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.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
There’s a growing out of one’s comfort zone, seeing others for what they are, but more importantly, there’s a character seeing herself for what she is and could become, then the possibilities that all those opened up as a consequence. I loved this, how there’s slow moments but all the same packed with emotion and reality
In this are two stories yet again, one of the good girl and another of the golden one. Parker, the good one is perfectly perfect in what she does. She is trying to do what’s expected and as we see she actually does that. Parker’s path crosses that of Julianna’s when she picks up the others journal getting to know who the other is and seeing that the reality is far from perfect with there’s actually being more to consider.
I’d initially picked this up because I personally felt it read lots like AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE. In the latter is a mystery unfolding at the same time as another girl was trying to figure out her place and her direction. All the while AMELIA ANNE's own direction/place was being laid out. I felt the parallels between those two girls were what was in store for PARKER and JULIANNA. And I suppose, I was right as there an also identity in what Parker and Julinna were going through; that there were choices being made, choices reluctantly faced. And there’s that more real feel, a showing that not all is what you think it to be. Good girls may be good, and golden ones may be just so, but perhaps, no actually, they’re more.
Beyond the mystery of what had gone down, Parker’s story offers a bit more heart particularly with her relationships that read real but not once perfect. That which existed between her and her mother; that which she wishes she had with her father; and that between a friend that so different from her, it’s a wonder at all they’d connected at all. And, yes, even that non relationship with the boy. Bottom line, beyond the mystery, there’s the realities that her mother is not quite perfect, or trying too hard to be so; that her father isn’t the bad guy her mother would want him to be seen; that her best friend (different though she may be) is still a friend and that being outgoing lively and out there doesn’t exclude the reality of her being smart in her own way. … all those links from one to another then another? REAL, FLAWED… FRUSTRATING. I loved the book all the more for those very reasons.
Given all that you’d think Julianna’s story shadowed by the first. That’s not the case as she too has a story, with her choices and her realizations and her taking her head out of the sand… ALL LOVELY things taking place allowing possibilities previously unconsidered. Yes, hers is the mystery to unravel, but hers is also one of characters accepting realities and at the same time opening themselves to other possibilities.
THANK YOU, EDELWEISS!
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