ARC Review: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally


Defending Taylor
Series: Hundred Oaks #7
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published July 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Goodreads Synopsis
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?

See my reviews of:
 - Catching Jordan (#1)
 - Breathe, Annie, Breathe (#5)
 - Jesse's Girl (#6)

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

When I first discovered Kenneally's books last year, I fell in love with her writing and her characters. I'm not a sporty person, like at all, but reading about all the different sports available at American schools, and the American school system in general. When I was younger I used to play football (soccer to Americans), so when I found out that book 7 in the series would be about football, I was dying to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to my expectations, though I did still enjoy it.

Defending Taylor is about Taylor, the daughter of a state senator, who has been kicked out of her elite private school when she took the rap for her boyfriend's drug possession. She has caused a huge problem for her dad's re-election campaign, and now has to enrol in Hundred Oaks High for her senior year. She knows she needs to make it up to her dad, who's entire career is now in trouble with the bad publicity surrounding Taylor's expulsion, and as a consequence she has to visit the school's guidance counsellor on a regular basis. She'd been due to become captain of the St Andrew's football team, and needs to join the Hundred Oaks team or else she'd lose her mind. However, the team is one of the worst in the state, and her new team mates are nothing like her old friends. It's only when her brother's best friend, Ezra, whom she had a crush on when she was younger, comes back into her life, that she begins to feel like her old self.

I don't know why, but the book just fell flat for me. Maybe it's because it dealt with more darker stories that the earlier books in the series, and it wasn't as cutesy as I was expecting. I never cared about Taylor as much as I have for the other protagonists, and I wasn't as keen on the storyline. I did like Kenneally made it clear that being a teenager isn't all perfect, and having pressure on you from an early age, to live up to the examples set by older siblings, especially when your family is in the spotlight. Taylor has had to deal with being the 'disappointment' for most of her life, and when she tries to do something selfless, by taking the blame for her, now ex-, boyfriend so he doesn't lose his scholarship, she ends up disappointing even more people.

I did enjoy the romance between Ezra and Taylor. When everyone else was down on Tee for messing up her father's campaign, etc., Ezra knew what it was like to disappoint his parents. They both just really understood each other, and even though Ezra had disappointed Taylor in the past, he had an extremely valid reason for doing so, and was gutted that his friendship had been ruined. Really, it was their relationship that made the book for me - Kenneally does write extremely swoony romances.

All in all, though I didn't like Defending Taylor, I did enjoy it in the end, and will definitely read more in this series. I know I'm probably one of the only ones who didn't love this, so I don't want to put you off.

Dates Read:
May 10-12, 2016

4 Stars

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