle: Did you? I was kind of confused too.
Magan: Yeah. We knew that Ty moved to TN from TX, but didn’t really know why. I was worried he was out for Jordan’s position and was going to be extremely upset if he tried to take it. Girls can be extremely emotional, and I feared that Jordan would become mixed up in a relationship and lose sight of her goals. Maybe I just didn’t have enough faith in Jordan to keep it all straight.
Estelle: That definitely would have been the easy way out for the author, but the book became so complex. Especially with Ty coming into the picture, and she’s totally attracted to him or whatever. It’s like it was all meant to happen.
Magan: Definitely. Looking back at some of the beginning chapters, she [Kennealy] subtly dropped hints about things that would come out, but she wrote everything so well that I didn’t know what to expect.
Estelle: It’s true. I thought that Ty and Jordan would stay together but there would be some conflict about the position or school that would sort of steer their realtionship. I didn’t know if I thought they would end up together, per se, but I still did NOT forsee it ending the way that it did.
Magan: Neither did I. There’s so much I’m excited to say about the ending, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise! I will say the cover makes more sense to me now, though.
Estelle: Her hair is still the wrong color.
Magan: That does bother me. Couldn’t they have just swept it up into a pony tail so we couldn’t tell?! I do want that girl’s legs though…Oh, and to be six feet tall like Jordan.
Estelle: She also looks so tan. Jealous. Haha.
Magan: And tan…
Estelle: She sounds beautiful. Another thing I loved was her poems.
Magan: Wow, you just read my mind.
Estelle: (As always.)
Magan: One thing I didn’t expect from this book at all was that [poetry]. The infusion of poetry was so unexpected. It added a completely new dimension to this book. Her mom (a secondary character I particularly loved) gave her the notebook because she could see that Jordan wasn’t talking about her life to anyone. As close as she was to all the football players, she needed them to take her seriously so she left out all the emotional things she was going through. It was lovely to see how they all cared for her though and really did want to listen.
Estelle: I felt the same way. I loved watching them sort of be normal and let go of these tough exteriors. I guess all of them were doing that in a way though. Her mom was great. This book was just oozing with awesome characters. We should probably mention Henry. It reminded me of a Dawson and Joey relationship. And I liked this! (Even if I’m a huge Pacey fan. Haha.)
Magan: (Ha! Dawson’s Creek is next on my list of shows to rewatch.) It was definitely very Joey/Dawson. Henry is the best friend who has been through everything with Jordan. I must admit that I was turned off by him in the beginning because he was pretty sleazy. Jordan was super worried and knew he was keeping something from her, but he was sleeping around with all those girls to deal with his problems. I felt so sorry for him.
Estelle: He is sort of a whore. Haha.
Magan: Yep, he was. What was your first impression of him (other than the above)?
Estelle: I could tell he had a crush on her. The whispers, the touching. I just didn’t know what to do with it. It’s funny though because she pushes him away in the beginning, and then he pushes away from her later?
Magan: There’s a lot of tension…
Estelle: Honestly, I felt like he was doomed to sleep with all these girls forever because Jordan was so obsessed with Ty.
Magan: I felt the same way! I really thought this book was going to be about the struggle between Jordan and Ty vying for the quarterback position while falling in love. I had no idea there would be the added best friend element and that I would ultimately love Henry as much as I did. Kenneally wrote two very successful guy characters. There was no reason for me to dislike either Henry or Ty. They were both awesome guys – despite Henry’s sleeping around I loved everything about him.
Estelle: And Ty being controlling?
Magan: Oh, there was that.
Estelle: I understood why he was like that but I wasn’t sure if that was going to come into play? (Pun!) I have to say. I really loved how generous and wonderful Jordan’s parents were. They just wanted to help everyone. It was nice to see that happening.
Magan: Ok, yes. BUT, I loved the use of typography to describe the great Donovan Woods [Jordan's dad]. Her dad made me so uncomfortable and I just wanted to shake his shoulders and tell him to snap out of it!
Estelle: Oh yes. Me too. That was genius. I mean, here we go with a girl with daddy issues. Which some people might call cliche, but I’m sorry. I know a lot of people that have them. And even though we don’t all have dads who are big football players, all we want is our parent to show us support and be interested in our lives and our dreams. I think she had very valid issues and dealt with them pretty well. She was straightforward with him about it… and yet she pushed him away when he wanted to be alone with her.
Magan: Definitely! I connected with this element a lot. My dad was super busy when I was in high school trying to build a business, and while I understood, Jordan’s story hit home with me. I wasn’t as vocal as she was about her desire to have him involved though.
