Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 14th 2013
by Simon & Schuster BfYR
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.
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review-
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!