Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally
May Contain Spoilers
ONE OF THE BOYS
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 of 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 everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?
I love college football, so I was interested in Catching Jordan when I discovered that it’s about a high school senior who dreams of playing college ball. Since Jordan is a girl, I was even more intrigued about the story. With no encouragement from her father, a professional quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, Jordan doggedly pursues her dream. She is the team captain, her mom and brother both support her, and she has the best stats of any quarterback in the state. There was that little problem during last year’s State finals, but she has worked hard to get a handle on her nerves and she longs for a second chance to prove herself. With her hopes pinned on attending Alabama and being a part of their program, she is aiming for the stars.
For the most part, I liked Jordan and her determination to prove to everyone that she is a great quarterback, regardless of her gender. She has an uphill battle, because even though she is tall and strong, she still isn’t as powerful as the top high school players. She has wrapped herself in the protective bubble of her teammates, and she has only one friend who is a girl. Instead, she prefers to hang out with the guys. She thinks that in order to keep their respect, she has act like one of the guys, too. That is the aspect of Jordan’s character I wasn’t so fond of. She is so hung up on football and so hung up on herself that she almost ruins every friendship she has.
When new student Ty shows up at practice, Jordan has an unpleasant discovery – Ty is an even better quarterback than she is. At first she is completely freaked out about Ty. Will he be the starting quarterback, bumping her to be the lowly backup? Jordan has some serious self-doubts once he’s on the scene, but she possesses a confidence in her skills that keeps her from allowing Ty’s presence on the team from destroying her concentration and drive to stay on top of her game. It’s only after her personal relationships go down the toilet that Jordan’s ability to shake off her worries goes down the toilet as well. Suddenly, she is messing up everything in her life – she’s fighting with her best friend, she is botching important games, and worse, she has slipped into a depressed funk and she is skipping practices.
I did get frustrated with Jordan and many of her decisions. She started letting her frayed relationship with her father dictate some of her choices, and she let new guy Ty take control, too. For possessing such a strong character and for being so driven to succeed, Jordan displayed an appalling lack of common sense. Once she hooked up with Ty, she lost sight of herself, and that upset me. Instead of staying committed to her dreams and steadfast in her resolve to be the best she could be, she started to give up, and that made me so disappointed. Her determination dissolved into a spiral of angst. She started getting hung up over the past, instead of staying focused on her future.
Despite my disappointment with Jordan’s emotional development, I did find Catching Jordan to be a compelling read. I admit that I had a hard time believing that she would be so successful on a varsity football team, or that she would be recruited to play college ball. Still, I breezed through this book and became invested in Jordan’s success. Jordan is an engaging and unique character; she is someone I feel I haven’t met in previous forays into YA contemporary fiction, and she left me wishing that there was a greater variety of characters, of both genders, in all of the books that I read.
Grade: wavering between a B and a B-
Review copy provided by publisher