Parker loves her family, her church, and her life. But all that changes when her mother divorces her father and leaves with her new lover—a woman. When Parker’s church and best friend turn their back on her, Parker sets out to prove that she likes boys. But when the boys’ assistant coach catches her eye, Parker’s life spirals out of control.
As Parker struggles with how to deal with her secret relationship, she is besieged with more problems. Parker’s father is in denial. Her brother is always high. And her best friend, Drew, is hiding the fact that he is gay.
Parker works through her insecurities and frustration through a prayer journal, which gives the reader insight into Parker’s emotional state. The reader will be able to understand Parker’s desire to be loved and how that leads her to kiss so many boys, although the illegal relationship between Parker and the boys’ baseball coach leads to frequent and steamy sex scenes and ends with an investigation.
Finding Parker hits on difficult topics relevant in today’s world. Parker explores her faith in God and how that faith impacts those who are gay. The story also tackles the difficulties of high school friendships; most of Parker’s friends abandoned her after her mother came out, classmates that don’t even know her talk trash her, and even her best friend stops talking to her. Finding Parker brings realistic problems to light and shows the dangers of being promiscuous. In the end, Parker learns to love herself and accept her mother’s new lifestyle.
Although Parker is a well-developed and relatable character, her sexual relationship with the adult coach contains graphic sexual details. The story contains mature content, which some readers may want to avoid.
- Parker’s mom “announced she’s a lesbian and ran off with her friend who was more than a friend.”
- Parker has kissed many boys, trying to prove that she isn’t a lesbian like her mother. She lost weight so she wouldn’t look “butch.” “All the guys know I look good. They know I want them and I love kissing and sometimes rounding a couple of bases (I never go further than second).”
- Parker thinks about when, after church she, “let him kiss me beside the turtle sandbox thing, so people will know I like boys.”
- When Parker decides to manage the boy’s baseball team, the coach tells her not to date or “mess around” with team members. The coach said, “the girl who managed the team last year, uh, well, we had some incidents on the bus and in the locker room.”
- Parker and her friend talk about her “one-night thing” with Matt Higgins. She thinks, “I didn’t enjoy kissing Matt Higgins very much. He kept trying to go up my shirt.”
- A boy said, “Everyone knows she (Parker) puts out.” Parker gets upset and thinks, “I’m still a virgin.” She then thinks about how she can’t insert a tampon.
- At last year’s prom, Parker’s date “kept trying to feel me up in the middle of the gym.”
- Parker has a few minutes, “before we need to leave for church, so I unzip my dress. . . lie down on my bed, and slip my fingers under the elastic of my underwear, wondering what it would feel like if a guy touched me there.”
- Parker thinks that Seth likes a girl but “he’s too embarrassed to get involved with her, considering the whole scandal with her dad, the district attorney, screwing his secretary and all.”
- Parker has a crush on the baseball assistant coach. During class Parker lets out a moan when she, “picture(s) myself tangled up in his crumpled sheets, our legs knotted. The idea scares me a little because I’ve never gotten naked with anybody.”
- While at practice, someone yells, “Corndog’s got a hard-on for Coach!”
- When a group of boys try to get Corndog to tell them how far he’s gone with his girlfriend, Corndog said, “Hell, no. I can’t tell you. She’d rip my balls off.”
- A boy tells a story about, “how he saw a hot pink dildo laying on the concrete behind the cafeteria . . . ”
- Parker and Corndog write notes back and forth discussing someone’s penis size.
- At a party, a girl “French kisses” a boy she doesn’t know.
- Parker has a sexual relationship with the assistant coach, who is an adult. The first time they kiss, “He digs fingers into my hip. . . My mouth found his, and I wrap my arms around his neck. . . I deepen the kiss. His tongue explores the inside of my mouth. My knees go wobbly.”
- Parker and the assistant coach begin making out in the parking lot of the laundromat, behind the dumpsters. The first time they meet there, they make out. “He tastes like mint toothpaste. My hands are on his neck and his are in my hair, and I can tell he’s experienced. . . He pushes me backward and climbs on top, his weight heavy, yet comforting.”
