Golden

Golden

by Jessi Kirby

SYNOPSIS:

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.

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

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This story took my breath away!

golden-girl-juliannaJessi Kirby doesn’t play with words, she plays with emotions. Her stories don’t have complicate plots, but subtle ones. Her prose is so beautiful that it leaves you breathless, the edge of her words cuts deep into your soul.. You can never have enough of her stories and I can never put into words how much I love everything written by her.

I don’t know if she puts a lot of effort into writing, or if it comes to her naturally, but it really feels effortless to read her wonderful stories.
You start reading and then you’re turning pages in rapt attention, the characters feel so real with their raw and deep emotions that you feel like they are part of your own self and, without noticing, you read the last page with traces of tears on your cheeks and with some sort of addiction that makes you want to trade your soul for another book written by Jessi.

Like with her other 2 books there is a bit of mystery born from a tragedy. If you don’t know what loss is, don’t worry, she will teach you slowly. She will make you love the characters, connect with them on many deep levels, she will break their hearts (and yours) and she will give you just a pinch of humour (maybe a bit more) and loveliness every now and then to heal the pain that starts to take over your heart.

The highs are so high and the lows are so low, the characters are complex – never too good, sometimes hitting the bottom only to then keep afloat… There are really not enough words left in this world for me to express all the feelings her books convey.

I don’t know what to do with today, let alone my one wild and precious life.

THE CHARACTERS

If this is your first book from Jessi, you should know that she writes fleshed out characters: people you can relate with, people that could be your friends, people that share pieces of your younger self.
They are young, they are hopeful, they are funny. But they are also a bit insecure, confused.
They are joyful and strong but they also have a sad side, this soft side that never makes them weak, but real.

Parker

golden-road-tripShe could have been me.. or you, or one of your friends. She has all those tons of question anyone has at her age: what will she do with her life? is the path she chose the right one? should she do what’s right or what feels right for her? will she listed to her brain or her heart? does the boy she likes like her back? should she step out of her comfort zone and live for once? decisions, decisions, decisions..

Kat

She is Parker’s best friend and she felt like a summer breeze in her life. She was always pushing Parker to make decisions for herself; to not think of what’s wrong or right but to listen to her heart and live her dreams; to make mistakes from which to learn a thing or two; to take trips from where to come back and go to places she’s never dreamed of; to take some risks and have at least one experience that could feel like her very own.

Trevor

He is the sweetest crush ever. Their teasing and flirting and inside jokes made me smile so much. Their story was quite heartwarming – he was always there for her even when he let her think that it was all too casual. They brought so many smiles on my lips and I loved every single moment spent with them.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz

They were the golden couple, the ones people thought they were just ‘meant to be’, shiny in the outside but not so much in the inside. They were like all things we wish for: perfect, expected, beautiful – the oposite of Parker and Trevor with their rocky relationship, full of insecurities but wonderful in its imperfection.
I loved to unveil Julianna’s story, to see how perfect things became not perfect, how love can be found when you least expect it, how coincidences can reach for you in the darkest places and bring you back to light. I liked to see Parker try to put back together pieces buried in the past.

There was one more character I won’t quite mention but I deeply cared for. Heartbreak is like a sharp knife, it can sculpt your soul, it can cut your heart open, it can make you some you never thought you’d be. I hope that the ending gave this character hope and happiness and a great future ahead.

The truth is, our worlds are sometimes balanced on choices we make and the secrets we keep.

So yes.. I wanted to know more in the ending, but Jessi gave us just enough to hope and imagine our own perfect ending.
Still, I wonder if Parker and her best friend would be as close 10 years later, if the guy she loved would still hold a place in her heart, if her dreams came true and her choice didn’t affect her future, or if she was filled with regrets over it…

CONCLUSION:

At this point I would read everything from this author, she is simply amazing and her words always leave me misty eyed. This is a book I wish I’ve read 10 years ago – definitely recommended!

Happy midnight reading!

Early review: ARC received for review. Thank you!

Reflections

– My wild and precious younger self –

parker-frostThis book made me think so much..
– About who I used to be;
– About who I wanted to be;
– About who I still want to be;
– About who I am and how I got here.

Also it made me think about chances, about moments that define ourselves, about things that can’t be changed, about heartbreaks and hopes and dreams and everything that shapes past into future and all that we live in between.
Just think about it.. What’s the worst kind of regret: for the things you’ve done wrong or for the ones you never got the chance to do?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
There is no denying that this simple line defines the whole book and the way it made me feel.
I had to take some time and think about it before writing down my thoughts, and you can do that too… stop for just a moment and reflect upon what was what you wanted to do with your life when you were still a teenager, and how things worked out in the meantime?

Don’t rush it.. Breathe in, breathe out, think about your younger self and tell her (/him) how wild and precious your life still is.

