By Jessi Kirby
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: 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.
Parker Frost has been used to living the safe life, doing as her mom says and earning the perfect grades to get into Stanford, her dream school. But with graduation approaching, Parker can't help but feel that she never really took a risk in life. So when she comes across the journal of a girl name Julianna who died with her boyfriend 10 years earlier, Parker feels like she was meant to take the journal. Reading about how the golden girl's life really wasn't all that golden pushes Parker to really take control of her own life and dig deeper into the truth behind Julianna's.
I am a HUGE fan of Jessi Kirby and I fell in love with her first two novels Moonglass and In Honor, so I had super high expectations for this book. And as soon as I started the first chapter, those expectations were completely blown out of the water. Parker is a girl everyone can relate to- she's used to living safely and never taking risks that she is actually yearning to take. Finding Julianna's journal, though, is just the push she needs to stop being so safe and do something crazy. I loved the whole aspect of the story with the journal and how Parker slowly unfolds the life of a girl who was a senior like Parker just 10 years ago. Not only was there a contemporary story about a high school girl, but there was also an added mystery that wraps you up and doesn't let you go.
I also really liked the ties to Robert Frost that Jessi Kirby adds to this story. She begins each chapter with a line from a Frost poem and brings him up throughout the story, since Parker's dad likes to claim they're related to the renowned poet. And the face that Julianna's journal revolves around the Mary Oliver poem about what you would do with your one wild and precious life is beyond cool because one of my professors actually shared that poem to our class about a month ago. So the poetry side of the book was a nice touch to Parker's journey towards living her life.
Overall, I really really loved this book. Parker is a girl I really found myself connecting with and her friends Kat and Trevor were the perfect characters to throw into the mix of the story. I just couldn't get enough of this story and I'm so sad it's over. Why did I read it so fast? Well, because it was awesome, but I wish I had made it last longer. Jessi Kirby definitely knows how to write a good contemporary novel that is addicting and impossible to put down. If you loved her other books, definitely check out her newest one. And if you haven't read a book by Jessi yet, what do you think you're doing? Go out and find one right now! And then read Golden when it's released in May!