- Parker gets a hall pass and goes to the assistant coach’s office. “Then his lips were on mine and he lifted me onto his desk. He pulled my hips to his and kissed me until I was so dizzy I could barely breathe. Brian began to grind against me and I was so drunk on him, I couldn’t think at all.” They stop because someone knocks on the door. Parker then thinks about a couple nights before when, Brian went up my shirt again and unsnapped my bra, and ran his hands over my bare breast. Him running his calloused fingers over my skin . . . I couldn’t stop trembling. . . His teeth sank into my shoulder.”
- One night when Parker and Brain were making out, “he kissed my breast and felt me through my jeans. I wasn’t comfortable enough to touch him yet. But he took my fingers and put my hand there anyway.” They stopped when a “cop knocked on the truck window and told us to move along.”
- Brian asks Parker to give him a blow job, but she doesn’t. Instead, he “pushes my panties aside, making me moan softly as he works a finger inside of me. . . Later I straddle him and he wraps his hands around my waist and we kiss and kiss. . .”
- Brian and Parker park behind the dumpsters and, Parker “felt him too. He shut his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat while my fingers moved up and down. I could tell by the noises he made that he liked how I made him feel, but it was almost as if I could be anybody. It didn’t matter who I was, it was only that somebody was giving him pleasure.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- At a party, a boy gets drunk and falls in a ditch. “. . . He was so drunk he started screaming about how he’d broken his leg. And Marie Baird had to convince him that his leg was already broken.”
- The assistance baseball coach takes Parker out to eat and orders a beer.
- Parker’s brother, Ryan, has a drug problem. She makes him eggs to “hopefully clean out whatever he drank/ate/snorted/shot-up last night.”
- Parker goes to a party where teens are drinking beer. Some play beer pong and someone “takes a shot directly out of a Smirnoff bottle and wipes his mouth, then does another shot.”
- Parker finds her brother passed out with “an empty bottle of Robitussin in his fist.” Parker and her friend take him to the hospital.
- Parker’s mom tells her she needs to get on birth control.
- Parker’s best friend is gay but hasn’t told anyone. Parker attempts to get him and another guy together. Later, Parker finds out that her best friend likes the same boy she does.
- Profanity is used often and includes ass, bitch, dick, fucking, hell, pissed, and shit.
- When Parker and her friend look at a book of Kama Sutra, the friend said, “Jesus Christ, is that move physically possible?”
- God is used as an exclamation often.
- Someone lectures Parker on “how I screw over his friends.”
- After being mean to Parker, Corndog apologizes, “Last night I heard my mom crying, and I got upset. That’s why I was a dick today. I’m sorry.”
- The story contains entries from Parker’s prayer journal beginning when she was little. In the first entry, she writes, “as I prayed, I didn’t ask you for anything. I only thanked you for giving me Mom.”
- Parker blames God for ruining her family. She often asks, “Why did God let this happen to my family?”
- When Parker’s mother came out as a lesbian, members of the church began ignoring the family. However, Parker’s dad makes her attend church. They have a conversation about if the Bible says, “thou shalt not become a lesbian?” Her father replies “no.”
- When the pastor’s daughter spreads rumors that Parker is “a butch softball player who probably likes girls,” Parker wonders where God went.
- Parker makes a list of “Reasons Why I’m the Worst Christian of All Time.” Her list includes, “I don’t see how a loving God would split a family up like he did mine.”
- When Parker was little, the pastor accuses her of lying and, “gave me a lecture on how lying is a straight path to Hell.”
- When Parker flirts with the assistant coach, she thinks, “When God created the Earth, he had such a sick wicked sense of humor. He made everything that’s wrong feel really, really good.”
- Parker’s dad breaks up with his girlfriend because his church friends tell him to. Parker prays, “Please help my family. Hasn’t our church taken enough from us?”
- Parker and her mom have a conversation about God and church. Parker’s mom said, “God still loves me and he loves you too . . . All that matters is your personal relationship with God.” Parker’s mom tells her that she doesn’t need to go to church because “I can talk to God while I’m walking the dog or running in the woods just the same as if I’m at church.”