Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: Catching Jordan

Miranda Kenneally
Contemporary Young Adult
288 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
Available Now
Received through Teen Book Scene
for review

Jordan's following in the the footsteps of her dad and older brother by leading her high school football team as captain and quarterback. She can't imagine doing anything else with her life and wants nothing more to play college football. Despite her father's adamant refusal to acknowledge how good Jordan really is, her senior year is looking pretty promising.

Until Ty arrives. Handsome, athletic, danger-to-her-position-as-quarterback Ty. Jordan has always been one of the guys, best friends with receiver Sam Henry since they were little and close friends with the rest of her teammates, but with the arrival of Ty Jordan starts to want to be seen less as their captain and more as a young woman.

Little does Jordan know that Ty's presence in her life will affect far more than her hormones, and as the year progresses everything around her begins to change. At home. On the field. With her friends. But her love of football remains unwavering, and in the face of romantic and family drama, it may be the one thing that will help her traverse it all.

Catching Jordan is a book that by all appearances seems as though it will hold few surprises; one that will be cute and enjoyable but fairly predictable, and one that’s sure to be entertaining without being emotionally taxing. Ms. Kenneally proves to us, however, just how misleading appearances can be, presenting us with a character rich story and a realistic portrayal of high school life that has us heart-deep in complicated relationships before we even have a chance to realize we’ve dipped a toe in the water. What could have been a simple story about a tomboy falling for the handsome new guy and discovering a different side of herself is in fact something far more interesting—a thorough examination of the ever-changing connections between friends and teammates as well as parents and children when wants, needs, and dreams begin to alter the landscape of the future for all those involved.

Upon first meeting Jordan, we wonder if we’ll be able to relate to a young woman whose entire life focuses on a single sport to the exclusion of all else, but her quirky sense of humor in addition to her love of the game of football and her teammates quickly has us throwing our full support behind her. We can’t help but read with a little smirk on our faces as the seemingly unflappable quarterback starts to unravel a bit in Ty's presence, the insecurities that a creep up endearing her to us for their ability to make her seem so very real. While Ty rattles her a bit, he never succeeds in reducing her to a young woman we don’t recognize, instead she maintains the same attitude we've appreciated all along but also begins to expand her tunnel vision with regard to football so it includes a few of the other things that make life worth living.

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect is the depth of feeling this story evokes, the new addition of Ty to both the school and the team creating a quiet rumble that steadily grows in strength until it threatens to crumble the very foundations of Jordan’s carefully constructed world. This tale could have consisted of several descriptive instances of doe eyes and casual brushes of various body parts, but it refuses to stay that superficial, instead plunging far beneath the surface to show us a young woman’s world thrown into emotional chaos as love and friendship are found in places she never previously thought to look. The resulting tension from the multitude of changes happening in rapid succession is something we feel with every inch of our being, and we find ourselves tangled in a spectacularly beautiful web of knots we're in no hurry to unwind.

Jordan’s family is another highlight of this tale, their conflicts with one another as intense as the drama caused by the handsome catalyst that is Ty, and their interactions like a shovel that digs the story ever-deeper, making it all the more intriguing for the new ground we gain. Sex is a prevalent topic, and while both Jordan and the other characters are a touch cavalier in their thoughts and actions, it's not emphasized so strongly as to detract from the rest of the story. Overall, Catching Jordan is a book easily devoured in one sitting and one that is far more satisfying than we initially expected, making it a truly pleasant surprise that lingers in our memories when we were previously convinced it would only be a passing fancy.

Rating: 4.5/5


  1. I'm giving this bad boy away without having read it, but I'm thinking that maybe I should give it a go. I didn't think it would have so much depth, but you say it satisfies, so I'm trusting you! Great review :)

  2. Oh, wow! I was totally expecting this book to be just so-so (like you mentioned, it seems predictable). I'm so glad it's much more than that! I'm definitely going to have to give Catching Jordan a try. :)

  3. This is a seriously excellent review. Bravo! I loved this book and I think you did a superb job of explaining what makes it so good.

  4. she has a sense of humor? Plus,its not predictable? Adding this to my pile NOW!
    great review!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  5. Oh my goodness, such beautiful review writing here. I was already convinced by another blogger to pick up this book, because yeah I'd assumed it would be a 'passing fancy,' but if I had any doubts left, you would've convinced me otherwise.

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  6. Melissa - Hope you reconsider, it's definitely worth the read!

