Hundred Oaks, Book 1
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Description from Goodreads:
ONE OF THE BOYS
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 of 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 everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
First Sentence: "I once read that football was invented so people wouldn't notice summer ending."
You guys, you need to know just how much I hate football: A LOT. Seriously, I suffered through two years of marching band and those games bore me to tears. Also, it's usually either really hot or really cold. Basically, it's the worst sport in the world. Despite my utter loathing for the sport, Catching Jordan totally charmed me with its utter adorableness.
Jordan Woods comes off as a wholly believable character, partly because she would never, ever dress like the girl on the cover. Jordan feels really uncomfortable when she's not wearing sweats or a football uniform or mesh shorts. When she tries to look nice, she changes from a t-shirt to a plain, fitted shirt. There is hardly a girly inclination in her body, but she's still unquestionably a girl. I am so glad that Kenneally didn't feel the need to make her fit more with the feminine ideal. Jordan actually reminds me a bit of one of my dear friends in a lot of ways.
Another thing that I loved was how freaking amazing Jordan is as QB. I really didn't expect for everyone to take her so seriously, but they really did, and she was in no way a side show or the school laughing stock. The girl has mad skills. Her team clearly has crazy amounts of respect for her, and it's obvious that she has earned that. Also, I love that she eats just as much as the boys. A heroine like Jordan is so refreshing at over 6' tall and with a bottomless pit for a stomach after so many waifish, model-thin heroines.
Jordan's family, though not the main focus of the book, really turned out to be a major highlight for me as well. YA, in general, does not tend to be the place to go to find strong family relationships, but the Woods really are a wonderful family. I mean, when Jordan develops her crush on Ty, she tells her brother and her mother, and they are both so incredibly supportive. Jordan does have major issues with her father, a star quarterback and her idol, but I still would not put him in the category of awful YA parents, even at his worst.
The best part, though, was Henry. Oh my goodness, Henry. I want to whap that boy upside the head for being a dumbass and then ruffle his hair for being so utterly charming. The relationship between Henry and Jordan is just so sweet. They are such good friends, and he has her back in everything. Actually, so do JJ and Cameron, two more of the football guys. There aren't a ton of depictions of real male/female friendship, so I appreciated that so much. I mean, these boys will even talk about boys with her if that's what she needs. So great!
Dealing with romantic feelings really does throw Jordan for a loop. She has never really been attracted to anyone strongly before and she doesn't know how to handle it. Her attraction to Ty does come out of nowhere, and could have been disgusting and insta-lovey, but that Jordan handles it in a very realistic and Jordan-ish way. I totally appreciated how she was both terrified and excited about her romantic prospects, and how confused she was about her options. Also, girl really goes for things once she makes her mind up.
My least favorite part, actually, were Jordan's poems. She gets into writing in a journal as a way of handling all of these new feelings she's experiencing that she just can't handle. I like this in theory, but I just really didn't like most of her poems. However, I chose and excerpt from one as my favorite quote, so...yeah, they weren't all bad.
This book makes an excellent summery, vacationy read, and I recommend it highly. The plot itself doesn't carry many surprises, or at least I saw them from the beginning, but it does what I wanted it to do, so no complaints from me. I am so ready to read Stealing Parker, which, like a dummy, I left at home.
"Henry was right—I let everyone else's feelings affect my decisions.
I'm taking the ball and running with it.
Maybe they're not my top choices, but they're choices that are good for me, choices I can live with.
Some things I can't control; but some things I can. And I'm going to."