Monday, April 22, 2019

Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Defending Taylor
by Miranda Kenneally
Sourcebooks Fire
Published July 5, 2016
304 pages

PlotCaptain 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? (2019,

Review:  In Defending Taylor, the author brings to light the tremendous pressure of succeeding when you come from a privileged family. But, when you’re pushed past your limits, sometimes the best intentions can still bring the worst consequences. After being caught with Adderall, Taylor Luckens is kicked out of St. Andrews boarding school. But, the pills actually belonged to her boyfriend, Ben, who was MIA when Taylor was caught. Taylor doesn’t tell anyone who the pills belonged to because her boyfriend doesn’t come from a wealthy family and is only attending St. Andrews because of a scholarship. But, Taylor has a privileged life and she believes her father, a Senator, can still help her bounce back from this. But, when that doesn’t happen she wishes deep down that Ben would confess after realizing how bad her life has become. Even worse, the press has caught wind of her expulsion and now her father's reelection is at stake. Through all this, there is Ezra, the friend of her brother and her old crush. Ezra comes from a privileged family, but has a falling out with his father and now works in construction. Now that Taylor attends a new school, she runs into Ezra more often and soon they rekindle their friendship and eventually start dating.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Although the pills were not Taylors, she was still taking them to have the energy to stay on top of her school work and soccer practices. So, although Taylor wanted to blame her boyfriend for her being caught with his backpack (which had the pills), she was still doing something that would have gotten her in trouble. Even though the pills were found in his backpack, they could have easily been found in Taylor's- albeit not as many.

The romance between Ezra and Taylor was believable and drawn out pretty well. The relationship between Taylor and her family was my favorite. I liked how Kenneally showed the importance of family even when you make a mistake - even if it's a big one. I also liked how the importance of forgiveness is reflected throughout the story.

Unfortunately, the problem for me wasn't the story, it was Taylor. She wasn't a very likable character. She was used to getting everything she wanted, came from money, but complained about having to work hard in order to please her parents and look impressive on college applications. But, there are lots of people with very little money who have to work even harder because they don't have the money or connections that Taylor has. Overall, this book deals with some serious issues and definitely has the dialogue and relationships/friendships that would appeal to the teen reader. 

*Contains profanity and sexual situations.

* A DRC was given for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Hearts

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