Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
278 pages (Hardcover)
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. (From Goodreads)
First, the cover and overall design of this book is stunning. STUNNING.
With a deep message and beautiful writing, Golden has all the makings of a great read. Unfortunately, a little something was missing for me.
Overall, Golden is beautifully written. There is a poetic quality that is fitting with the Robert Frost references. The message is beautiful too. There is something magical about taking a risk and shaping your own destiny. It left me with this sense of wonder about my own past and what I could have done differently. It made me reflect on myself (which is something I'm not good at).
Parker and I had some similarities. I've always been one known as the smart one. School was always important, and my parents strict about grades. This instant connect got me into the book from the start. I don't think everyone will be able to relate, but Parker is a character that is very "likable". I can't think of anything about any of the characters that would turn anyone away from this story. The characters are solid and drive the strong plot.
So, the beginning and ending were great. The problem for me came around the middle of the book. Golden lacked that wow-factor that really draws the reader in. The middle of the book slowed down, and didn't leave me excited, or really interested, in what would happen on the next page. I found myself only reading a few pages before putting it down. The last few chapters picked up and drew me back in, but it took a long time to get there.
I feel like anyone who likes contemporary will really enjoy Golden. The writing really is beautiful and deep. What this book lacked was that *oomf* that makes me not want to set a book down.