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Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks) Paperback – July 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Taylor Lukens has life all figured out. Captain of her soccer team, president of the debate team, and daughter of a Tennessee senator, she dreams of early acceptance to Yale. However, she gets expelled from her prestigious boarding school after she takes the fall for her Adderall-dealing boyfriend. Before Taylor knows it, she's back at home and starting over at Hundred Oaks High, friendless and forced to play defense on the soccer team that used to be her rival. Torn apart by the damage that she's done to her father's reelection campaign and her relationship with her parents, the teen refuses to tell the world that she is innocent, thinking that her father will view her as a snitch, the worst fate of all. But then she reconnects with her old crush, Ezra Carmichael, and he inspires her to question all of the truths that she has held dear. On the surface, this work presents itself as a formulaic yet totally enjoyable summer read. However, this title has depth. Kenneally frankly discusses the realities of Adderall, Ritalin, and other drugs, and the sexually charged relationship between Taylor and Ezra feels authentic and unique compared with the cookie-cutter teen romances that this volume initially seems to resemble. VERDICT Purchase for collections in need of sports fiction, deeper summer reading, and realistic romance.—Laura Lintz, Henrietta Public Library, Rochester, NY
"On the surface, this work presents itself as a formulaic yet totally enjoyable summer read. However, this title has depth. Kenneally frankly discusses the realities of Adderall, Ritalin, and other drugs, and the sexually charged relationship between Taylor and Ezra feels authentic and unique compared with the cookie-cutter teen romances. " - School Library Journal
"I can't quite put my finger on what is so enthralling about Kenneally's newest novel, but it totally sucked me in. I loved that Kenneally didn't go with an easy, traditional happy-go-lucky ending. I also enjoyed the flawed nature of the characters, which made them feel more relatable. This is a great summer read and my favorite novel by Kenneally so far!" - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
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I liked a lot about this story - the majority of the characters, seeing old characters pop up (hi Jack and Savannah!), and the return to sports. I can't say that I was fond of Taylor or her family, but Ezra more than made up for them. This was a really good read, and the short story about Jordan and Henry at the end was phenomenal. :)