Golden

( 23 )

Overview

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...

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Golden

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the last weeks of her senior year, buttoned-up valedictorian Parker Frost promises her adventurous best friend Kat that she will do something “Unexpected, worthwhile, and big” for once. While Kat was thinking of something along the lines of Parker hooking up with her longtime crush, another opportunity falls into Parker’s lap: she comes across the journal of “girl-turned-myth” Julianna Farnetti, a former homecoming queen presumed dead after a car crash with her boyfriend 10 years ago. Parker’s decision to read Julianna’s private thoughts and visit some of the sites mentioned in the journal causes Parker to consider that people aren’t always who they seem and that her own tendency toward obedience could have devastating effects on her future. Not unlike the snippets of Robert Frost poems that open each chapter and appear throughout, Kirby’s (In Honor) third novel is inspirational and contemplative in its mood and tone. Multifaceted characters and dashes of mystery and romance come together in a successful mediation on the value of taking an active role in one’s life. Ages 12–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Writers House. (May)
Booklist
"The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery."
Lisa Schroeder
"Golden shimmers and shines—what a treasure."
From the Publisher
"Golden shimmers and shines—what a treasure."

"A satisfying counterpoint to conventional romantic teen fiction."

"Kirby’s (In Honor) third novel is inspirational and contemplative in its mood and tone. Multifaceted characters and dashes of mystery and romance come together in a successful mediation on the value of taking an active role in one’s life."

"The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery."

*Starred Review Booklist
"The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage
life, and compelling as a mystery."
VOYA - Laura Lehner
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost dives headlong into a local mystery when she discovers and reads the journal of a girl who has been missing and presumed dead for ten years. As she chases her small town's ghosts, she also wrestles with her own demons, trying to answer the question of what to do with the rest of her life. At the top of her class, her opportunities are limitless except for the limits she puts on herself. With the wild and frigid beauty of a small ski resort town as her backdrop, and the poetry of Robert Frost providing momentum, Parker explores the landscape of her life as she delves into the past and contemplates her future. This lovely and engaging novel has an unexpected depth to it, in spite of having all the trappings of typical chick-lit. Parker is accepted into a prestigious university but does not know if that is really her dream or her controlling mother's, so she lets herself get distracted by a local mystery and a boy who is a little too cocky, but smells really nice. Author Kirby deftly uses poetry and setting to add a rich texture to the plot that teen readers will love. Fairy-tale endings, leaving a best friend behind, the way a cute boy smells—these are certainly things that a typical teenage girl contemplates, but the underlying question here is whether to live a life of fire or ice. In the end, Parker chooses her own road, less traveled or not. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
This luminous novel offers a probing meditation on the road not taken and how squandered chances and timid choices can haunt all that comes after. Parker Frost (a distant relative of the poet) is about to graduate from high school and make good on her diligent plan to win a scholarship to head off to Stanford. She has never strayed from the path prescribed by her controlling mother, never cut a class or met up with her snowboarder crush in the high school art supply closet. Parker's English teacher has his graduating seniors write deeply personal, private journals about what they plan to do with their "one wild and precious life" (Mary Oliver), journals which he saves, unread, to return to them a decade later. As Parker is assisting him in mailing the journals back to the class of ten years ago, she comes across one belonging to a town legend, Julianna Farnetti, a girl whose body was never found after a fatal car crash with her boyfriend on the eve of their graduation. Parker cannot resist reading it and then finds herself increasingly drawn to unravel the many-layered story behind Julianna's tragic disappearance. Haunting lines from a wealth of Robert Frost poems frame Parker's search for the truth about Julianna, and the truth about what she needs to do with her own "wild and precious life"—what choices she will make, what chances she will take, or forever regret not taking. Mesmerizing and deeply moving. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews
The chance discovery of a private journal leads 17-year-old Parker Frost on a journey in which she finds out as much about herself as about the mystery she is trying to solve. Parker is a serious, hardworking high school senior whose goal up till now has been to fulfill her ambitious divorced mother's dream of a scholarship to Stanford. Reading the journal written 10 years earlier by a girl who supposedly perished with her boyfriend in a grisly accident, Parker finds clues in a painting that suggest that Julianna may still be alive. Some detective work leads Parker to the Kismet cafe, where Josh, aka Orion, works, the man Parker now believes to have been Julianna's true lover 10 years ago. Encouraged by her best friend and her longtime crush, Parker agrees to ditch school and try to find Julianna. A drive to the small hippie town of Harmony turns up the art gallery where the woman Parker believes is Julianna lives under the ironic name of Hope. Although her romantic plans fall apart, Parker learns an important life lesson. In her final dramatic career move, she takes the "road less traveled," mirroring the words of her namesake and favorite poet. Parker tells her story in the now-omnipresent present tense, unfolding it at a leisurely pace consistent with its theme of self-discovery. A satisfying counterpoint to conventional romantic teen fiction. (Fiction. 12-17)
starred review Booklist
"The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery."
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Parker Frost, 17, is about to graduate high school feeling that all she has to show for it are her grades and being a finalist for a scholarship that will pay for a full ride at Stanford. Her best friend, Kat, her opposite in every way, pushes her to do something out of her comfort zone, but Parker has difficulty challenging her mother's expectations. When an English teacher asks her to help return senior-class journals to students who graduated 10 years earlier, she stumbles across the one written by Julianna Farnetti. Julianna and her boyfriend, Shane Cruz, were the town's golden couple; they were killed in an accident right after graduation, and the grief surrounding their deaths still permeates the small town. Reading the journal is Parker's first act of rebellion, but other small acts follow, including not writing her speech for the scholarship, lying to her mother, ditching class, and making tentative steps toward the boy she's had a crush on for years. The journal leads Parker to discover unexpected truths about Julianna and what happened to her, bringing closure not only to the young woman's story but to Parker's as well. The protagonist is a well-drawn and sympathetic character. Her struggles to find herself will resonate with many teens, and the faltering romance will draw readers in. Sure to be popular.—Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442452169
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 277
  • Sales rank: 260,452
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessi Kirby is the author of Moonglass, which was an ABA New Voices selection in 2011; In Honor; and Golden. When she’s not writing, she works as a middle school librarian. She lives with her husband and two children in Crystal Cove, California. Visit her at JessiKirby.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Golden


