Book Review: Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally
Defending Taylor Hundred Oaks #7 By: Miranda Kenneally Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire Release Date: July 5, 2016 Add to Goodreads Source: eARC from publisher in exchange for a honest review GR's Summary: 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?
Hundred Oaks Series: My Review of Racing Savannah Here My Review of Breathe, Annie, Breathe Here My Review of Jesse's Girl Here
I love the Hundred Oaks Series. It is not only fun and romantic, but it opens up the opportunity to contemplate and discuss social issues relevant in the world today. Ms. Kenneally always writes the most thought provoking stories, and I appreciate the fact that they are chock-full of substance!
In Defending Taylor, we get to learn about high school senior Taylor Leukens. When they story begins, we learn that seventeen year old Taylor is the youngest child of a senator. She attends a prestigious and elite private school, is set to be the captain of the girls soccer team, and has been preparing for years to get into Yale, the ivy league college of choice for her grandfather, father, and sister. Her brother "rebelled," by attending Princeton.
Consequently, Taylor undergoes an abundance of stress, lack of sleep, and the constant need to make her family proud of her. When Taylor get's caught with pills that are not hers, she gets blamed. Thinking that her father will be able to help her situation, she takes the fall for her boyfriend, Ben, who is attending their private school on a scholarship. Unfortunately, Taylor's father decides that she needs to endure the repercussions of her actions.
Therefore, Taylor gets expelled and ends up having to attend Hundred Oaks High School. Her lie causes a downward domino effect that ends up disrupting more than one aspect of her life. Along the way, Taylor gets close to her brother's best friend and long time crush Ezra Carmichael, who is dealing with his own secret, challenges, and stresses.
Defending Taylor was quite the page-turner! I was not surprised, as all of Ms. Keneally's books tend to hook me from the start, and captivate me until the very end. I loved Taylor's character. She was the typical teenager that stressed about making the wrong life decisions, and not succeeding in the way that her family expected. She took pills to help her get the energy she needed, so that she would not fall asleep when studying. Taylor took on way too much, and was so busy working hard, that her life was passing her by.
Ezra was a character that made her question what she really wanted in life, and I loved that about him. He supported Taylor, and just wanted her to be happy. Ezra was a sweet, sexy, and all around great guy, that was one of the catalysts for her character growth. I appreciated how Ms. Keneally addressed the issues of teenage stress, and pill use. I think this issue is very relevant in the present time. We see the way that teens are struggling with the need to be perfect and exceed expectations to get into college, and then score at the top of their class.
I give, Defending Taylor, by Miranda Keneally, 4 Taking the Fall, Growing Up, Sweet Romance, Taking Charge of One's Happiness Filled Stars!!! This was another great story in the Hundred Oaks Series, and I loved getting reacquainted with other characters from previous stories in the series! Especially, Jack Goodwin, from Racing Savannah!!! He gave Taylor some priceless advice. I can't wait to see whose story we get next! Keep them coming Ms. Keneally!!!
Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.