Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
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When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?
Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.
Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.
Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.
People change. Some change more than others, but they all change. Parker Fadley changed. Perfect Parker Fadley. Changed. A lot. From captain of the cheer squad, girlfriend of a hot guy and a constant high achiever, no one knows what happened to her. But something did. Something huge and so conflicting that Perfect Parker is now not talking to anyone about it. With her parents, teachers and fellow classmates watching her every move, they all wonder the same question. “What happened?” She’s no longer perfect- she’s broken, lost and fierce.
My main concern for Cracked Up To Be was how on earth would I come to terms of somewhat acquaintances with Parker. She’s rude, arrogant and completely rebellious. And a mouth full of snark. And an absolute pain in the butt. However what kept me engaged with Parker’s story was my curiosity to know what big ‘something’ happened on the night when she changed. Trust me people when I say that it is 100% worth waiting for. Nonetheless, that is not to say that Parker was insufferable- I was entertained by her bold attitude and her intentions behind everything she does. Courtney Summers has me awed by her way of creating a seemingly frustrating character into a someone to feel for and love in the end. Parker is flawed but that’s what made me want to hug her in the end- she’s that kind of bitch that we all adore to pieces.
What I also appreciated was the love interest. Usually, in the typical genre of contemporaries, the love interest is the solution to emo girls’ problems. For Cracked Up To Be, this was not the case at all. Jake was the sweet, farcical boy that Courtney Summers slowly incorporated into a sub-plot for extra swoons. This was an implausible contrast to the darker side of this novel- the balance was commendable and really took Cracked Up To Be to the next level. There’s no wasted drama here.
I still find myself savouring the craftiness of Courtney Summer’s writing. If writing was a sport, Summers would be a ninja. The flashbacks aren’t random or irrelevant. They are so carefully calculated that it feels like we are uncovering the traumatic night with Parker herself. The flashbacks came longer each time and more revealing and intense. And in the end, I could finally realise why Parker was acting the loud bitch she was.
Courtney Summers’ debut is intrusive, real and downright fabulous. Being my first one by her, I will definitely be looking out for her other works. Everything in this novel was so raw, no matter how frustrating Parker could get at times. This book in three words? Real, raw and wonderful.
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