For me, it feels like a lifetime has passed by. So many things are different now. 10 years ago I was around Parker’s age but I don’t know much about what I hoped for my ‘future’ self .. I know that I was terribly confused and I didn’t even know what I wanted for myself, let alone make the right choices.

I am not sure what I would be writting down if I were young again. What would I want to do with my wild and precious life? It would probably have involved a bit of hope in the love department as I was pretty much heartbroken back then, as for my career I was so clueless and so very undecided.

ariNow that I’m at it, I remember wanting to become a psychologist, I wanted to find true love, I wanted to keep my friends close, I wanted to see the world and I even had some dreams that don’t feel like ever having been mine at this point. I don’t think I’m the version I wanted for myself, but in some ways I am even better.

I never thought I would become an artist of sorts, working in the creative field, I would never have guessed I would stay up reading at night (most nights, YA books), or that I would share my words with the whole world. Who knew I would move across country and I would start living at full speed,  that I would fall in love with the greatest guy and we would be so happy. Who knew I would become someone so different than I used to be – that my confidence would improve, that my dreams will come true and others will replace my old silly ones? That I would appreciate my friends and family so much more now that we are so far away from each others and that every minute spent together with count this much?…

“But it seems to me that the experiences that stay with you, the things that you’ll always remember, aren’t the ones you can force, or go looking for. I’ve always thought of those things as the ones that somehow find you.”

Of course I do have regrets – more for things I didn’t do, for chances I didn’t take, for risks I ran away from, for missed moments that could have meant everything for me back then, but I am not sure if at this point I could give away what I have to chase those young dreams. They are not mine anymore, I am not that future self I once imagined.

And then agan.. What is really a mistake, what is really a missed chance, can we live with our mistakes, can we live up to our dreams? Can we change the things that went wrong, can we be better by not being quite ourselves? Where do you draw the middle line between who you wanted to be and who you are now? How do you know if you are now a better future-self.. or would you have been better if followed your dreams?

What makes life special is how things might turn right even by turning first terribly wrong.. And I think that Parker’s missed-chances point exactly to that: We might make a mistake that would crumble our world, but not always is that a bad thing. We can find hope in those ruins, we can find love in our broken hearts, we can build something beautiful over the ugliness that life might through our ways. And we become stronger, happier and better versions of ourselves.

Music of chioce:

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LEAVE A COMMENT

  • Lia

    This review is just soo beautiful. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    • Ari

      Thanks, Lia. I can’t wait to see what you think of it too 😉

  • Amazing review, Ari! I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I was lucky enough to receive this book and I feel in love with it. I can’t recommend it enough! : )

    • Ari

      I know, this book is truly wonderful!
      And reading makes me feel so lucky too. I’ve read some amazing books these past years, some that I loved to tears, some that made me laugh to tears 🙂 It’s such a great feeling to read something that you like, right?

  • kay

    That was an amazing review and a beautiful post. I already planned on reading Golden (I enjoyed her first two book so much), but if I hadn’t, your words certainly would have changed my mind 🙂

    • Ari

      Thanks, Kay.
      There is something about this author that makes me love her stories – there’s so much emotion put into words. From time to time I love to cuddle in my bed with a book in my hand that can make me reflect upon things in my life, a book that can stay with me long after I turn the last page.. And for me Golden was like that 🙂
      I hope that you’ll enjoy it as well!

      • kay

        She really has a strong way to put words on emotional situations. I connected so strongly with Moondlass, it stayed on my minds for days after. I can’t wait to experience Golden, too!

  • Lis @ The reader lines

    Oh, what a wonderful review Ari!! I already read it on Goodreads (if I’m not wrong), but the reflection is sweet and brilliant!

    Thanks for sharing with all of you readers this amazing post.

    I WILL read this book as long as I have the chance to buy it!

    • Ari

      Thanks, Lis.
      I feel sometimes that some books are more than words, more than just stories, and I feel that they say more about us rather than the characters or the author. This book was one of those – it made me think a lot and I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did.

  • Emilia

    I love this review so much!!
    I really need to get my hands on this story now. Also I loved your reflections. And that’s you in the last picture, right? I think I remember it from your Goodreads page 🙂

    • Ari

      Thanks 🙂 And yes, that’s me, I though it fit in there with those reflections of mine ;)) Can’t wait to see how much you like this story when you get to read it!

  • jessi

    Wow, this is an awesome review and I read it all! I’ll get this book as soon as I can.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Ari

      Yep, I know it is pretty long ;)) I am not really expecting people to read it all, but this book made me feel all that, and I was happy to share my thought with the whole world 😉

  • Amelia

    I am not sure what I am more envious of.. the fact that you got to read this book or that it made you feel all that. Lovely review!

    • Ari

      Thanks. I loved this story and I can’t wait for you to read it and see what you think of it too!

  • Julie

    This book is so great! I love this author, at this point I’d read anything from her!

    • Ari

      I think that too. i can’t wait for her next story!