Golden by Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.
Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.
Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
What I Liked:
This book was... so very close to perfect. In so many ways. I knew what I would be reading - a contemporary novel with a mystery twist and a sweet romance. But I feel like this book had all of that and so much more! Ah! It was so good, people! Please excuse the nonstop gushing as I continue.
Parker Frost is a teacher's aid for an English teacher. Every year, this English teacher requires his students to write in a notebook about what they want to do with their lives. It is their only assignment for the second half of the year. He collects them at the end of the year, and then ten years later, he mails them to the students.
Parker is the one mailing the journals from ten years ago this year, as she is the teacher's assistant. But Parker stumbles upon the journal of Julianna Farnetti, the girl who died exactly ten years ago, along with her boyfriend Shane Cruz.
So, Parker reads the journal, up until the very last entry before Julianna and Shane die. But she is not convinced about what happened that night ten years ago. So she does some digging, and with the help of her best friend and the boy she has a crush on, Parker unearths the truth about what happened that night.
After a certain point in the book, I knew what would happen (after about 60%). But the journey, especially the roadtrip with Parker, her best friend, and the love interest, was so fantastic to follow. I loved seeing Parker grow up and stand up for herself, and seeing Parker and Trevor slowly connect.
One of the things I love (and hate) is Parker's decision at the very end of the book (if you read this book, you know what I mean). In one way, she completely stands up for herself, and does not just follow her mother blindly. She's taking time to reconsider what she wants for herself. Read the next section to see I did not like this decision.
No love triangle, and the romance is slow and sweet. Not much happens, but the ending is open to possibilities. I kind of like the ending, romantically. And the ending overall is so good.
Ahhh! I loved this book. The plot and the characters are so dreamy! I practically floated through this book, despite the small problems I had with it. This is definitely one of the best contemporary novels I have read for the year so far - and I have read quite a few good ones!
What I Did Not Like:
The second half of the book is sooo predictable. Well, not that one decision that Parker makes (see below). But the Julianna situation is easy to discern and follow. I knew exactly what would happen in the end. It's a good end, but a predictable end.
Back to what I was saying about Parker's decision in the end. On the other hand, that is a crazy awesome opportunity. You don't just pass it up because you wan to show up your mother, or because you don't think it's right for you. I just can't wrap my head around it. Life doesn't hand you opportunities like that! How can you turn it down!?
Sigh. Some people just don't know how lucky they are.
Would I Recommend It:
Oh my gosh totally! Fangirling! I loved this contemporary novel! Contemporary seems to have completely grown on me. With authors like Jessi Kirby, I could live in contemporary worlds! I recommend this book to anyone - contemporary or non-contemporary lovers!
4 stars. Such an amazing book! I hope everyone gives this one a chance - because it will take your breath away! This one is definitely going on my end-of-the-year contemporary favorites!
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