Golden by Jessi Kirby.
Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).
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.
After reading a couple reviews and ogling the cover some I was happy to put this on a challenge reading list I'm doing and picked it up about a week or two ago.
Parker Frost is the honors-classes-and-headed-to-stanford-student. Her mom has always had a plan for her and she's stuck to it. Being good. Not dating, just focusing on her studies. She's the one who never seems to do anything unexpected. Until she finds the diary of a girl who now is dead. She's a teacher's assistant to an English teacher who does a project where his students write a journal about themselves as an assignment. Then ten years later the diaries are sent out to be read and looked back upon. This diary is the diary of Julianna Farnetti. She and her boyfriend were the town's golden couple. Then they died one night... they were Parker's age. Everyone in the town knows about them. Parker's even been nominated for the scholarship created in remembrance for them.
Parker is curious. She takes it and reads Julianna's story. It's different than she thought. But now Parker has discovered that there's more to that story and something daring too. Inspirational. So she does crazy things that she wouldn't have thought of doing before. And sets out to try and solve the mystery she's discovered in the diary that could right a wrong...just maybe.
Pros:This is a really sweet book. It's a lovely "pretty" one with words and tales interwoven with each other...sharing dreams and inspirations. There's Parker who is trying to find something that's missing in her life. Stay or go her mom or her friends etc. etc. Choices. And she feels like doing something crazy. Kissing her crush. Whatever. But she wants to do it before she leaves. It's all something that we feel at one time or another I feel. I've felt it. Just to do something a be "young" (while I hate the stereotypes put on teens by adults I do sometimes think they are justified and it is fun to be a little stupid sometimes). This is certainly a growing up book. facing college. Leaving home. The last hurrah. It's easy to relate to. And really lovely.
The writing was rather poetic and there were snippets of Robert Frost's poems throughout the book that gave it a rather fanciful and dream-like feeling. It was a nice story, it's hard to explain...it's like a story of a girl finding another story and using that story to help jump start her own. Kinda. I really liked Parker, she was like me in some ways. I'm not the most daring person ever. She was sweet. I really liked her best friend too. And the love interest was pretty nice, I was impressed with the way the romance was done, it was really sweet and clean.
Cons:There were a couple slower parts and I was a little annoyed or bored with a couple scenes but I enjoyed everything mostly :)
Content wise there were two kisses, language wise there were 27 or so (2 f words), and brief mention of drinking and smoking.
Overall, this was a really sweet book about choices, growing up, and daring adventures. It's an interesting tale and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something slower yet still exciting that will make you smile and wonder about yourself when you put it down. 14+ girls who enjoy contemporary/realistic fiction and a slight mystery.