Title: Stealing Parker
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Number of Pages: 256 (paperback)
Advertised Age Level: Ages 13-17
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 17 years/12th grade
Language: some profanity, use of the “F” word
Sex: non-explicit descriptions of heavy petting, kissing, inappropriate relationships
Drug/Alcohol Use: one secondary character is a drug addict, characters drink alcohol
Social Issues: promiscuity, inappropriate relationship with a teacher, homosexuality, drug abuse, social ostracism, abuse of power, borderline eating disorder
Suggested Movie Grade: R
Parker Hudson’s life is pretty close to perfect – a star softball player on her high school team, valedictorian of her graduating class, plenty of friends, and a family that she loves. Not to mention a faith in God that she can lean on and trust. But when Parker’s mother announces that she’s gay and leaves the family for her real love, the scandal rocks their small town, and everyone in Parker’s life turns against her. Most of Parker’s friends abandon her, her church tells her that she’s got sin in her family, and people start whispering that Parker might be a lesbian herself. In order to gain some control of her life and to make sure no one would ever believe such a thing, Parker quits the softball team, loses weight to become more sexy, and sets out to kiss as many boys as she can.
When Parker signs up to be the statistician for the boys’ baseball team, she meets young coach Brian Hoffman. Even though Brian is a real adult – 23 years – the two begin flirting, and Parker sets her eyes on Brian as her next conquest. But when her academic rival, Will “Corndog” Whitman begins to show her some attention, Parker starts to wonder if her bad reputation is more of a liability than an asset. And she begins to understand how her mother must have felt all of the years that she sacrificed her true feelings for the sake of her family.
Potential Points of Concern
Parker has a physical relationship with teacher/coach Brian Hoffman. The two do not sleep together but engage in kissing and heavy petting (mildly descriptive). Their inappropriate relationship is discovered and Brian is forced to resign.
While Parker remains a virgin throughout the entire story, she has many “one night stand” make out sessions with a variety of boys. Nothing is described but is referenced throughout the story. Other characters often remark about her promiscuity, and many assume that she is not a virgin.
Parker’s mother comes out as a lesbian and has an off-screen relationship with another woman.
Parker’s brother, Ryan, has become an alcoholic and drug addict as a way to cope with his family’s situation. He overdoses on cough medicine and is rushed to the hospital. He survives.
Parker is ostracized and teased because of her reputation and because of her mother’s homosexuality. Her former best friend becomes her worst enemy.
The church that Parker’s family attends is very judgmental about her family and Parker’s father seems influenced by church members to an unhealthy degree.
Parker’s best friend, Drew, comes out as gay.
After her mother’s announcement, Parker loses a significant amount of weight. While it is never suggested that she has an eating disorder, she uses food as a way to gain control of her life, overly careful about what she eats in order to keep her weight down. Towards the end of the book, Parker begins to allow herself to enjoy food again.
Age Appropriateness: 14 +