Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
My rating: 4 stars.
There are no mistakes in love. 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?
Defending Taylor was such a brilliant read; it was full with funny, quirky characters, but all of who had to deal with tough everyday issues that you could relate to. This is one of the reasons I adore Kenneally’s books so much she’s able to make you enjoy the heck out of a book, but also deal with several underlying themes very well. Our MC Taylor finds herself in the toughest of situations; she gets kicked out of one of the most prestigious schools for covering up for someone she cared about. Not only does she have to enrol at the local school, she has to start all over again, she knows nobody here, she has to see a councillor on a daily basis for what she did and with her deadline for early acceptance at Yale looming around the corner Taylor really needs to sort everything out. On top of that her brothers best friend is back in town, (did I mention that Taylor had the biggest crush on him, until Ezra let her down a few years back in the biggest way). But now it was Taylor’s time to get back on track and put everything right, may even with Ezra.
Taylor was a MC I could easily relate to, she’d put a lot of pressure on herself to succeed and meet her parents expectations and she had been let down in the biggest way because she put her trust in somebody. I just really wanted Taylor to succeed but also have fun at the same time; there were huge changes and obstacles in front of Taylor, especially a soccer team that wouldn’t give her the time of day. But I admired Taylor’s strength, determination and most of all her loyalty. She refused to turn in who she was covering up even though they totally deserved it and she didn’t quit on the soccer team even though she wanted to. I’m glad that through her struggles she had a friend in Ezra. Ezra was a tough guy to resist despite Taylor doing her hardest to do so, he was sweet, could always bring a smile to Taylor’s face (but in most cases weak in the knees) but he was also going through a similar situation with his own parents. So I’m glad that Ezra was someone that Taylor could lean on, the development of Ezra and Taylor’s relationship despite some struggles was magical and beautiful.
Once again Kenneally also made the importance of family a central part of Defending Taylor. Taylor’s family had a lot to deal with, but at the end of the day they were always there for each other despite the mistakes they made along the way. I don’t know why it took so long for me to pick up Defending Taylor, but I think this was the perfect time for me to do so, the swoony romance and fantastic characters makes me want to dive into more contemporary YA reads straight away!