Golden by Jessi Kirby

Hardback, 278 pages
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Own
For fans of: Thrillers, Contemprary, Romance, Mystery, Sparkly Covers, Realistic Fiction, Summer Love, YA

     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. (From Goodreads)

     This is my first book by Jessi Kirby and I'm so glad I chose this one to start with. This incredible tale of love, fate, and hope was just what I needed right now. This books contains all the feels and I'm afraid I won't be able to explain them all in this review. 
     While reading this, I got some devastating news. My aunt who was also my godmother passed away. It further helped to drive home one of the main points in this novel, life is short so what do you plan on doing with yours. This made the story so much more real for me. Seeing that anything could happen, don't hesitate to make YOU happy. Even if it means that there is someone that will be unhappy with you about it. 
     That was the only reason I didn't like Parker. She tried making everyone else happy rather than herself. I was so happy when she decided to go on that journey and even though things didn't turn out as she thought they would, she should be happy that she even had the chance to find out. That's what a risk is. She went out on a limb to find out something, and for her character, that's saying a lot. But everything else about Parker I truly loved. Her character felt so real and all her relationships (with her mother, her best friend Kat) all felt real as well. The best thing about her character, was the fact where she finally took control of her life. This is truly one of the best coming of age novels I've ever read.
     The romance was a little upsetting. I wanted all of the triangles to work out in the end, but at the same time I know that it doesn't always work like that. When things start to come together, it seems so much more believable and less like a fairy tale. 
    What I loved most about this story is the way it makes you think. So many different quotes I had to write down in my quote notebook because I had to sit back and think how I would answer that about my own life. Mr. Kinney's assignment alone was enough for me to sit back and break out my own journals from years and years ago and see if there was anything I'd wished I could do differently.
     This poignant tale of choice left me reeling. As Parker said herself, you won't know whether your choice "is right or wrong until [you've] lived with it" and I'm hoping that whether my choices are right or wrong, I will have the courage to face them another day.
Overall, I give this

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