Thursday, November 07, 2013

Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

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I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Golden by Jessi KirbyGolden by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon & Schuster BfYR on May 14th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
Buy on Amazon

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.

This was such a beautiful read! I literally had goosebumps when I turned the last page. It’s one of those all encompassing stories that leaves you to ponder your own past experiences, your own hopes and dreams – past, present, and future.

Do you often read back through your diaries or journals and reminisce on your high school days? In Golden, one teacher gives all his students just that opportunity. The class assignment is to fill a journal with everything you’re hoping for yourself, then in 10 years this journal is sent back to you. I loved this idea – almost wishing we had this teacher at our school. It had me both wondering and cringing at what I would have written in there myself. Golden combines a coming-of-age story with a decade old mystery that link together when Parker Frost comes upon the journal of a girl who has gone missing – presumed dead – since Parker was 7 years old. Despite her guilt, Parker reads it and discovers things about the iconic couple that broke every mold she’d ever built for them. While we discover the mysteries of Julianna’s life inside her journal, Parker is learning how precious life really is, how quickly things can change, and how taking chances is sometimes what one needs to figure out who they are, and where they’re meant to end up. And even if you fail, at least you took a chance at something you wanted!

Golden is the kind of book that I had to force myself to put aside or I would have skipped work and meals to finish it. Even though the basis of this plot is a tragedy, this is an inspiring story filled with dreams, passion, friendship, and love. We see Parker grow as a person, with a love story of her own that she’s finally giving notice to. We also get an amazing best friend, a road trip, a realistic family unit, senior year pressures, and a girl who’s learning to live for herself.

The writing is what brings all of this together in a tragic, yet hopeful way. Both Parker and Julianna’s stories had me fully compelled. Their voices so real, so raw, so poignant that I knew they were leaving lasting impressions. Golden is a contemporary novel that I think everyone should read. It’s powerfully inspiring and dares you to live, to take chances – to just go for it!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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26 Responses to “Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I love this review so hard, Giselle. You definitely did the book a lot of justice. I was surprised by how much I ended up loving this book too. It was so emotional and well-written. I felt like I knew the characters personally by the end of the book.
    I’m happy to hear that you loved Golden as much as I did.
    Lovely review. 🙂

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Stories that seem like they’re going to be tragedies but wind up being great, inspirational, uplifting reads rock. And don’t you just love those books that make you want to skip work, skip sleep, skip eating so you can fully immerse yourself? *sigh of happiness*

  3. Jenni

    You skipping meals is huge! You are the fattest skinny person I know. It took you far too long to read this one but I am so happy that you finally did and I am also happy that we can still be friends because you loved it!

  4. Ashley

    Awesome review!!! I totally want to read this now. I’ve actually wanted to read it for a long time because I’ve heard it’s amazing, but then it kind of slipped out of mind, but now the thought of reading it is consuming me again.

  5. June @ Sunshine Reviews

    I’ve always wanted to read this book for AGES! But I never had the time and money and everything is just hectic these few months that it slipped out of mind! Now I definitely need to go and buy it now!

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    Wow, wonderful review Giselle, you gave ME goosebumps. I actually received this from publisher, but dismissed it as another contemporary YA (not my thing) but you my friend have me digging through my books to find it!!!

  7. Melliane

    Oh now I really want to read it! Mainly it’s that beautiful. You’re right it’s always interesting to read old diaries and I’m sure I could love this book as well.

  8. Romi

    Lovely review- I’m glad you loved this one so throughly! For me, unfortunately, I’m never consistently drawn to it, and I don’t think the synopsis really sounds like it would interest me enough to read the book, so I think I’ll not make this a priority, though perhaps I’ll change my mind later.

  9. Christianna

    This book always sounds amazing when I hear people talk about it. I know that I’ll need to get around to it sometime soon. Thanks for a review that made me wanna read the book even more!

  10. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    It is certainly an inspiring and powerful novel! And I actually liked the dual narration between Parker and Julianna.
    I also wish I could have had an assignment like they did. It would certainly have been interesting to see what my hopes/dreams were back then compared to now.
    Lovely review, Giselle!

  11. Michelle

    Wow this sounds SO good. I never knew it was about journals, now I’m really interested in it!! I love books that make me want to skip meals and never sleep because I’m addicted to them! Great review!!

  12. Siiri

    I just finished Stealing Parker and it wasn’t as good for me as Catching Jordan was. I hope that the Parker in Golden will be more likable for me than the other one. “We also get an amazing best friend, a road trip, a realistic family unit, senior year pressures, and a girl who’s learning to live for herself.”–the only thing I gathered from this sentence is ROAD freaking TRIP!!!! I love ’em. I know that basically every person whom I have “met” has loved this so I’m a bit sceptical, but I can’t wait to dive into it nevertheless. Gorgeous review!

  13. Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams

    I keep hearing great things about Golden. The adjectives you use in your review just made me more interested. I enjoy good contemporary novel from time to time and Golden is definitely going to end up on my ereader soon. 🙂

  14. Zoe

    Beautiful review Giselle! I just finished Golden as well, and I completely agree with everything you’ve said! I’m so glad that you liked this book as much as I did!

  15. Lauren

    Oh, I adored this book so fiercely! I’m thrilled to hear you loved it too, it’s one of those stories that has such hope and depth in spite of tragedy. “Golden is the kind of book that I had to force myself to put aside or I would have skipped work and meals to finish it.” Yup, that pretty much describes my reading experience too. 🙂 Beautiful review!

  16. Alexa Y.

    It makes me incredibly happy to know that you loved Golden! That book really struck a chord with me when I first read it, and reading your review makes me want to re-read it again.

  17. tabithasbookblog

    You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that you loved this book!! It was incredible, and I’m so glad that you got a chance to read it! I loved both Parker and Juliana’s stories! AH. Such a good book.

    Great review!

  18. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    wow, I love the journal idea too. I have thought to myself a few times that I wish I kept a better journal of my middle school and high school years, heck even of my college years because it would be great to go back and look at it later.

    I love that you said this is a beautiful read because the cover of the book is so beautiful so i’m happy the story fits with it.

    Great review Giselle! I’m excited for this one

    Michelle @ Book Briefs