Normally I wait to buy hardcover books… my MO is to read the e-book decide if I’m in love with it then purchase a hardcover if it’s something I absolutely need. I didn’t follow my rules for this one because I’d been seeing so many rave reviews about it and my lovely friend Stacee was going to a signing with Jessi, and well… I sucked it up and bought it with only knowing I wanted to read it.
I’m ecstatic that I did.
In Golden, we meet Seventeen year old Parker. She’s done everything by the book, and she’s about to graduate from high school as valedictorian without ever having done the things typical teenagers do. She’s never kissed that boy she’s had a crush on for years nor has she broken any rules along the way. All of that changes when she is assisting her teacher with his end of the year project.
All students in his class are given a notebook in which to record everything over the last two weeks, with a simple prompt…
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
After they finish, they are taken back, sealed and stored for ten years at which time they are mailed out to the original author.
What Parker didn’t know was that one-half of the town golden couple of Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz were in this teacher’s class ten years ago, and when Parker happens upon Julianna’s notebook she does something impulsive and takes it. Julianna and Shane died tragically in a car accident and with that accident on graduation day, and the epic love story they had was gone, only a billboard at the edge of town as a reminder and speculation of what really happened that night a town legend remains.
As Parker reads the journal though, she reveals that things aren’t really as everyone thought they were and maybe there are clues to what really happened that night still around.
This is a story filled with love, friendship and mystery and I absolutely loved it. Kirby has written a story that we can all appreciate. At the heart of this story Parker struggles to live up to the expectations of her mother. I struggled to understand her mother and their relationship, but I could definitely appreciate it for what it was. I get that mother/daughter relationships can be tenuous and this one definitely was. Her mother’s constant pressure and inadvertent reminders that she wasn’t exactly the plan she had for herself made me hurt just as Parker did, but I also understood then why her mom applied that pressure and those high expectations.
I also really loved the progression of the relationship between Parker and Trevor. It wasn’t insta-love as so many stories do these days. Sure she had crushed on him forever, but it was a slow growth to any sort of real feelings for each other.
While all the relationships are wonderfully developed in this story, my favorite relationship was the one between Parker and Kat, Parker’s best friend. They were friends – real friends who support and love each other and don’t turn all mean girl over boys and stupid things! I absolutely loved their friendship!
Now, I know I said that it was a mystery, but in all truth, I should have said it has elements of mystery… The story within a story aspect of this was really unique and incredibly well done. Not only were we getting Parker’s story, but also Julianna’s story from ten years earlier, and I was really impressed with how they flowed together so well.
I can’t tell you how much I recommend reading this book. It is a beautifully written story with an unique and original plot that will have you running through every emotion possible. This book has a permanent spot on my favorites list… which means you should read it soon!!