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This review first appeared at
A Backwards Story on
December 2, 2011.
Even if you don't know much about football, CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally is still easy to get into. It was refreshing to read a book about an athletic girl for a change. Growing up, I best loved books about dancers and gymnasts and figure skaters and horseback riders. I loved the girly sports. There are so many other types of athletes out there, and with the exception of runners and swimmers, I don't often see females featured doing other sports. Especially not football. But there ARE girls out there who play football and soccer and tennis and softball. Why aren't they playing these sports in novels? CATCHING JORDAN is especially unique because not only does Jordan play football, she's the the star quarterback and Captain of her high school football team. She wants to play ball in college. I've never seen a book quite like this and it was intriguing to fall into this world.
Jordan grew up in a sports household. Her dad played football professionally. Her brother is playing for his university. Jordan herself loves football--and she's good at it, too. She wants to go to Alabama and continue playing football throughout college. The only problem? Jordan is a female in a man's world. While her own school is very accepting of her for who she is, not everyone agrees with her decision. Even though she's one of the best players in the state, Alabama might not really want her merely because she's a girl. Even her father doesn't want her playing the game he loves so much. He's never attended a single game, though he goes to every one of her brother's games. It isn't fair. When a quarterback named Ty moves to her area and wants to join the team, Jordan is afraid that the Coach might give him her position...and she's even more afraid that she might, for the first time, be falling for a teammate.
Jordan goes through so many changes throughout this novel. I really like it when you can see how far a character has mentally come over the course of a book's journey. At the beginning, she thinks she has her entire life mapped out, but by the end, she's completely off-course...and okay with that. She's never really dated before and has always been one of the guys. She's terrified when she begins developing feelings for Ty. He's not just any guy, either. He's her teammate, which means that if they ever date and break up, things will be messy at practice and during games. Plus, he plays the same position she does. Is he pretending to be interested in her to usurp her place as star quarterback and captain so he can look better for college scouts? Over the course of the novel, Jordan moves outside of her comfort zone and even begins tentatively interacting with other females, realizing that she can find female friends as well as male ones. I really enjoyed the way Kenneally formed Jordan's family. I always like having a strong family unit in my teen novels since so few books do. One of my favorite characters was Henry, a football player that I'd love to see come back in future books (since the next two novels by Kenneally are also set in this world). Overall, CATCHING JORDAN was a fun read full of elements we need more of in YA.