It's no secret that I love YA contemporary reads, but until I started Catching Jordan, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, even with it being a contemporary read. After reading so many positive, glowing reviews, I wondered if Miranda Kenneally's debut novel could be such a winner with me, too, but I didn't need to fear; Catching Jordan has all the elements I love: a smart, strong heroine, moments that tug at your heart-strings, a swoon-worthy boy who makes the heroine question her choices...and best yet, a definite "boy next door" type that I absolutely fell head over heels for, just like I did for Kenneally's story of a girl football quarterback and captain of her team.
Within mere pages, I found myself identifying with Jordan Woods, which might seem strange, considering I'm probably the least athletic person in my family. But Miranda Kenneally wrote Jordan so splendidly - strong, fierce, comfortable in her own skin, yet able to be turned around and twisted inside out just like any teenage girl. I thought that Kenneally did a fantastic job at nailing a genuine teenage voice - I read Jordan's story and felt like I was there with her - rough-housing with the guys, falling for Ty, questioning her friendship with Henry. I was frustrated when Jordan was, happy when she was, devastated when she was. I absolutely loved that over the course of Catching Jordan, this spirited teenager learns so much about herself and about life, and does it in a way that you never question if she's being true to herself. Miranda Kenneally is such a great story-teller that you trust her, you trust that in the end, the entire journey is for a purpose, and for Jordan, it definitely was.
The characters in Catching Jordan are all memorable to me. I found something to love about most of them, which made me happy. Kenneally treated her minor characters with the same care and thoroughness that she gave to her main characters. There's such a fantastic cast of characters, too - from Jordan to her best friend, Sam Henry, to Ty, to their friends like Carter, and JJ. I loved how everyone had something under the surface. Despite being such boisterous boys, Carter, Henry, and JJ showed multiple times how much they cared about Jordan. Ty proved himself to be more than just a gorgeous boy capable of making Jordan's heart melt.
And speaking of Ty and Jordan...oh wow. The romance in Catching Jordan was just really well done, and felt real and true to life. For Jordan, falling for Ty happened fast, but I was really impressed with how Miranda Kenneally developed their relationship. I loved getting to know Ty, through Jordan, and watching Jordan get to know herself. At times, I was less than thrilled with Ty as a character, although I definitely understood him. I also really adored the relationship between Jordan and Henry. Oh, Henry. I am STILL all giddy over him. I adored what a perfect foil his and Jordan's relationship and friendship was to hers with Ty, and how her interactions with the boys showed her so much about herself, and what she wanted. Henry was another one of those characters who definitely had more going on than met the eye on first glimpse, and I spent the entirety of Catching Jordan wanting to wrap my arms around him and squeeze tightly.
If you're looking for a quick but satisfying contemporary read, then be sure to check out Catching Jordan! It's a book full of heart and a few twists along the way, plus just enough character growth to satisfy my itch for characters who change over the course of a book. I really loved Miranda Kenneally's personal writing style, because it made Jordan's story feel more intimate than it might have otherwise, and I was really blown away by how carefully all the various relationships between the characters were explored. I'm starting Stealing Parker (the companion novel) tomorrow, and I can't wait!