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?
Four stars: A book that keeps this series going strong.
At seventeen, Taylor is driven and determined to make the most of her senior year so she can earn her way into Yale. Unfortunately, Taylor's world comes crashing down when she takes the fall for her boyfriend. Taylor expects her father to bail her out, but when he doesn't, Taylor must start anew. How can she get into Yale when she is no longer attending an elite boarding school where she was the captain of the soccer team? Not to mention the fact that she has to hide the truth. Soon things spiral out of control as Taylor's one bad decision begins to have serious repercussions on her future and her family. How will Taylor whose future was once so bright recover?
What I Liked:
- This is the seventh book in the Hundred Oaks Series and this book proves once again why fans love this series. Defending Taylor doesn't shy away from tough issues, it takes on drug use, dyslexia, and how one small mistake can ruin a future. I always appreciate that Ms. Kenneally keeps the series fresh and vibrant, and she never steers away from the tough stuff.
- Taylor is a character who many can relate to. She is smart and extremely driven. She has a perfect record in school, and she has done everything to ensure her college future, until she makes one small mistake. I admired Taylor's determination and her driven nature. Even when the rug is pulled out from under her, Taylor dusts herself off and does her damnedest to get back into the game, even when things were stacked against her. Taylor is made of tough stuff, and I couldn't help but admire her.
- I loved the family dynamic in this one. Taylor's father is a U.S. Senator up for reelection and he is so busy he doesn't have much time for Taylor, her mother is no better. There was lots of ups and downs and turbulence with the family, and plenty of times when Taylor felt like they were all against her, but then when it mattered most, they came through for her. I really liked the way Taylor and her father worked things out, and I also appreciated the compassion and concern from her older brother.
- The romance is simple and steamy. It evolves from a long time friendship, which I think are always the best kind. I also liked the way the sex was handled.
- Dyslexia is highlighted in this one, and I appreciated how Ms. Kenneally called attention to this disorder.
- I love that this is a companion novel series, and you can read them in any order. What I love most is that you get to catch up with characters from previous novels. In this book, you get a bit of Jack and Savannah from Racing Savannah.
- The ending is a bit open, but it is satisfactory. I liked seeing how things worked out for Taylor down the road. Yes, there were still obstacles and everything wasn't perfect, but that's life. I liked that is was realistic.
And The Not So Much:
- One of the sticking points for me was the whole story line surrounding the soccer team. I was expecting more development, and I would have liked to see more focus on this story thread. I especially wanted more with Nicole, I wanted to see her change.
- Jenna, Taylor's older sister, was another niggle for me. She comes across as the perfect girl, but in reality she sleeps around, and I didn't think it was right the way she got away with her behavior, while Taylor was under constant scrutiny. I also didn't like that she was so self centered and that she did little to reach out to her younger sister.
- The ending was a bit too open ended for me. I don't know, I wanted more.
Defending Taylor is another winner in this terrific series. I love that each and every book takes on a tough topic. I also love the genuine characters, the romances and the stories. This one is no exception. I loved watching Taylor claw her way back out of a deep hole, and find her way again. If you are new to the series, grab this one, you can jump in with any book, and if you are a seasoned fan, this one is sure to please.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.