Saturday, June 15, 2013

Golden - Jessi Kirby


Publisher:  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.


It's always hard for me to write about books that I found very satisfying, but didn't have anything that blew my mind or made me want to bash my head in.  It makes me feel bad because I don't want to give this review a lukewarm feeling - I really enjoyed the book! It's got a very engaging plot with likeable characters and just enough mystery to keep you going to the end without being ridiculous.  Sure there were a few things here and there I would have liked a little more of, but it was nice to just read through the book without stopping to take mental notes.

Here's what I loved:

- Every chapter begins with a quote from a Robert Frost poem.  I'm not a big fan of the man, and I'm more of a Shakespeare/Donne girl myself, but it was nice
- I love that the focus was NOT the main character's romance (although it was someone else's)
- (spoiler)
- I liked that Kirby depicted the mom as overly strict perhaps, but tried to still show how hard she tries, rather than as an antagonist. BUT....

 Here's what I could have had a little more of:

- I would have liked some more healthy interactions between mother and daughter.  Jessica states that her mom just wants what's best for her, but it's never shown, and they never have an open, meaningful, or loving conversation the entire book.
- I wish there had been a little more friendship explored.  Kirby definitely gave Kat a personality and very briefly touches on the issues of their pending separation, but it's sort of brushed over and I would have liked a little more time exploring their relationship.  In a lot of ways this book feels like a self-discovery story like a Dessen (or Caletti, but it feels more Dessen) novel.  Unfortunately Kirby's characters don't have the complex, detailed relationships that Dessen's do, but the characters themselves are very similar.
-Likewise I would have liked to know more about Trevor (or you know..anything other than he's been teasing her for 6 years).  How did they meet?  Why does he like her?  What is his family like?  What does he want to do? What are his interests?  Other than what he looks like and that he likes Parker we get zilch.  I also didn't like that (spoilers)

Overall I thought the book was a compelling story and a delightful read!  While I loved reading the book and was happy overall, it did wrap up a little too neatly for my taste and overall I would have liked just a little more time exploring the characters' relationships. It was like a less mature Sarah Dessen novel, and I mean that in all the complimentary ways.  Moonglass has been on my wishlist, and I'm definitely bumping it up to the top after reading this.

Just a reminder, but Pulse It still has the whole book online for free until the 16th, so if you don't have an account, join now!



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