Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).
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.
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 a fantastic read that kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next in Parker's life. Of the two Jessi Kirby books that I have read, Moonglass and Golden, I would say that Golden is my favorite. I still haven't read In Honor, but I'll have to read it soon.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Parker is a fantastic protagonist to tell this story. She is the type of person who is always afraid to take risks in life. She is a senior, and is the valedictorian who was accepted into Stanford and is one of the people up for a full-ride scholarship to the school. She experiences much character growth as the story in this book progresses. She does things that the old Parker would have never done. Many of these changes in her life start when she finds the journal of Julianna Farnetti among the journals that the teacher she is TA for assigned ten years ago. Since ten years have passed, she is supposed to find the addresses of these students and mail them their journals. When she finds Julianna's journal, she keeps it and reads it because she knows who Julianna was. Everyone in town does. She was part of the golden couple - Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz - who died in a car crash ten years ago, but the bodies were never found. As she reads the journal, Parker comes up with some crazy theories. What if Julianna Farnetti didn't actually die?
Trevor Collins is the guy who always flirts with Parker. He is sweet and he's been waiting for years for her to finally admit she likes him. He was fine with being friends with her in the meantime, though he wanted more than friendship. Parker's had a crush on him since seventh grade, and despite how obvious it was that he's liked her too, she never admitted she liked him back. Near the end of this book, a sweet romance starts developing between these two, and it was great. Trevor and Parker make a great couple.
Kat is Parker's best friend, and a person who is her opposite in many ways. She didn't do nearly as well in school as Parker did, and she's not planning on going off to college in the fall. Instead, she's planning on staying in the town that she and Parker have lived in. Parker has tried to convince her to move into an apartment near Stanford with Parker so they don't have to live away from each other, but Kat thinks she has to stay home with her mom. Kat wants Parker to do something big and more impulsive before she graduates, which is part of the reason that Parker decides to take a trip with to see if Julianna is still alive. Kat also works on pushing Parker and Trevor together, which ends up working out pretty well.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.