Author: Miranda Kenneally
Genre: Contemporary YA, sports fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published on: December 1, 2011
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.
*Sigh* You guys? THIS BOOK. There are so many reasons that CATCHING JORDAN is so stinkin’ good, and one of the best contemporary YAs I’ve read this year. If you haven’t picked up a copy of it or checked it out of your library yet, PLEASE try to soon! Unless you don’t like really sweet, funny contemporary romances with absolutely KICK-ASS main characters and crazy awesome guys (honestly, I’m not sure there was a bad guy in any kind of main role who WASN’T wonderful in his own way), CATCHING JORDAN should be on your list of books to read yesterday. Seriously. But of course, I can’t say all of these things without telling you guys WHY I loved it so much, so let’s get down to business!
One of the things I loved about this book before I bought a copy because of all the TREMENDOUS reviews it was getting was how much Jordan reminded me of one of my absolute favorite main characters OF EVER, DJ Schwenk from The Dairy Queen series. (Incidentally, if you do read CATCHING JORDAN and love it but haven’t read The Dairy Queen books by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, I can’t recommend those books to you enough. Jordan and DJ are like sisters from another mother, they’re so fabulous.) Both unpretentious, hard-working, athletic, romantically awkward, frank, lovable, strong, determined, TOUGH young girls. It’s literally against my religion to NOT root for them. So, what exactly are these girls about? Here’s Jordan, in her own words (Man. SO AWESOME):
I don’t obsess over things that other girls care about, like clothes, movie stars, hair, painting nails, knitting, or whatever shit they’re into.
I just want to eat of bunch of hot wings, sleep, play ball, and maybe, someday, make out with Ty.
I can’t really describe her much better than that. Although I will lament that I went to an all-girls high school and, thus, had no football team to join because apparently I have the appetite for it. Girl’s not kidding about those hot wings. THIS IS 100% WIN.
Jordan is one of those insanely great main characters who always seem extra special to me because they are so different from me. More take-charge, confident, tenacious, proudly unconventional, and unafraid of finding that her place is maybe not exactly where people think she should be. Like on her high school’s football team. But some of what makes Jordan so great is also what makes her more heartbreaking. She’s so devoted to “her team” and her love of football is so, so strong that she’s almost a little naive. And so while she is certain, SURE beyond a shadow of a doubt that Alabama wants her, the best high school QB in Tennessee, to play on their team, in my heart I worried for her and how she might react to the cruel, sexist, old boys club that is college football. I shouldn’t have worried. She’s too AWESOME to be held down for long. I was so proud of her.
I think, too, that one of the reasons that Jordan enjoys so much success and respect for her football skills–apart from her own determination and hard work, obviously–are the guys she’s surrounded by. Her friends. Her brother. Even her dad, in his own way. Especially Sam Henry, her best friend. I love them all with the fire of a million suns. The guys on the team are protective, funny, crazy, lovable and they RESPECT Jordan as a leader. It was so satisfying to see her interact with them as if she was one of the guys. They never judged her for being a girl, and they stood up for her whenever she was judged. And, you guys, Sam Henry is FANTABULOUS. He’s funny and sweet and he breaks your heart from the ANGST and the LOVE. Ty, too, is a great guy with his own issues who is hot and adorable and so endearing. I LOVED SO HARD that, when Jordan has to decide between two guys (cause you guys knew she had to, right?), you really feel for her because they’re both really, really good guys. If only ALL the girls had Jordan’s problems, you know? And let me just take a moment to give a fist-bump to Jordan’s brother, Mike. It’s so nice to see a young girl who can talk so freely and with such trust to her older brother, who supports her fully, loves her and treats his sister with respect and as an equal. I LOVE AWESOME BIG BROTHERS. They make me squee and do happy dances and wish that I had one myself. Mike, I wish you were a little older. In fact, I might picture you in my mind as being older anyway so that I don’t feel like such a PERV when I mini-crush on you.
What I truly loved about this book, though, is that we get to see Jordan realize that you can be a tomboy but still act like a girl sometimes, for lack of a better phrase, without losing yourself. If you want. You can have both, in whatever amounts you want, if it’s who you are and who you want to be because the people who truly matter won’t care. In the beginning, Jordan actively dismisses anything “girlish” because, partly, she doesn’t like it, which is fantastic in and of itself. But she also dismissed girly things because she thought she would lose the respect of the team and her guy friends if she partook of typically feminine stuff. It almost came across as Jordan being really judgmental, not realizing that not all girls freak out over their nails or turn away a platter of hot wings. But seeing her come to understand that the guys in her life don’t judge her that way, and that it’s possible to have friends who are girls who ALSO would rather eat hot wings sometimes and who understand the finer points of a flea-flicker was just as satisfying. I was SO STUPID HAPPY for her by the end of this book! She was always a strong character who knew what she wanted and worked hard to get it, even when people stood in her way (*cough*DAD*cough*), but I LOVED seeing her achieve that balance and realize that she liked it even better than she thought she would. CATCHING JORDAN was WONDERFUL.