Miranda Kennelly’s newest: Defending Taylor

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Miranda Kennelly’s newest: Defending Taylor

The biggest strength of this book is the theme:  a life without enjoyment is a hollow endeavor. I love this message in a book for YA’s, and I think that it will hit home with many readers.  The rest of the book is pretty much what fans of Miranda Kennelly are expecting.  I mean that in a good way. If you haven’t read any of Kennelly’s books but you are a fan of Abbi Glines, I think you will enjoy these because it has the same feel as the early books in her Sea Breeze series.

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Goodreads Summary

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

My Thoughts

The narrator, Taylor, is easy to connect with and her love interest is crush-worthy.  The romantic relationship is believable, in part because there is some history between these two characters that began long before the start of the story.  This past is clearly laid out, so readers can relax and enjoy watching it come to fruition without having to backtrack and read an earlier book in the series.  That being said, a few beloved characters from Hundred Oaks make cameos, so if you have read the series, you will get a chance to catch up with a few of your favorites.

Another thumbs up goes to the family and friendship angles that this book explores.  They allow characters to actually work through issues in a positive way.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still all the drama readers want, but the resolutions are satisfying and heartening.

I had never read any books by this author until last year, and when I put a copy of Jesse’s Girl in my classroom library, my high school girls demanded more instantly.  So far, Breathe, Annie, Breathe is their favorite, and I don’t think this book will usurp its standing, but I’m certain they will enjoy Defending Taylor.  It’s a hard call to put this one on my shelves, though.  Interest and engagement are high for this series, but it feels like this particular book is crossing out of YA and into New Adult territory.  Fans won’t mind, but their parents might object to some of the sensuality.  I would say this one is really for more mature high school and college readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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