“To a Thinker”

—1936

There’s no such thing as a secret in this town. But I’m keeping this one, just for today. I fold the letter once, twice, three times and slide it into my back pocket like a golden ticket, because that’s what it is. A ticket out. Being chosen as a finalist for the Cruz-Farnetti Scholarship is my version of winning the lottery. It means Stanford pre-med and everything else I’ve worked for.

Icy wind sears my cheeks red as I cross the school parking lot, and I curse Johnny Mountain for being right when he forecast the late spring storm. If the biting wind and swirling white sky are any indication, we may be graduating in the snow, which is not at all how I pictured it. But today I don’t really mind. Today the wind and I burst through the double doors together, and it carries me like someone who’s going places, because now it’s official. I am.

Kat’s already at my locker when I get there and it gives me the smallest pause. We don’t keep secrets from each other. Her eyes run over me, top to bottom, and she smiles slowly. “You look like you’re in a good mood.” It’s more friendly accusation than casual greeting, and she punctuates it by leaning back against the blue metal of the lockers and waiting expectantly.

“What? I can’t be in a good mood?” I reach around her and spin the lock without looking at the numbers, try to hide my smile.

She shrugs and steps aside. “I’m not. This weather sucks. Mountain says it’s gonna be the worst storm in ten years or some bullshit like that. I’m so over the frickin’ snow. It’s May. We should be wearing tiny shorts and tank tops instead of . . . this.” She looks down at her outfit in disdain.

“Well,” I say, trying to pull my mind away from visions of the red-tiled roofs and snowless breezeways of Stanford, “you look cute anyway.”

Kat rolls her eyes, but straightens up her shoulders the slightest bit and I know that’s exactly what she wanted to hear. She stands there looking effortless in her skinny jeans, tall boots, and a top that falls perfectly off one shoulder, revealing a lacy black bra strap. Really, cute isn’t the right word for her. The last time she was cute was probably elementary school. By the time we hit seventh grade, she was hot and all its variations, for a couple more reasons than just her tumbling auburn hair. That was the year Trevor Collins nicknamed the two of us “fire and ice,” and it stuck. In the beginning I thought the whole “ice” thing had something to do with my last name (Frost), or maybe my eyes (blue), but over the years, it’s become increasingly clear that’s not what he meant. At all.

Kat shuts my locker with a flick of her wrist as soon as I unlock it. “So. There’s a sub for Peters today, a cute one I’d normally stick around for, but I’m starving and Lane’s working at Kismet. Let’s get outta here and eat. He’ll give us free drinks and I’ll have you back by second period. Promise.” She’s about to come up with another inarguable reason for me to ditch with her when Trevor Collins strolls up. Even after this long, that’s still how I think of him. Trevor Collins. It was how he introduced himself when he walked into Lakes High in seventh grade with a winning smile, natural charm, and the confidence to match.

