by Miranda Kenneally
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (July 5, 2016)
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There are no mistakes in love.The story Defending Taylor contains a hodgepodge of good qualities a YA book should have. Teenage drama is the heart of this book. It also serves up school, sports, love (2 love interests! Yum!), family and a side of politics. Taylor Lukens is a strong, likable character. Although she makes a few bad choices (like we all have), Taylor slowly tries to right her wrongs.
Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor's always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that's what is expected of a senator's daughter. But one impulsive decision-one lie to cover for her boyfriend-and Taylor's kicked out of private school. Everything she's worked so hard for is gone, and now she's starting over at Hundred Oaks High.
Soccer has always been Taylor's escape from the pressures of school and family, but it's hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she's going through is her older brother's best friend, Ezra. Taylor's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it's hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?
First comes teenage drama. Taylor gets kicked out of her boarding school, starts a new public school, breaks up with her boyfriend and struggles with it all. Old friends are far away and new friends are hard to make.
Second comes fun soccer scenes. Taylor (most people call her Tee) was a strong player at her boarding school, just granted team captain and then has trouble finding her place in her new school (on and off the field). Drizzle in a controlling mean girl and it's a recipe for stressful living.
Third comes love (I know it's supposed to be first!). Tee starts with a boyfriend and ends with a boyfriend...not saying they are the same one though! This love story is a juicy one!
Fourth comes problems with parents. Oh, the parent problems! Taylor's father is in the Senate, she's somewhat of an embarrassment from her scandal at boarding school. I don't love politics, but found the political theme in this story fitting.
Tee has a strong work ethic, but is starting to realize that she has pushed herself too hard. A great lesson for young people to understand, work hard but play hard too. I especially loved how the admissions guy at Yale told Taylor he is 40 and still not sure what he wants to do with his life, a thought I'm assuming many people ponder.
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally is a coming-of-age story with many great elements. The tone is a serious one, but this book is still fun and contains multiple important life lessons.