Estelle: My dad was never very good about expressing himself, so I could get it too.
Magan: Ultimately, there were a lot of ways people could connect to something in this book.
Estelle: I don’t know if you noticed this but in a lot of YA novels, there are huge issues with family or the family is MIA. I liked how this family was close knit with down-to-earth problems. There were not perfect. They were all working on things. And this sibling dynamic was great too.
Magan: Yeah, I don’t quite understand that weird characterization or trend in YA.
Estelle: Me neither because my family has always been very involved in my life.
Magan: I will say that one of the things I notice in the books I’d say I love most is that they all have strong family values.
Estelle: I don’t know if that reflects real life when the family is just nowhere to be seen. A family is sometimes the foundation of a character.
Magan: Stephanie Perkins does a fabulous job of making her characters well-rounded and family involvement shapes the character.
Estelle: She does! I’m trying to think of someone else. I’m reading The Cardturner right now by Louis Sachar and the family thing is huge.
Magan: Jordan’s dad needed to get a clue and not be a sexist pig.
Estelle: I don’t know if I would call him sexist? I just felt like he couldn’t get a handle on his daughter’s identity. Just like any parent who has a child who is going through all of these experiences and can’t get a handle on them not being little girls or boys anymore. Ultimately, he wanted to keep her safe.
Magan: Okay. I got it. Over-protective, to the point that he wasn’t involved enough because he couldn’t see her get hurt. So the cheerleaders. I had a love/hate relationship with them. Mainly loved a few and despised another.
Estelle: I feel like that about cheerleaders in general. What were your thoughts?
Magan: Again, I never knew who to trust. I wanted to like Marie and Carrie …but they were friends with the terrible Kristen. I was so glad to see Jordan’s tough exterior peeled away as she learned that not all the girls were against her. The jealousy ran so rampant in Kristen, and that was obvious to me, but Jordan was super hurt by it.
Estelle: Did you think that was developed enough – the story with Kristen?
Magan: I think I would have liked more of it. It was there enough that I wanted to tell Jordan the only reason she was so jealous is because of her daily interaction with all the football players. BUT, I didn’t see a ton of face to face time between Kristen and Jordan that built the tension. Actually, during the truth or dare game, Kenneally used Kristen’s dare as a way for Ty and Jordan to get together. So in a way that was meant to hurt Jordan via Kristen, it developed the story.
Estelle: Let me look at that part. (I do remember the lake. That was like eek! Very hot. Haha.)
Magan: Um, yeah it was. Kristen dares Jordan to jump in the lake in just her underwear. She accepts the dare and Ty comes out to the lake with Jordan. Their first kiss happens there.
Estelle: Okay, I’m reading that over. I love that scene. Haha. High school was not that intense for me!
Magan: NOPE, me neither! That scene? It’s where my heart really began to flutter over Ty.
Estelle: I agree. Control! This book is a lot about that too. Henry trying to control his feelings, Jordan trying to control her life, Ty trying to control his family, Jordan’s dad trying to control her future. It’s a vicious cycle.
Magan: Oh, wow. Excellent point. Every one of them comes full circle by the end of the book, but not all with the happily ever after that they each expected.
Estelle: I love realistic endings. Such truth in this book! And it revolves around football! I’m not a huge football fan. I don’t even understand the game but it never distracted me. Haha.
Magan: No, it wasn’t overwhelming. I actually enjoyed those parts because I thought that’s where Ty’s true self was revealed the most.
Estelle: And you saw Jordan’s passion for the game.
Magan: And how protective all the guys were over her. Honestly, that was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire book – her relationship with each one of the guys. Not all of them were major key characters, but they added so much truth, depth, and reality to the story.
Estelle: I agree with you. They were all so different. I keep repeating myself. Ha ha. I AGREE WITH YOU MAGAN.
Magan: HA! So, we both agree that this book was just wonderful. I am thrilled that I was gifted with this one because I think it will be one I adore as much as Perkins’ books. One I will want to re-read and I’ll definitely be telling friends to read.
Estelle: If we could, we would buy copies for everyone who read this joint review. Not only because we are generous people, but because we think it’s a great way to end an awesome year of reading. Or to jumpstart January.
Magan: How about we do a giveaway of this book? One copy?
Estelle: I think that’s an awesome idea!
Magan: Sweet! What are the rules?
G I V E A W A Y R U L E S
Let’s keep this one easy! Leave us a comment and you are automatically in the running to win a copy of Catching Jordan. It’s an easy question too: What’s the first book you started THIS year? We’ll keep the contest going until Friday, January 6 at midnight.
Can’t wait to see who wins!