His eyes flick to me, not Kat, and heat blooms in my cheeks. “Hey, Frost. You look saucy today. Feelin’ adventurous?” He dangles a lanyard in front of me, and a smile hovers at the corners of his mouth. “I got the keys to the art supply closet, and I could have you back before first period even starts. Promise.” He hits me with a smile that lets me know he’s joking, but I wonder for a second what would happen if I actually said yes one of these days.

I meet his eyes, barely, before opening my locker so the door creates a little wall between us, then give my best imitation of disinterested sarcasm. “Tempting.” But between his dyed black hair and crystal blue eyes, it kind of is. I have no doubt a trip to the art supply closet with him would be an experience. Half the female population at Lakes High would probably attest to it, which is exactly why it’ll never happen. I like to think of it as principle. And standards. Besides, this has been our routine since we were freshmen, and I like it this way, with possibility still dancing between us. From what I’ve seen, it’s almost always better than reality.

Kat blows him a kiss meant to send him on his way. “She can’t. We’re going to get coffee. And she’s too good for you. And you have a girlfriend, jackass.” There’s that, too, I remind myself. But I’ve never really counted Trevor’s girlfriends as legitimate, seeing as they don’t generally last beyond being given the title.

“Actually, I’m not,” I say a little too abruptly. “Going to get coffee, I mean.” I shut my locker and Trevor raises an eyebrow, jingling his keys. “I uh . . . I can’t skip Kinney’s today. He’s got some big project for me.” Oh, the lameness.

Kat rolls her eyes emphatically. “You don’t actually have to show up to class when you’re the TA and it’s last quarter. You do realize that, right?”

“You don’t have to,” I say, matching her smart-ass tone, “because Chang has no idea she even has a TA. Kinney actually realizes I’m supposed to be there.”

The bell rings and Trevor takes a step backward, holding up the keys again. “Best four minutes you ever had, Frost. Going once, twice . . .”

I wave him off with a grin, then turn back to Kat, who’s now giving me her you know you want to look. “Never,” I say. I know what’s coming next, and I’m hoping that’s enough to squash it.

But it’s not, because as we walk, she bumps my hip with hers. “C’mon, P. You know you want to. He’s wanted to since forever.”

“Only because I haven’t.”

“Maybe,” she shrugs. “But still. School’s gonna end, you’re gonna wish that just once, you’d done something I would do.”

I stop at Mr. Kinney’s doorway. Now it’s me with the smile. “You mean did, right? Because I distinctly remember my best friend being the first girl here to kiss Trevor Collins.”

“That was in seventh grade. That doesn’t even count.” A slow smile spreads over her lips. “Although for a seventh grader, he was a pretty good kisser.”

I just look at her.

“Fine,” Kat says in her dramatic Kat way that communicates her ongoing disappointment every time I plant my feet firmly on the straight and narrow road. “Go to class. Spend the last few weeks of your senior year pining over the guy you could have in a second while you’re at it. I’ll see you later.” She smacks me on the butt as she leaves, right where my letter is, and for a second I feel guilty about not telling her because this letter means that Stanford has gone from far-off possibility to probable reality. But leaving Kat is also a reality at this point, and I don’t think either one of us is ready to think about that yet.

When I step through Kinney’s door, future all folded up in my back pocket, he’s headed straight for me with an ancient-looking box. “Parker! Good. I’m glad you’re here. Take these.” He practically throws the box into my arms. “Senior class journals, like I told you about. It’s time to send them out.” His eyes twinkle the tiniest bit when he says it, and that’s the reason kids love him. He keeps his promises.

I nod, because that’s all I have time to do before he goes on. Kinney drinks a lot of coffee. “I want you to go through them like we talked about. Double-check the addresses against the directory, which’ll probably take you all week, then get whatever extra postage they need so I can send them out by the end of the month, okay?” He’s a little out of breath by the time he finishes, but that’s how he always is, because he’s high-strung in the best kind of way. The million miles a minute, jump up on the table in the middle of teaching to make a point kind of way.

Before I can ask any questions, he’s stepped past me to hold the door open for the sleepy freshmen filing in. Most of them look less than excited for first period, but Mr. Kinney stands there with his wide smile, looks each one of them in the eye, and says “Good morning,” and even the grouchy-looking boys with their hoods pulled up say it back.

