“Defending Taylor”by Miranda Kenneally

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Taylor Lukens is a star soccer player, a member of the debate team, and a candidate for valedictorian at her private high school in St. Andrews, in Tennessee. Her academic success, in addition to her father’s fame as senator, makes her a great candidate to be accepted into Yale, the school her family members have attended. When Taylor is caught with her boyfriend’s Adderall pills, she takes the fall for him and hopes that her family name will save her from punishment, but she gets expelled from St. Andrews instead. Taylor now has to attend the public high school, Hundred Oaks High, for her senior years because her parents and school administrators are convinced that she has a drug addiction problem. With her chances of getting into Yale slim, Taylor starts to realize that her lifelong dream of taking over her family’s finance company is not looking as appealing as she thought. When her brother’s old friend Ezra comes back to town, Taylor starts to realize that her expulsion opened her eyes to more possibilities than just Yale.

Fans of Kenneally’s work will be familiar with the setting and characters that have been featured in her other six novels, so Defending Taylor easily fits into the small, Tennessean community that Kenneally had previously established. This novel, however, does not require any prior knowledge about the characters or the setting. Those who have read Racing Savannah, also by Kenneally, will recognize Jack and Savannah when they make a guest appearance in Defending Taylor. This story heavily stresses the importance of hard work and how dropping a name is not always the way to success. Even when Taylor is expelled and it appears like she has no chance of getting into Yale, she is still determined to correct her mistakes so the admissions officers give her a chance. A love interest is a typical feature in Kenneally’s novels, and she does not disappoint her fans in Defending Taylor. Any teenage girl who has had a crush on one of her brother’s friends will be able to relate to the way Taylor feels about her brother’s friend Ezra. While Taylor has feelings for Ezra, she is also a strong, independent young woman who can hold her own without relying on a guy. She takes a stand against the mean girl on her soccer team, and she confronts her parents about her feelings about college. Any reader who has enjoyed Kenneally’s other novels should check out Defending Taylor as their next good read.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

 

“Foul Trouble” by John Feinstein

Foul Trouble by Feinstein

Foul Trouble is a sports novel that focuses on high school basketball players Terrell Jamerson and Danny Wilcox. The boys are best friends and high school seniors who are being scouted to play basketball in college. Terrell one of the best high school basketball players in the country, and soon college coaches, investors, and sponsors start lining up to offer him deals with large sums of cash. Danny sees that not all of these people offering Terrell these deals are looking out for him. Some of the deals could prevent him from becoming a pro if they were discovered by the NCAA. Terrell and Danny try to avoid getting sucked into a deal that is too good to be true when they are looking to play basketball for their dream colleges.

Those who do not know much about basketball may be confused while reading this novel, as it contains many descriptions of basketball games. Basketball terminology is used heavily, such as the parts of the court, positions on the team, and certain plays.  Readers can tell that Feinstein has done his research because there is mention of real-life college coaches, players, and important figures in basketball. While there is not much of an exciting plot, Feinstein makes up for this with interesting behind-the-scenes insights into the deals offered to high school players and how they may affect the players’ future careers.  It also examines the issue of people who want to be close to you because of your talent or fame, not because of who you are as a person. This book is definitely recommended for teens who are interested in an insider’s view of the sports world.

-Check out this book or put it in hold.

-Caylee P.