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Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Keneally

Jordan Woods is the captain and quarterback of her high school football team.  She works twice as hard as the guys to be taken seriously, and she loves football.  When a new guy moves to town and threatens her starting position, Jordan’s worried…and then more than worried, because she starts to fall for him.

Readers, this is contemporary romance masquerading as sports fiction.  What’s so frustrating about the novel’s plot is that Keneally lays the groundwork for a genuinely interesting sports tale, but it takes an almost immediate backseat to the silly, predictable love triangle that develops between the book’s three main characters.  I can’t tell you how tired I am of these love triangles with no depth whose only purpose is to add unnecessary conflict.

Of course, some of the silliness of the love triangle could be tempered if the characters weren’t so flat and one-dimensional.  Even Jordan, who by all rights should be an interesting character, seems to lose personality as she becomes more enmeshed in trying to decide who to date.  Her decisions don’t ever fully make sense, and not once did I believe that her decisions or thought processes were those of an actual teenage girl.  Everything Keneally had to offer felt inauthentic, and this was especially true in the case of Ty, who might be the most cardboard-like character in the novel.

A general dismissal of anything out of the hetero-normative world makes this a particularly uncomfortable world.  Even though the novel is supposed to be set in the deep south, (where, we’re meant to assume, people are more “backward” than the progressive, big-city Northern cities) there’s an astounding lack of awareness to any sort of alternative lifestyle.  This left a bad taste in my mouth and made an otherwise lackluster story sort of irritating.

Readers looking for a simple, uncomplicated YA romance might find it here, but it’s this reader’s personal opinion that there’s a lot more compelling romance stories out there.  This one has an amateurish feel about it, and there’s nothing very satisfying about the novel or its completely predictable ending.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Keneally. Sourcebooks Fire: 2011.  Borrowed copy.

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