“Mr. Kinney?” I lug the box of journals a few steps so I’m out of their way. “Would you mind if I take these to the library to work on them?”

“Not at all.” He winks and ushers me on my way with the swoop of an arm. “See you at the end of the period.” Right on cue, the final bell rings and he swings his classroom door shut without another word.

I linger a moment in the emptied hallway and peek through the skinny window in his door as students get out their notebooks to answer the daily writing prompt they’ve become accustomed to by this point in the year. Sometimes it’s a question, sometimes a quote or artwork he throws out there for them to explain. Today it’s a poem, one I’m deeply familiar with, since my dad has always claimed we’re somehow, possibly, long-lost, distant relatives of the poet himself.

I read the eight lines slowly, even though I know them by heart. Today though, they hang differently in my mind—too heavily. Maybe it’s the unwelcome, swirling wind outside, or the fact that so much in my life is about to change, but as I read them, I feel like I have to remind myself that just because someone wrote them doesn’t make them true. I would never want to believe they were true. Because according to Robert Frost, “nothing gold can stay.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Lilywolf

    Aww that's a really cute song! Love it! And haha yes they seem to go on patterns of death row. First Amberleaf and spider drama, then legs and birth, Shadowstar, Fang, and now Roman. Man! ~ Lilywolf &hearts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Great!

    It kept me guessing until the very end. It was the kind of book that made me really think.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Loved it

    I read this in one very cold day, and it was perfect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 25, 2013

    I am still reeling from the amazingness that is this book. I gav

    I am still reeling from the amazingness that is this book. I gave it 5 stars on GR and I don't want to start another book yet because I just want to bask in the afterglow of this one.

    My only complaint? I wish it had come out 5 years ago, so I could have maybe taken some of the life lessons Parker learned and applied it to my own life.

    In my opinion, I think every high school girl should read this before they graduate.

    Parker, the story's protagonist is a girl who has always played by the rules and doesn't take risks or chances. Her mother is overbearing and clearly has a strong influence on Parker's decisions on what to do after she graduates.

    Parker's best friend, Kat, is her polar opposite. She is spontaneous, fun, and has no qualms about breaking the rules.

    Do not fret my friends! There is a boy involved in this novel. But the romance is not the main focus of the story and that was ok with me because the main storyline had such power to it. Parker has had a crush on Trevor Collins since the seventh grade, and their banter back and forth is really adorable. Parker describes him as a big flirt, and when we first meet him he is teasing her about joining him in the art closet before class. Of course, as the story goes on, we get to see the real Trevor, and I swooned over the sweetness.

    Parker is a TA for a senior English teacher, who requires his seniors to keep a journal for the last half of their senior year. Their journal is completely theirs to write what they will in it and is then sealed up and returned to them 10 years later. Parker is helping her teacher send these journals out, when she stumbles across one that stops her dead in her tracks.

    Through this journal's contents Parker suddenly begins to question her perfectly predictable life and we embark on an adventure to self-discovery, friendship, and love.

    This book shows young readers that it is ok to take chances and to not be afraid to go after what you want because it would be such a tragedy years down the line to take a look back at your life and be reminded of the risks you were too fearful to take.

    I end my book review with my one of my favorite movie quotes from, Empire Records. "I do not regret the things I've done, but those I did not do."

    *Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing an advanced copy of this book for review in return for a fair and honest review.*

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Parker Frost should totally concentrate on writing her Valedict

    Parker Frost should totally concentrate on writing her Valedictorian speech, but after getting her hands on the journal of town legend Julianna Farnetti she can't help herself to dive deeper into the mystery surrounding the love story that ended in tragedy so many years ago. Together with her longtime crush Trevor and her best friend Kat she's set on finding out what happened to the famous couple and maybe even finding love herself.
    Jessi Kirby used a quote by Marie Oliver as the book's overall theme. Living your life to its fullest extends, making new memories every day, never having to look back in regret of the things you didn't do. What a brilliant quote for GOLDEN!
    I read GOLDEN with fascination and was so delighted about the prospect of Parker and Trevor's love story. They took their time, and missed their chances and it took them till the very end of GOLDEN to reveal their true feelings.
    There is something about Jessi Kirby's book that is so deep and moving you never want to let it go, to treasure it. Whereas the overall story worked for me, the romance between Parker and Trevor wouldn't be enough to make this book a favourite of mine. Their romance was missing something in the end. It took so much time to establish their love story and when I started to get in the mood and was waiting for them to have their big and super special moment the story was just over.
    Whereas the second love story of the two lovers from years ago was obscure and perfectly rewarding. A tragedy and unforgettable tale of epic love all the same.