    Lauren - That's definitely what I was expecting too based on the cover and blurb, but I thought this one was fantastic:)

    Laura - Thank you! This is one for the favorites shelf:)

    Krazzyme - She does. She's kind of adorable:)

    Asher - Thank you! I thought it would just be cute and then I'd move on to my dark and twisty paranormals again, but this one really impressed me:)

  7. I think I would like this one, even if football is not exactly my fav sport, lol, far from it. But I like that she plays it

  8. I am not going to lie, I just this book by the cover/ synopsis and didn't think it would be something I would enjoy (I mean football?), but after having read your review, Jenny? Well you have convinced me! ;)

  9. Oh my gosh, I LOVE the sound of this book!! I've always been big on girl power, and I just adore the idea of a girl dreaming to be a football quarterback! That's pure amazingness right there! :)

    Awesome review, Jenny! Even though I've never really been the biggest fan of football (not really my sport LOL!), it makes me so happy that it's easy to connect with Jordan!! I can't wait to read this book now!

  10. Yet another book for my wishlist! This one sounds great...and you can't go wrong with a narrator who has a quirky sense of humor :)

    Great review, Jenny!

  11. Blodeuedd - Football's not necessarily my sport either, but I loved this book. Not too sports-heavy:)

    Avery - READ IT! I couldn't really relate to being a football player, but Jordan is a fabulous character and there's so much good stuff in this one that it's a not to miss:)

    Mimi - Yay! So glad I could get you excited for it, I everyone reads it and loves it as much as I did:)

    Lea - Right? I love a girl that isn't afraid to laugh at herself:)

  12. I completely agree with you about Catching Jordan. It's so much more than a "football" book and it took me by surprise. I practically finished it in one reading too! I loved the character of Henry *swoon!* Great review, Jenny!

  13. Great I really want to read this one.

  14. Squeal*Love this book! And loved your review :) I too felt so much during this book and love all the emotions!

  15. I need to read more contemp than only PNR YA. This sounds like one I would enjoy!

  16. Oh, I know I need this one now (missed it when it blew through NetGalley). Even if I don't end up reading it (so want to!), I know my students will LOVE it. So many of them are singularly focused on a sport like Jordan.

  17. Awesome. I really need to get to reading this. I love books that you think will be just okay and really surprise you.

  18. Just skimmed the review, I'm reading this one very soon! SO glad to hear that it was a good surprise.

  19. Christina - Don't even get me started on Henry. I need more of him:)

    Jenny - Good! I hope you do, I think it's worth it for sure:)

    Savy - It was so good:) Makes me wonder why I don't read more contemporary YA books!

    Melissa - Me too. I think this is probably the 5th one since I started the blog and I've loved each one I read:)

    Mary - There's a lot of sex talk in it, so I'd recommend it for older YA readers, but it's such a good story:)

    Alison - Me too! I really was thinking it would be a nice quick read and instead I was all emotionally involved and couldn't put it down:)

    Rummanah - YAY! Can't wait to know what you think:)

  20. You are not the first person to say this book took them by surprise. I am really eager to read it after seeing your review.

    Thanks for posting your review!

  21. Avoids being superficial and has an involved family dynamic. Yup! I needs to read this. :)

  22. I definitely agree that there was a lot more depth to this than I was expecting. You read the description and go in expecting a bit of a superficial contemporary, but what you get is so much more. Despite no love of football, I connected on many levels with Jordan and her struggles with friends, boyfriends, and family. Great review. :)

  23. Great in depth review, Jenny! I've been waiting for this one. I'm glad it isn't light and fluffy and has some substance!


  24. JENNY!!! I so totally want to read this! Not too many contempt "call to me" but this one screams my name dude!!

  25. This was one I really wanted to read, but wasn't sure if it was going to be super corny. Mostly though, I was worried that Jordan was going to turn into one of those girls who likes the guy so much and gives up everything she wants because she wants him more....*cue throw up in mouth here*. I am SO glad to here that isn't the case. I'm going to get this one as soon as I can, now!

  26. "While Ty rattles her a bit, he never succeeds in reducing her to a young woman we don’t recognize, instead she maintains the same attitude we've appreciated all along...." YEAH! Girl power! For once, a character that doesn't change because of a boy! (That or I haven't read one yet) Thanks for the review.

  27. Your review is almost better than the book! You should be writing for BookList or Publisher's Weekly :)

  28. Wow, so... I completely underestimated this one then. That's always a good feeling, actually! I need to read more contemporary and this needs to be on the list.

  29. I overlooked this book for months, but I'm SO excited to read it now! Thanks for reviewing.