Golden

Overview

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel that Booklist called ?rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery? in a starred review.

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 ...

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Golden

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Overview

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel that Booklist called “rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery” in a starred review.

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

Lisa Schroeder
"Golden shimmers and shines—what a treasure."
starred review Booklist
"The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery."
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."
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.
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
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442452183
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years

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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