    4/5 **** GOLDEN - A glowing and pensive read about first love and last chances!

    Buy GOLDEN and get two love stories in one book, one from the past and another for the present. No need to pick one over the other, you can root for both to get their happy ending. GOLDEN has a bunch of characters that I'd love to see again in a companion novel or sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    Meta Knight to Anyone

    "What do we do here?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    MAP AND POINTERS

    MAP: <br>
    Firt result is the map and pointers <br>
    Second third and fourth result are camp <br>
    Fifth is rules <br>
    Sixth is Kirbys pad. <br>
    Seenth is Prince Fluffs pad <br>
    Eight is Mias pad. <br>
    Tenth is food place <br>
    Nineteenth is vios <br>
    If u dont see anything in it the rest are pads for people. ((Plz post ur adress on this res: ex: Kirby; sixth result)) <p>


    People we need: <br>
    Meta Knite <br>
    King Dedede <br>
    Four star waddle dee <br>
    Five star waddle doo <br>
    Three star waddle doo <br>
    ((Less important)) <br>
    Zeke <br>
    Beadrix <br>
    Carrie <br>
    Buster <br>
    Mari <br>
    <p>

    You are alowed to rp a random kirby charecter. Doesnt have too look like Kirby. Cn be long string with circle head and brown body. All except for tips of strand. Brown eyes. U cn do that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Golden by Jessi Kirby  Golden by Jessi Kirby is an inspirationa

    Golden by Jessi Kirby 

    Golden by Jessi Kirby is an inspirational coming of age novel that is worth the read.  Main character Parker Frost is a likable that begins to reevaluates her life after stumbling upon the journal of Julianna Farnetti, a local girl that died ten years prior in a horrible car accident along with her boyfriend, Shane Cruz. 

    Parker’s life has been planned out.  She will graduate Valedictorian, attend Stanford University and become a doctor.  Unfortunately after reading the journal she realizes that she hasn’t lived.  Parker’s best friend Kat challenges her to do one thing that she wouldn’t normally do prior to graduating.  Parker takes the challenge to heart and tries to uncover the mystery behind Julianna’s death.

    The story is very well written, thought provoking and rich with symbolism.  This is a novel you will not want to put down.

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I received this book for free through the Goodreads' First Reads

    I received this book for free through the Goodreads' First Reads program.

    I was not sure if I would like this book. However, once I got into it, I was really hooked. I loved the premise of this novel -- that something golden cannot stay golden. I think that translates into life -- since you have the up moments (golden) and the down moments (not so golden).

    Parker is just a senior in high school and she is trying to figure out what she wants in life when she comes across a girl's journal who is a local legend and is presumed dead. Parker, her best friend, Kat, and another friend, Trevor, all go on a road trip together. They find out exactly what they want to do with their lives on this road trip. Even though it means going against what Parker's mom thinks is best for Parker.

    This is a pretty quick read and I think all young adults and adults would like this. It really hits home that everything in life is changing and even if you want to hold onto the golden moments, you cannot. Life ebbs and flows, you will have bad times right along with the good times and it is the memory of those good times which get you through the bad. This novel embraces that fact.

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    &hearts

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2013

    An emotional, heart-tugging read. My Take: From the opening:

    An emotional, heart-tugging read.

    My Take:

    From the opening: . . . our worlds are sometimes balanced on choices we make and the secrets we keep.

    Parker Frost is 17-years-old, a girl who has always done what was expected of her and at the beginning of this novel, it is all starting to pay off. She has been chosen as a finalist for the Cruz-Farnetti scholarship, which will give her a free ride to the Stanford pre-med program. Her father, a writer and professor, has always insisted that they are distant relatives of Robert Frost, and excerpts of his poetry appear throughout the novel. Her mother, disappointed in her own life, has been the main force in Parker's life so far. She wants her daughter to make better, more logical, choices than she herself made, and she takes no pains to hide her disappointment whenever she feels Parker isn't measuring up.

    The Cruz-Farnetti scholarship was founded after the death of a &quot;golden couple&quot; - Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz - in a car accident ten years before. Although their bodies were never found, the Jeep they were in was found half-submerged and they are presumed dead.

    Parker works a teaching assistant for a well-liked teacher named Mr. Kinney. One of Mr. Kinney's senior projects calls for the students to keep a journal of their life, hopes, and ambitions, and hand it in to him at the end of the year. He then seals the unread journals to send back to the students ten years later.

