Author: Jessi Kirby
Genre: Young Adult-Contemporary-Realistic Fiction
Published Date: May 14th 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288 pg
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.
“We're all more than the person we show to everyone else.”
I love Golden by Jessi Kirby because I could totally relate to the main character, Parker Frost. It's always nice to find bits of ourselves in other people's story, yes?
All her life Parker has always been a good straight-A student, living the life according to the rules to live up her mother's expectations. She never dare to 'break out' or do something out of ordinary. Now in her last quarter of high school, Parker began wondering about one thing that would always cross every one's mind at least once in their life before experiencing adulthood: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
At the same time, Parker was helping his teacher, Mr Kinney, to return journals of her seniors that were written 10 years ago. She came across Julianna Farnetti's journal, a girl who was the golden couple of Parker's high school, the girl who was involved in a tragic car-crashed-into-the-river-and-the-bodies-have-never-been-found accident ten years ago with her boyfriend, Shane Cruz. Julianna is the main girl who everyone envied, the heart of the city. Her and Shane was always seen as the couple who had it all, before the accident happened right after their graduation night. Parker couldn't help but read Julianna's journal, and by revealing the mystery about that night and finding out a totally different Julianna in the journal than what everyone has always been thinking about her, this later helped Parker to change her perspective about life. As if finding the journal was the answer to Parker's life choices & questions.
This is my first time reading Jessi Kirby's work, and I can't help but falling in love with her writing. The words came out as quiet, but still moving. It felt as if I was eating a slice of a very delicious chocolate cake, I wanted to devour every bite of them to avoid it coming to an end. Jessi wrote two main storylines, one about Parker and the other about Julianna, and successfully molded them into one. Golden actually has a very simple message, a line that maybe sounds cliche: "Carpe Diem", but the author turned it into something realistically beautiful and quite provoking (at least for me). It's a coming of age fiction that actually made me think a lot, and constantly comparing the story to my own life, my own future and what I'm gonna do later..... *sigh, I'm always nervous whenever I think about it*
All the characters in Golden also played their role well, from her strict mother, her bestfriend Kat, her crush Trevor, also Orion. They were nice secondary characters that completed the whole story. Parker's friendship with Kat felt fresh, seeing Kat was the outgoing, carefree one who always encouraged Parker to 'do something' while Parker was the opposite of her. The romance was also there in the book, and it was sweet, but not all over the place. It's a story about how Parker finally doing something unexpected, by stealing and reading Julianna's journal then finding out the truth and realizing that what people tought of the golden couple and what actually happened was wrong. Although some turn of events seems kinda unbelievable, overall the book still come out as realistic. I love how Parker finally got to the point where she realized that she's the one who could change her fate, the only one who got to decide what did she want to do with her life; because, well, it's hers.
"I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost
On a random note, personally, I really liked Mr Kinney's awesome project of asking the students to write a journal about their life in their last school year. The journals are kept by the teacher and will be returned back to its owner, 10 years later. I love the idea of us reflecting back into our high school days when we're older. It's always fun to look back and remember, to find out which dreams has been accomplished and which one hasn't, or even changed at all. I wish one of my teachers had thought of it! :|
To sum up, I love Golden and I would definitely recommend it to everyone (especially those who are in the same age as me!). The book might be one of my best read in 2013, and now I'm curious about Jessi Kirby's previous books, Moonglass and In Honor. I just found out that the latter is a story about road-trip. Now I'm totally intrigued!
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