Golden by Jessi Kirby
Simon & Schuster BYR, 288 pages
Expected US Release Date: May 14, 2013
Format: Bound Manuscript
Source: Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: Contemporary Challenge, SARC 2013
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost may be a distant relative of Robert Frost, but she 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 mystery in her lap—one that might be the key to uncovering the truth behind a town tragedy, she decides to take a chance.
...It seems to me that the experiences that stay with you, the things you'll always remember, aren't the ones that you can force, or go looking for. I've always thought of those things as the ones that somehow find you.
This is my first one-sitting-read of the year, guys - it is THAT good. And even though I had approximately a million things to do (give or take a few thousand), I was like NOPE: I can't put this down. I HAVE TO KNOW.
I wasn't entirely sure what the book would be about going in, but I knew two things: 1) I loved In Honor by Jessi and will follow her writing to the ends of the earth; and 2) everyone I knew who had already read Golden told me I NEEDED to read it as soon as possible because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it.
So after reading this, I LOVE LOVE LOVEd it, and I am even more dedicated to Jessi's writing. I adore it. She's got this fantastically real voice to all her characters, where you immediately feel like you know them and love them as though they've been with you your entire life. Her descriptions and the way she moves you through scenes is unreal. It's a captivating storytellers voice, in the most unassuming way. Readers will also love this for the sheer way it tells the story - it's so creative to be able to read the journal of someone else as it parallels to the main character, and is just one more way to connect with the characters and plot.
I honestly wish I'd had this book when I was graduating high school, because I would have felt much less alone in the world. I wasn't a Valedictorian heading to Stanford, but I was one of the dedicated students who worked her ass off four 4 years for the goals and the future. And it is one of my bigger regrets in life that I didn't experience more in high school or bend the rules just a little bit more. When I was reading about Parker and her battle between finding more, living her one wild life versus hitting the books to make it through the home stretch, my heart was absolutely yearning for her. I know that feeling well, and it was a little bit uncomfortably close to the feelings I had in the past and still have today. This book reaches far into that feeling that you're missing out on something when you don't take leaps and chances, and even though sometimes it's scary to read about, it makes you fall in love with this story that much more.
Almost every reader I know has a fierce belief in love, fate, kismet, all those things that make us feel things; and the fierce need to know that they really do exist. So this book? It is going to yank at your heartstrings and make you hope with a heart filled to the brim. It will make you crumble, slowly, as you understand just why it's called Golden; and at the same time you will smile as you figure it out, too. There's a boy to fall in love with, a tragedy to find hope in, a mystery to get lost in, a roadtrip to follow along to, and a brilliant main character to find a new friend in. I want everything about this book, whole-heartedly.
Golden tells the wonderful story of a girl finding out how to really live a life in the midst of harsh realities and uplifting maybes. There's a best friend to make you smile, a love interest you'll quickly call your own, and, most importantly, the proof we need that fate is real, even if not in the ways we originally expect.
***This review reflects reading a Bound Manuscript, a very early copy of Golden.
Quotes and content may change in the final version.***