Published by Sourcebooks Fire on July 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Edelweiss eArc
There are no mistakes in love.
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?
~ Kenneally continues to be one of my favorite YA authors, and Defending Taylor was a welcome addition to her Hundred Oaks series.
~ Taylor makes a big mistake, and then compounds it by lying. Suddenly her life at a quaint boarding school and captain of the soccer team is over, and she’s just one of the masses at Hundred Oaks high school. She’s worked her whole life towards a goal- getting into Yale and joining her family business. Now her Senator father and socialite mom have lost faith in her, and her goals seem out of reach.
~ I like that Taylor was hard working, but she’s far from perfect. Her reasons for lying were understandable, her reasons for staying quiet are as well even if we the reader know that you can’t keep secrets like that for long.
~ Ezra is another perfect book boyfriend- Keneally has a gift with making great love interests that are still very human. Ezra is Tee’s older brother’s bestie, and there’s a history there, and the tension between them leaps from the page in their first encounter (at a coffee shop).
~ Seriously, Ezra, coffee, and soccer? Taylor is my spirit animal.
~ What I got from the book wasn’t just the great romance (and it is great)- I loved the message of yes, we mess up, sometimes we mess up hugely. But there’s more to life than striving to be perfect, because we can get so lost in reaching our goals that we don’t remember why we made them in the first place. That we can bounce back, and maybe it won’t be like before, but maybe if we’re honest with ourselves we can rally.
~ The book also deals with sex (of the responsible nature), prescription drug abuse (of the irresponsible nature), political scandal (of the usual nature) and caffeine addiction (of the absolutely necessary nature). Part of the reason that I love Kenneally’s books so much is that she isn’t afraid to tackle issues that most YA books (especially in the contemporary romance department) usually shy away from. There is such a welcome honesty to her writing.
Stop the Clock:
Life throws us curve balls, and sometimes our plans are forced to change drastically. Taylor made some bad decisions, but she made them with good intentions. Her actions have some unforeseen consequences, because that’s life. It can be messy and complicated and unfair, but it’s important to know that the world moves on, and so can we.
Defending Taylor gets a Midnight Book rating of: