Monday, July 16, 2012

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Most of this review has been pieced together from a conversation in YA Reads for Teachers (and Any Other Adults) on Goodreads. This month the new-ish book I wanted to read Catching Jordan won the nomination which means I lead the discussion. This book is wonderful to moderate. Please know all the words below are mine. I figured since I said them to begin with I could rearrange them any way I liked.

Before I go off on a "I love this book so much that I want to marry it and have its babies" tangent...I want you to know that this book is exactly what I expected and in no way what I thought it was going to be at all!

Here's what I expected

1. A book about football
2. A book that highlighted football games and talked about aspects of the game I didn't understand
3. A romantic comedy

What I didn't expect
1. The subtle commentary about how boys treat girls in sports
2. The reason Jordan chose the boy she chose
3. What gets me is the sex scene...I wasn't even allowed to lock my bedroom door when I was alone and my mother would have flipped had she caught me in my room with a boy...and, she, like Jordan's mother, would have known what was going on. In some ways jordan's parents are 'too cool' and 'hip'.
4. All the f-bombs...even if I know that kids cuss that much when grown-ups aren't around (what I hear in the hall is sometimes astounding) and even if I know that as Jordan matures there seems to be less cussing and over-all 'puffing' lots of f-bombs

Jordan is a girl who at first seems pretty strong-willed and bad -a, but has actually spent her life trying to please others...her parents, her coach, her best-friend and the list goes on. And, although she has incredible talent as a football player, she still doesn't feel confident enough around girls her age to consider them friends.  It is her best friend that helps her find the balance and, although he is a boy, he is the one who seems to have her best interest at heart. If only he could stop sleeping around and partying enough to get through to her. 

Kenneally did a great job of showing us how easy it is to be a girl in a boy sport in high school compared to the college-level...a sad, but believable approach. Jordan must figure out who she is. She must decide whether she's a college football player (one that's on the bench or one that plays) or a girl who loves her best friend or a girl who loves someone who treats her with kid gloves or a daughter who needs her father's approval. I think this book wonderful shows how our high school dreams morf and change and it shows how we can choose to accept this change or we can find against it our whole lives. In one of those realities we'd have an incredibly unhappy future.

Feel free to discuss...

Oh, and here's the author's website if you're interested:

Her 25 things is pretty awesome!

Want to contribute to the conversation? Want to read and discuss why YA books with your adult brain? Come join us!

5 Stars
Seriously, if you want a romance, this is it. If you want a book about a girl who plays football, this is it too!

Teacher Advisories 

Sex 4/5
There is a sex scene. The scene is not described in any way. Jordan keeps her door locked and when her mother interrupts by knocking. Jordan and the boy get dressed hastily unlock the door and come down-stairs. Jordan talks about the awkwardness of the situation, but nothing seems to come of it from her mother, just a look.
Language 5/5
The F-word about 25 times. Inappropriate sexual slang. Crude language.
Substance Abuses 3/5
There's underage drinking at parties.
Violence 2/5
A girl yells at a boy, he yells back. There's a fight.

Touchy Subjects
Slumber Parties
Sam and Jordan hang out all of the time. Sam stays the night at Jordan's, but they sleep head to toe.
Girls in Sports and Title IX
I'm sure that athletes will want to talk about how Jordan is treated on the field as being unrealistic or too realistic. They may want to talk about this in relation to Title IX.
What it means to love someone
Jordan has to learn what love means. She also has to learn that love doesn't mean always doing what someone tells you to do, especially if that is against what your heart says.
Jordan's father doesn't treat her the same say he does her brother. Jordan's team and coach, treat her pretty fairly, but other players do not.

How this book is used in the classroom
1] Independent Read option

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