June 29, 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

Defending TaylorDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

*Digital ARC was received from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pub. Date: July 5, 2016

Get a copy here!

Taylor was an overachiever whose grades were as bright as her coming future. Targeting Yale as her next step, Taylor meant to add up on the supremacy her whole family has worked on for a long time. Her dad was a successful senator while both her siblings enrolled in aforementioned Ivy League school trying to catch up their father's brilliant path. Following her family's grace was all she knows her whole life. Taylor might have worked so hard to be the next valedictorian as well as the best soccer captain in her current private school, but keeping a good image of being a senator's academically-bright daughter is what challenged Taylor to be better ―not that she needed to get any better, anyway.

Taylor was just one step away from reaching all those dreams... if only she's also 'bright' enough to keep herself from playing hero on backstabbing ex-boyfriend.
Covering her less than charming ex-boyfriend for drugs possession resulted in Taylor getting kicked out of school and mentally out of her family. Not only that she tainted her clean sheet for Yale's early submission, she also put her dad’s campaign for coming election into such fatal risk. What Taylor had been working on practically all her life was blown away by a single mistake (or more like ‘unnecessary heroic act’).

It’s kind of ironic and sad, what happened to Taylor and how her family reacted to the case. It’s even sadder because things like that did happen in real life all the time. Miranda accurately portrayed Taylor’s life as a teenager with all the problems within. Her interaction with her friends, her romantic life, her life as both senator’s daughter and that one haven’t-yet-to-be-succeed kid in family which pressure was pretty high either way, and how her life was slowly crumbling down along with her belief on what was supposed to be her master plan all along. The author brought us to the front row to see how it all changed and affected Taylor with her detailed scenes. I’m sure there would be many teens out there who could pretty much relate to Taylor’s life because being a kid, moreover the last kid in the family, you would be expected to do much better than your siblings or at least do as well as them. I personally could relate with her from this angle. Sometimes it could be easy for parents to compare you with your sister or brother and though they mean well with that, it could be a sensitive issue because no one in this world wants to be compared with other people, not even their siblings. Everyone just wants to be seen as themselves, be it good or bad.

I could feel what Taylor had to go through and it sucked that her parents are such hopeless excuse. The only comfort she could get was only from her brother which is sad considering Taylor also got a sister but the said sister was really awful to her. The chemistry in Taylor’s family was almost non-existent and I was hoping that in the end it would be fixed but the author decided to let Tay made peace with her family in her own way. Like it’s not necessarily be a sweet ending where everyone asked for forgiveness from each other, but it’s simply that since Taylor had found her way in life, she could face her family with stronger backbone.

The appearance of Ezra character in the story seemed to be out of nowhere and I kind of missed the background story at first. But along with his continuous appearance, we learned what had happened in the past between him and Taylor. I grew a deep feeling of sympathy for him that soon turned into affection. I felt really bad for him and at the same time felt amazed by how compared to Taylor, Ezra was much braver to go against his family’s conservative wish. Ezra’s relationship with Taylor was pretty sweet and I like its dynamic between them.

I might not have any serious issues with this book but truthfully speaking, Defending Taylor is what I would call as a good yet barely memorable read. It’s not that it’s badly written or what. There were several scenes that fell flat that I wouldn’t mind if it was removed from the book anyway. Like those when Taylor asked for advice from the friend who less and more was in the same circumstance as her. It might be a good and a little touching even, but it was like it’s written half-heartedly that I couldn’t find the emotional connection that likely supposed to be there. Though, honestly the advice was really good!

”Your advice is to just come clean? Let my family know I’m a big ole mess and have no direction?”

… “Yeah, and the sooner the better. Then you can start figuring out what you want to do instead of worrying about what your parents will say and pretending everything is fine. Just come clean.”
Defending Taylor contained a good amount of life lessons, especially for young reader who’s in the middle of figuring things out in their life after high school. Miranda made a clear picture of teen’s life with all the problems that come along within it. Yet me being too old to be a ‘teen’ found this book simply as good read but not the one that would leave marks. But don’t let me discouraged you to pick this book up, though!