Golden By Jessi Kirby
Published May 14th 2013 By Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary: 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.
Golden is beautiful.
There is something about the writing that makes Golden remarkably beautiful. Golden follows the story of Parker Frost who discovers the journal of Julianna Farnetti and decides to go on a road trip to uncover the truth behind her disappearance. Parker is an intelligent girl; she’s a straight A student, on the way to getting a scholarship to the school of her dreams, but she’s also lost. Parker has always tried to please her mother, and did whatever she was told — but now that she’s graduating, she wonders if she’s wasted her youth pleasing everyone but herself.
The diary of Julianna Farnetti is something of a gem. It is absolutely beautiful and the writing about love and wasted youth was just breathtaking. I really could relate to both Parker and Julianna, and I felt connected with them. Golden explored many of the common themes in adolescence that made it such a great coming-of-age, new beginnings, finding yourself type of book. I really enjoyed the characters; they were intelligent, present and wasn’t annoying. It may come off as slightly pretentious, with Parker and friends going on a road trip to find a missing girl and desperately wanting to give her a happy ending that they felt they couldn’t have — but its done in a way that is rather sweet and touching that the pretence quickly disappears.
Among the things that I loved about Golden other than the growing process was certainly the friendship between Parker and Kat. To me, it is one of those rare female friendships where they are equals and fit each other like a glove. Neither secretly wanted to kill the other or thought negatively about the other. The desire to stay together and desperation to always be friends is something that touched me. It is so rare to find female friendships that are genuine or the equal and balanced in Young Adult fiction (to me and all that I’ve read anyway) that this friendship was an absolute breath of fresh air.
I am Parker Frost, in a way that I do well academically and try to please my parents. Going into my final months of University I am feeling a little lost and in the process of finding a journey best fit for me so reading Golden helped me. It was encouraging to know that it is possible and not too late to discover yourself and that it’s okay to feel lost and in need of help.
The writing, characters and plot made Golden a great novel. Its relatable, hopeful and encouraging that would be especially useful to those who are struggling to find their place in life. Though Golden didn’t provide me answers, it gave me enough encouragement to go out and take a chance on something.
“How many people have gotten older and forgotten about the things the hoped for and dreamed about when they were young? Or given up without ever taking a chance, or settled in life because it’s easier, or they’re scared, or whatever other excuses? How many people need a reminder of who they once were?”
“But that first day we met is one of those things you look back on and see, so clearly, that it was meant to be. He saved me from being lost and out of place, and that’s what he’s been doing ever since. I showed up here in pieces. He put me back together.”