Friday, August 15, 2014

[Review: Golden by Jessi Kriby]

Author: Jessi Kirby
Series: None
Pages: 278
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Date Published: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format Read: Library hardback


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 Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Golden,

Hey book, I liked you. I liked you a lot. You were fast, interesting and you even ended up in places that I know about. Places that I live really close to, so that was fun. Your mystery was really interesting and I liked that you played with themes about finding out who you are and searching for new ideas and experiences. Were you perfect? No, but those little things that weren't my favorite didn't mess with my enjoyment of your story.

-The White Unicorn

Golden was a pleasant surprise for me. I was needing a good contemporary and I'm so glad that I decided to pick this one up. Kirby created a really interesting story line that kept me wanting to know more about the world she created. It also made me laugh with glee when her characters headed to Harmony on their adventures, because I drive past there on my way to the beach. 

Parker is your typical goodie-two-shoes, which could end up being boring, but somehow Kirby turns her into someone interesting. She turns her into someone that you can root for and someone that you can see bits of yourself in. She's a young girl struggling to become her own person, but she doesn't do it in a way that will have you gritting your teeth. The rest of the characters are loads of fun as well. Kat is Parker's polar opposite and it's fun to see how their friendship works. Kat is loud, sure and overly dramatic, where Parker is precise, follows all the rules and never plays with fire. It was great to see their interactions. It was also wonderful to see a friendship taking front and center stage in a novel like this. Sure, there are romantic story arcs all over the place, but at the heart of it all, there is a really strong friendship story line that I liked a lot.

I also liked Trevor. He didn't get in the way of the story, but only added to it. Kat plays a huge role in trying to set Parker and Trevor up and all the antics portrayed between the three of them were wonderful. Even though I could have done without the weird jealousy moment, because it didn't seem to fit the story for me. It was cool to see that Kirby used Trevor in a way that advanced Parker as a character, instead of turning her into a hot mess in a relationship.

At the center of the story is a mystery. One about a boy and a girl who died 10 years prier to Parker's story. Parker ends up getting her hands on the dead girl's journal and when she reads it, she uncovers that things aren't always what they seem to be. I loved the journal storyline and all the things that it forced Parker to learn about herself. The journal entries also kept me interested in the story. I do have to admit that the pacing got a little weird for me once the journal entries stopped though. There was a section of the novel that lagged for me, but then it picked up again and ended with a really strong finish.

In the end I think that Golden is a wonderful coming of age story, filled with tons of life lessons and a good dose of fun! If you're a fan of Contemporary novels, I highly suggest this one!

4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!   


Ashley said...

Contemporaries are not usually my thing but I have seen lots of good reviews about this one. I do enjoy a strong finish and the mystery seems like a nice addition to the story.

Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

Giselle said...

Aww I loved this book, too, and how character driven it was. The characters were just so genuine! And I also loved the storyline with the journal and how it made her realize things in her own life, you know. So happy you enjoyed it too, Christianna! :)