    When Parker goes through the lot of journals to be sent back this year, she comes across Julianna's journal. Against her normal nature, she decides to keep the journal for a while and to read it herself. As she reads, she comes across quite a few surprises. Her friend Kat has been urging her to do &quot;something bold&quot; just once before she goes off to college, and the journal provides the impetus for her. When she finally shares the journal with Kat, they both decide to find answers. When Kat shares the discovery with Trevor, the boy who has had a crush on Kat since forever, all three find themselves on a road trip that may change not only their own destinies, but others as well.

    I don't know how to sum up this story. The synopsis does not do it justice, although the title does. This book IS golden - it shimmers with emotion, and hopes, and longings. As I opened the pages and began reading, I was totally immersed in Parker's story. She is a reflection of all of us who strived to do our best to succeed in high school and beyond. She's like all soon-to-be-adults - seeking and questioning and wondering. Coupled with Julianna's tragic story, the reader is rooting and hoping and sometimes even finding a tear or two rolling down as they continue to read. I'm not a huge Nicholas Sparks fan, but this story pulled those kinds of emotional heartstrings without being overly dramatic or sentimental.

    This is a perfect read for any age. I believe it's billed as &quot;New Adult&quot;, but this older adult loved it. An emotional, heart-tugging read with a bit of mystery and romance. Highly recommended.

    QUOTES:

    Kat will end up staying here because the mess that is her mom will make her feel like she has to. Where my mom drives me insane with her never-ending sermons on how important it is that I achieve more and do better than she did, Kat's seems to wonder why her daughter should ever want or deserve anything beyond a job that barely pays the bills, an endless string of guys she hopes will, and the resulting need to find comfort in a bottle when they don't.

    She meant I should do something unexpected that would leave me with something I could keep and remember. An experience instead of a goal. And I get what she means. She's right about me not having very many of those to show for four years of high school. But it seems to me that the experiences that stay with you, the things you'll always remember, aren't the ones you can force, or go looking for. I've always thought of those things as the ones that somehow find you.

    True love, meant to be, fate, destiny, serendipity, kismet. They're all his romantic words. Words saved for movies and books and fiction. Not for real life. In real life parents get divorced and people live unfulfilled lives and love goes unrequited and there are no second chances or do-overs or perfect moments.

    BLOGGERS: Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review.

    Writing: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
    Characters: 4 out of 5 stars
    Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars

    BOOK RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars

    Sensitive Reader: Some profanity, an F-bomb dropped here and there.

    Book Club Recommendation: Yes.

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  • Posted June 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Here¿s what I want you to do. Put on Goodbye Town by Lady Antebe

    Here’s what I want you to do. Put on Goodbye Town by Lady Antebellum (and don’t ask me why this song encompasses this book for me because I could never explain it). Read Golden as you fly back to the place that used to feel like home but doesn’t anymore after leaving the place that feels like home but isn’t and just sob and sob and sob and then just when you think you can’t cry anymore, start writing your review and sob some more. Now if that’s too much crying for you, skip all of it, but do read this book because it is wonderful. It just sang to my soul. I’m in a place in my life where I can relate to both Julianna and Parker which made this a perfect read for me. Even if I wasn’t, the wonderful characters, romance and story-telling would have made this one of my favorite contemporary YA books of all time.

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

    This is a line from a Mary Oliver poem that pops up throughout the novel, one that resonates deeply with me as I have been pondering this question pretty deeply this year. Golden is a story about change, choices, taking chances, one of those magnificent coming-of-age stories that will mean something different to everyone who picks it up.  Parker’s story is so easy to relate to and one that is absolutely believable. The progression of her journey was completely realistic and moved me in a way that I don’t think I could every really explain. She grows up and into herself and I left this book confident that Parker was going to conquer the world, and make choices that she wants to, rather than ones that she is expected to.

    I can’t talk about this book without mentioning how much I LOVED the characters. I adore Parker, although there were times I wished she would have had a bit more of a backbone. Her mother drove me crazy, and I just wish that it hadn’t taken Parker so long to stand up for herself. Parker is such a realistic and lovable narrator. Sweet, witty, brave, I just want to be her friend. Her best friend Kat, while being the polar opposite of Parker, is just as lovable. She’s feisty, unflinchingly honest and not afraid to make the hard decisions. And Trevor? SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON. I was in instantly charmed by him and fell in love with him over the course of the book as his relationship with Parker slowly progressed. My only complaint is that I wanted more. I love the slow-burn build up and they have so many sweet, poignant moments but I wanted to see more of them as a couple because they give me all the feels.

