Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Source/Format: publisher via Goodreads / ARC, 275 pages
Opening Sentence: “There’s no such thing as a secret in this town.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon
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.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Have you ever gone into a book knowing it was going to change you somehow? Not necessarily in some huge way, but maybe it made you think about a specific topic in a way you never had before. Perhaps it became one of your favorite books that you always refer to and recommend. That’s what happened with Golden by Jessi Kirby. I had never read anything by Kirby before, so I went into Golden completely unprepared for the story, her writing, et cetera.
I’m going to focus on characters in this review, because really, Parker basically ran the show. There weren’t very many outside forces deciding what would happen (maybe except for Kat. I’ll get to her in a second.). We got to read Julianna’s journal when Parker wanted to read it. We went into the woods when Parker decided she wanted to explore. We talked to people (or didn’t talk to people) depending on–you guessed it!–Parker. That’s not to say there wasn’t a plot–there was. But there were some pretty amazing characters in the story and I can’t help myself from gushing about them.
Parker Frost was seventeen and one of those people who never took chances. She stayed on the straight and narrow at the urging of her mother. Parker has amazing character development in this story. I remember noticing how rational she was at the beginning compared to the end. By the end of the book she was taking chances because they felt right or her instincts were telling her to go ahead. I loved Parker for how emotionally and mentally strong she was. She wasn’t perfect, but she was able to change the path of her life when she realized it wasn’t working out for her anymore. She’s one of those characters that you feel sort of proud of by the end of the book.
Kat, Parker’s best friend, is a wonderful example of the type if person you want to be friends with. I loved how much trust she put into Parker. Even when she knew she was being lied to it wasn’t a big deal because, to her, Parker was just not ready to explain yet. I did get annoyed with Kat for a little bit of the book, but things straightened out and I loved her again.
I loved basically all the characters in Golden. Parker, who was brave and afraid at the same time, and above all–strong. Kat, who put every ounce of trust and faith she could into her friends. Trevor, who was loyal and funny and completely golden-hearted. Gah, I can’t help but gush over all these characters and the story itself. It was so, so good. Through the entire book I felt so torn with my feelings. On one hand I was sad for everything that happened, but on the other I still felt hopeful that the future could be better. I think that’s one of Golden’s greatest strengths: there’s always hope. Even during the saddest parts of the story there’s a little voice in the back of your head saying “This can’t be it.”
What can I say? I loved Golden so much. It’s one of those books you can’t really explain in a 500-word review. I have so much to say and no idea how to tell you guys any of it. I loved reading every page of Golden and hope you all will give it a try. It’s totally worth it. You’ll love it (I hope!).