Rummanah Aasi
  I'm not a football fan. I'll generally watch snippets of a game here and there with my brothers who live and breathe the game. It always confuses them why I love the TV show Friday Night Lights which centers around a high school football team since I don't care for the sport. The reason why I loved the show is because of its great characters, storyline, acting, and directing. These are all the same qualities I found while reading Miranda Kennally's debut novel Catching Jordan

Description (from Goodreads): 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.

Review: Catching Jordan is a great blend of sports, family drama, and romance though the book's description seems to market the latter. It is the story of being true to yourself regardless of how others see you. It is the story of pursuing your dreams. It is these universal themes regardless of your love/hate relationship to sports, you can connect and relate to the book and its characters.
  Jordan Woods is a self proclaimed tomboy, a female quarterback who has lead her high school football team on a victory streak and another chance at the state championship. She knows exactly what she wants, playing football in college, and does everything that she can to make her dream possible. Some may say she has tunnel vision, but I don't view her that way. I believe she's driven, ambitious, competitive, and strong. She is truly a rare gem we find in contemporary YA whose focus is something beyond "who will be my boyfriend this year?" I loved Jordan right away. Though her passion for football may be foreign to me and a lot of readers, her insecurities are tangible and familiar. She longs to get her approval from her NFL playing dad who seems to do everything he can to avoid Jordan's games and ignore her skills while complimenting her teammates. Jordan is also at a loss on how to deal with her new found crush, Ty Green, a new student from Texas and also a great quarterback who might possibly steal her position on the team.
  While romance does play a large role in the book and for the most part done quite well, it does not overshadow all of Jordan's great achievements and has her questioning the prioritizes in her life. I found the romance as a great device in enhancing the overall discussion of gender roles and expectations including Jordan's own preconceived notions. We expect her to be consumed with Ty and abandon her dreams, but she thankfully does not. She is constantly throw into the chaos of friendship, loyalty, what does it mean to love someone, and finally acceptance.
  For me, the highlight of Catching Jordan are the various relationships in the book and the chemistry that all the characters share with one another. JJ, Carter, Ty, and Henry are adorable and infuriating in their own way. You want to hug, slug, and sometimes slap them upside the heads for being stupid just as you would with brothers and friends. Their love is genuine and constant. Jordan's family also plays a vital role in supporting and looking out for her. I especially loved watching her relationship with her father grow.
  Some readers may be worried that heavy football terminology would be used, but I didn't really have a problem understanding the game. I think Kenneally provides enough details in her description for the reader to understand what was going on.   I did have a few issues with how the characters causally thought about sex and having a teen boy sleeping over in a girls room without parental concerns. I also did find the plot twist in the book to be a bit abrupt, but despite these flaws I really enjoyed Catching Jordan would highly recommend it to readers of realistic fiction who enjoy a strong female protagonists.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Some strong language, allusions to sex, and underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Dairy Queen series by Catherine Murdock
12 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    So happy you enjoyed this one as well Rummanah! I wondered if Jordan would feel foreign to me as well, not knowing a ton about football, but like you said this book is more about changing relationships than the game itself and I just loved it:) Outstanding review!

  2. Everyone is reading this book!

    I think Jordan's plight about seeking approval from her dad sounds totally relatable, even if she is doing it through a means I know little about, football. And I like it when characters make you want to sock them, because that just show how much you are connecting to them.

  3. I keep hearing how great the relationships are in this book - I so need to pick up a copy!

    Wonderful review :)

  4. I agreed with pretty much everything you said, Rummanah. The casual sex and sleeping over without parents saying anything were two of my issues with this one as well, but I really enjoyed this one because of the relationships and the fact that Jordan continued to stick to her dreams despite the upheaval in her love life.

  5. This is the last book I've read as well, and I liked it as much as you did. It was such a cute book.

    PS: you didn't much, but I enjoyed the sleepovers with Jordan and Henry, and it was good to see that her parents knew her and trusted her.

  6. Vivien Says:

    What I love about contemporary fiction is the relationships. How they develop. Because, contemporary has an uncanny way of digging in and drawing out a lot of emotions. Can't wait.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. Sophia Rose Says:

    I have heard such good things about this book and your thorough review just made me want to read it all the more.

    Thanks for the post!

  8. This sounds great. I'm so excited to read it. I have no interest in football either, but I loved the Dairy Queen series. This sounds like another good contemp.

  9. I'm not a fan of football either, so I'm glad that I'll still be able to relate to Jordan

    thanks for the review

  10. TayteH Says:

    "She is truly a rare gem we find in contemporary YA whose focus is something beyond "who will be my boyfriend this year?" Now can't there be more girls like that in my school? Or at dont' think about sex every minute of the day. :D The review was awesome. Thanks!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Oh I loved your review...:D

    I got this for review a few weeks ago must go and read it now!!!!

  12. Jenny: I'm SO not a girly girl and I liked that about Jordan.

    Missie: I'm with you. Henry reminded me a LOT of Tim Riggins, which is a really good thing. :D

    YA Book Queen: Hope you enjoy it as much I did!

    Z: I loved that aspect about her and the book. Once the romance started I was a bit worried that everything she worked hard for disappeared.

    Ari: I can your POV but I don't think I could let my daughter/son do that even if I did trust them.

    Viven: Me too.

    Sophia: Thank you. :)

    Alison: This one really reminded me of DJ especially the first book. Hope you enjoy it. :)

    Steph: I definitely think so. Hope you give this book a chance.

    TayeH: Yep, I know what you mean, which is why I never got along with the girlie girls in high school.

    Tina: I have a strong feeling that you'll love this book. It made me miss FNL SO much!

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