    The only part of Golden that didn’t really work for me was the story within the story about Julianna, Shane and Orion. It was just a bit too unbelievable for me, but I still loved the way everything tied together and played out in the end. Even if I think Julianna’s actions were ridiculous and selfish, my heart broke so hard for her.

    Golden has so many things to recommend it: A road-trip, a mystery, wonderful friendships, blossoming romance and a bittersweet feeling of hope that I think will appeal to readers of all ages, whether they be 18 or 28 or even older than that.

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  • Posted June 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

        I really enjoyed this one. It was much deeper than I expecte

        I really enjoyed this one. It was much deeper than I expected, because of the title and the cover, I was expecting more of a beach read, but that is okay. I liked what I got. 
        Parker is a main character that I can relate to. She is smart, driven, and doesn't really step out of line much, and she has the best friend that urges her to let go a little more, but still supports her all the way. This could have been me for the most part in school, so it definitely brings back memories. 
       Watching her connect with Juliana was great, and I loved that mystery and even though I knew the ending to her story because it is one of the first things we learned, I didn't know how she got there, and if there might be more to it than it seems. And Parker goes on that emotional and revealing journey through the pages and discovers a lot about herself and her life through it. And even learns to let loose. She begins to questions what choices she made and what choices were made by her well-meaning but still controlling mom.
       The chemistry and banter with Trevor was nice, and I was always anxious to see if it would develop into more as the story went on. I loved his flirtatious nature, and his patience. That there is more to him than a pretty face--he is counted on for getting them out of binds, and as support for a roadtrip that is the final catalyst to change so much for Parker. 
       The journey to Parker growing as a character was awesome to read about. Her friendship with Kat brought her out more and more, and she found herself in the pages of the journal, as well as her quest to find out more about Juliana, Shane and Orion. I went through the gambit of emotions with her, from joy, acceptance, guilt, heart fluttering at a romance in the pages, and then the splitting of the heart when other desires are made know, to crushing disappointment, loss and pain. 
        Ms. Kirby, the author writes gorgeously and at a sweet pace. 
        There were plenty of surprises and always something to keep me turning the pages. I loved the ending, how it all came together, and at first I thought there would be no possible way that would happen, but sure enough, I loved it. It matched the story and themes. 




    Bottom Line: Emotional journey of self-discovery.

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  • Posted June 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Must read

    4.8 stars

    I thought this book was beautiful and compelling. It was written very well, the characters also. Parker is about the graduate as the perfect girl. She does what's expected of her and never takes a risk. Until one day when the teacher she TA's for ask her to mail off journals (this was such a cool idea). The students wrote in them and 10 years later the teacher would mail it to them. While she was looking for addresses, she came across one for Julianna, she was part of a duo of a tragic story. Parker couldn't help herself and took the journal. She wanted to find out more about this girl that was part of the perfect couple. What she finds out truly shocks her. It wasn't something she expected.

    She embarks on this journey to find out more and discovers something that no one else knew. While doing all this she comes into her own. We see her come out of her shell throughout the book. The only thing I wished for the book was more to the ending. Other than that, I thought this was a fantastic book.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Golden by Jessi

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

    Golden by Jessi Kirby
    Publisher: Simon &amp; Schuster Books for Young Readers
    Publication Date: May 14, 2013
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: eARC from NetGalley

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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.


    What I Liked:

    This book was... so very close to perfect. In so many ways. I knew what I would be reading - a contemporary novel with a mystery twist and a sweet romance. But I feel like this book had all of that and so much more! Ah! It was so good, people! Please excuse the nonstop gushing as I continue.

    Parker Frost is a teacher's aid for an English teacher. Every year, this English teacher requires his students to write in a notebook about what they want to do with their lives. It is their only assignment for the second half of the year. He collects them at the end of the year, and then ten years later, he mails them to the students.

    Parker is the one mailing the journals from ten years ago this year, as she is the teacher's assistant. But Parker stumbles upon the journal of Julianna Farnetti, the girl who died exactly ten years ago, along with her boyfriend Shane Cruz.

    So, Parker reads the journal, up until the very last entry before Julianna and Shane die. But she is not convinced about what happened that night ten years ago. So she does some digging, and with the help of her best friend and the boy she has a crush on, Parker unearths the truth about what happened that night.

    After a certain point in the book, I knew what would happen (after about 60%). But the journey, especially the roadtrip with Parker, her best friend, and the love interest, was so fantastic to follow. I loved seeing Parker grow up and stand up for herself, and seeing Parker and Trevor slowly connect.

