June 4, 2013

Latest Read: Golden

Here are the basics ...
Golden by Jessi Kirby
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost, valedictorian and quintessential good girl, is 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 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Whether you're seventeen years old like Parker Frost or closer to thirty like I am, Golden will resonate with you. Even though Jessi Kirby's writing is beautiful as always and she never fails to create characters that feel real, she captured something extra special in this book. She put into words how scary it is to take chances, to make choices and how seizing the moment is never as easy as it sounds. That sometimes it's easier to just do what you're supposed to, even if you're following the rules blindly. Which is exactly what Parker does.

She lets her mom dictate her life and she's done everything expected of her: good grades, valedictorian, doesn't drink or party, never answers back. But at the same time, she's never done what she's wanted, like stayed out all night or kiss the guy she's had a crush on since seventh grade. So when she stumbles across the journal of Julianna Farnetti, a teenager from her high school that died ten years ago, she takes a risk. She takes it and starts to read it and in the process, realizes maybe there is more to life than a perfect GPA. The journal not only gives her more courage in her own life but she gets completely sucked into Julianna's words. And I felt the same way. I was just as invested in unraveling the details of Juliana's journal as I was in watching Parker evolve. I think it can be tricky to pull off the whole story-within-a-story but in Golden, both plots are extremely compelling.

There were so many elements about this book that I loved. I was easily just like Parker at that age, right down to the overbearing mother. So her journey of letting down her walls hit really close to home. Even now, I could probably learn from the chances she took. Granted, her character's evolution was slow and at times, I wanted to shake her (or throw her at Trevor, her crush) - I totally got it. No one changes overnight and it's hard to let go of old, albeit bad, habits. Then her best friend Kat. I loved how they balanced each other out and how Kat would encourage Parker to come out of her comfort zone. But more than that, their fears about what college would do their friendship was so realistic. Things do change and I understood where they both were coming from. And lastly, the journals! I know what it's like to read old journals. I have all of mine from when I was ten until college and reading them is pretty cringeworthy. At least 80% of them make me want to start a fire and throw them all in. But the other 20% reminds me of how much I haven't changed. That I still want and dream about a lot of the same things. I think we all do.

(No) reservations: Loved this!

Do I recommend?: Reading Golden made me want to go out and buy a composition book just so I could start writing in a journal again. It also made me think about life and taking chances. It's that kind of book. So yes, I highly recommend!

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. Great review, Rachel! I lovelovelove the way you talked about the book, especially with Parker attempting to take risks. I agree that this book is something almost anyone can relate to because we all have our fears and things that stop us from doing what we dream, but this story reminds us that sometimes you really do have to throw caution to the wind and live the life you've always wanted.

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  2. Every time I see a great review on this book, I kick myself for not reading it already. I've heard such great things about it! I don't even know what I'm waiting for at this point, haha. Great review, Rachel!

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  3. I adore this review a whole lot! I think that you were able to capture the essence of the book perfectly with your words. Just seeing your thoughts made me want to read it all over again. It's such a beautiful book!

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