Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published: December 2011 (Sourcebooks Fire)
Rating: 4 Stars
Summary: 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.
My Review: I actually read this book on December 7-8, so it is not as fresh in my mind as I would like. I wanted to write a review, but I never got around to it until now. However, I spent nearly an hour and a half discussing it with my friend Lynne as I drove her to the airport to fly home for Christmas break. Obviously, I should have plenty to say about it.
First, I have to mention that I was incredibly excited for this book. You have no idea how much. During my pre-teen years, one of my favorite books was What's the Opposite of a Best Friend by A. Bates; I probably read it ten times, at least. It is, essentially, the middle school equivalent of what this book appeared to be. Girl quarterback, new boy with quarterback skills equal to hers moves to town, they fall for each other. When I read the summary for Catching Jordan, I absolutely flipped out, for lack of a better term. I counted down the days until it came out. I was scared that it wouldn't live up to my expectations, and I tried to talk myself down. It didn't work. Then came the day when I finally got it, right in the middle of finals week. I made myself get a decent night's sleep the night I read the first half of it, otherwise I would have read it in one sitting. As it was, it took three sittings over the course of two days. Anyway, now that you have the background, we can get to the actual review.
Catching Jordan was not what I expected. I won't say it was better, per se, but I absolutely loved the end result. I was annoyed by the blurb, though. It very much misleads you into thinking this is going to be a straightfoward romance between Jordan and Ty. But lo, and behold, that is not the case! It is actually a triangle between Jordan, Ty, and Jordan's best friend Henry (light spoiler, I guess, since it is not in the blurb. Highlight if you want to know). Once that was revealed, I honestly was not sure which of them Jordan was going to wind up with. I won't spoil it for you, but I will just say that I, personally, was very happy with her end choice (as was my friend Lynne). As for the other aspects of the book, I am a huge football fan, so I loved the atmosphere. Most of the characters were interesting, and I was very invested in the relationship outcomes, both for the main characters and the various secondary characters.
Speaking of secondary characters, there are a lot of them in this book. It is difficult to keep them all straight at the beginning, but once you finally get it all figured out, it works well. I really think it was necessary to make the book believable. I really loved the personalities of Jordan's main football friends. Jordan's family also plays a large part in the book, and I particularly loved her brother. I think he should get his own book in the future. Doubtful, yes, but one can always hope.
Jordan's family dynamic was odd. Her father was the parent who actually seemed fairly constant, even though he does not appear so because you see him through Jordan's eyes. You see her interpretation of his behavior. As she changes, she sees different motivations for his actions, and though at first it appears that he is changing, it is really only her. Jordan's mother, while I did like her for always being supportive of Jordan, was not a very steady character. She had occasional, random behaviors that simply made no sense.
At first, I was not all that crazy about Jordan as a character. Eventually, though, I grew to appreciate most of her flaws. It is easy to read books and judge and yell at the protagonist, "You're such an idiot!" But then you think about it, and you realize that you do things like that all the time. Most of the time, your own biases and perceptions and hopes get in the way of seeing things with 100% clarity and context given to readers. When I think about it that way, I am really able to understand and empathize a lot more with Jordan than I immediately thought.
[Thoughts on the triangle/the boys. Huge spoilers ahead.] I really liked Ty at first. I mean, he was a hot, sweet new kid with a Texas accent. Hello, yes, please. As the time went on, though, I grew less and less crazy about him. His incessant need to know exactly where Jordan was, put alongside his possessiveness, was a huge turn-off, as that is, to me, a frantically waving red flag going "FUTURE ABUSER. GET OUT NOW." I was able to excuse it when it was extreme the first couple of times, given the circumstances of his parents' car wreck and his explanation of it. But along with that, I simply did not like his character that much once you got to know him. Yeah, he'd had a tough time of it. But he just wasn't my favorite, and he obviously should not have wound up with Jordan. They didn't fit. As for Henry, I really loved him for the first half of the book. He was an idiot for the last third or so, but I could forgive him for it. He and Jordan worked really well together, and I'm glad they wound up together. Friends-turned-lovers for the win! ♥[/end of spoilers]
You do have to suspend reality a bit when you read this book, I will say. While I do think that it is feasible (not to mention awesome) for a girl to be a quarterback in high school so long as there are no rules prohibiting it, the likelihood of a college, especially one with a good football team, actually agreeing to have a female quarterback is, unfortunately, extremely unlikely-to-the-point-of-impossible in our current society. This bias was obviously addressed in the book, but it is still a stretch. It did not bother me, personally. I enjoyed the idea that it was actually possible. But I thought it was worth mentioning because it was something Lynne and I discussed at length.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was probably closer to 3.5 star material, but because of my attachment to the storyline, it was 4 stars for me. I would recommend it for fans of YA, especially if you like tomboy heroines and/or football.