    One of the things I love (and hate) is Parker's decision at the very end of the book (if you read this book, you know what I mean). In one way, she completely stands up for herself, and does not just follow her mother blindly. She's taking time to reconsider what she wants for herself. Read the next section to see I did not like this decision.

    No love triangle, and the romance is slow and sweet. Not much happens, but the ending is open to possibilities. I kind of like the ending, romantically. And the ending overall is so good. 

    Ahhh! I loved this book. The plot and the characters are so dreamy! I practically floated through this book, despite the small problems I had with it. This is definitely one of the best contemporary novels I have read for the year so far - and I have read quite a few good ones!


    What I Did Not Like:

    The second half of the book is sooo predictable. Well, not that one decision that Parker makes (see below). But the Julianna situation is easy to discern and follow. I knew exactly what would happen in the end. It's a good end, but a predictable end.

    Back to what I was saying about Parker's decision in the end. On the other hand, that is a crazy awesome opportunity. You don't just pass it up because you wan to show up your mother, or because you don't think it's right for you. I just can't wrap my head around it. Life doesn't hand you opportunities like that! How can you turn it down!?

    Sigh. Some people just don't know how lucky they are.


    Would I Recommend It:

    Oh my gosh totally! Fangirling! I loved this contemporary novel! Contemporary seems to have completely grown on me. With authors like Jessi Kirby, I could live in contemporary worlds! I recommend this book to anyone - contemporary or non-contemporary lovers! 


    Rating:

    4 stars. Such an amazing book! I hope everyone gives this one a chance - because it will take your breath away! This one is definitely going on my end-of-the-year contemporary favorites!

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  • Posted May 26, 2013

    I won this book from Goodreads! Wow, I honestly have no words t

    I won this book from Goodreads!

    Wow, I honestly have no words to even write in this review. I was truly amazed with this story. To me this story was about one coming to terms on the choices we make kind of makes us who we are. We should be more free on some things and not always follow what others have planned for us.

    I can say I actually figured out who Orion was at page 119. Though it wasn't confirmed until later on.
    This was a really good story with a young teenage girl who embarks on a journey after reading a journal written by Julianne.

    Parker Frost is a 17 year old girl who while tackling a project by a senior teacher finds a journal. Now she is not suppose to read them, but send the journals out back to their owners. Which I have to say is a pretty neat idea. One of the journals she finds was written by Julianne who the town remembers as being the girlfriend of Shane and ended up dying in a car accident. While reading Julianne's journey is learns that everything in Julianne's life was not Golden like everyone thought it was.

    Parker, her friend Kat and Parker's long time crush Trevor go on a journey to find out what really happened to Julianne after reading her journal. Not only that Parker finds herself within Julianne's life and realizes that she should take more chances because hey like her friend Kat says Carpe diem.

    I loved the writing of this author and I will for sure be reading more by her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    Mockingjay

    He gets on sapphirewing. (( whats your name.))

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I do not know why I hadn¿t  read this book sooner. This author i

    I do not know why I hadn’t  read this book sooner. This author is officially on my “must buy” list.
    1. Plot. have you ever read a plot that is so intriguing, you can’t help but get lost in the book? You get so lost, you loose track of time and everything around you disappears. Yup, that this book. The story is amazing and powerful.
    2. Characters. The characters start of raw in the beginning that so that you can see the transformation of who they will be in the end. At first, you may think that Parker is the only one changing, when in fact, because of Parker’s quest to look outside the box, so many others change around her. And that’s beautiful.
    3. Unexpected love. I never thought that on this journey, Parker would find love. She is so determined to solve the lost past mystery, that right in front of her, is a guy who has admired her from afar. It was a nice touch that in between all the craziness of the story, that love pops up for Parker.
    4. Great Friendship. There is nothing better than having a friend who knows you better than you know yourself. And finding that one person is a rare occasion. Parker has a great friend who has a lot to do with Parker’s quest for answers. She gives her that push she needs, helping and shaping Parker to know what she wants.
    5. Finding Yourself. You think that once you set out on  this journey that you know exactly what you will find. That everything will come together exactly the way you want it. Parker had a goal. That goal didn’t quite come out the way she wanted it to. But in the end, that one choice lead Parker to see another.
    This is an amazing read. Mesmerizing from the first page, Golden is a classic story that blows you away. Solid with an unsuspecting plot twist, Golden leads you to a place you never explored before. With chemistry and sparkle, Golden shines like no other.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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