Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby

May 8, 2013 3 - 3.5 Stars, Contemporary Romance, Jessi Kirby, Mystery 14 ★★★

Golden by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on May 14, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Mystery
Pages: 278
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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.
Maybe my expectations for Golden were too high.  It was perfectly pleasant, but also quite predictable.  The set-up was great; Parker discovers and reads the journal of a high school student who, along with her boyfriend, disappeared during a storm a decade earlier.  Parker becomes consumed with uncovering what happened to Julianna and Shane, even as her overbearing mother pressures her to prepare a speech for a looming scholarship competition.

Can you love a book if you don’t love the main characters?  This was my main problem with Golden.  Parker was just not that interesting and came across as quite bland.  Yes, she’s a “good girl,” but where was her personality?  Her most notable characteristic is her desire to solve the mystery of Julianna and Shane.  On the other hand, her best friend, Kat, has all of the cliched characteristics of the snarky best friend.  And then there’s Parker’s crush, Trevor.  I liked him well enough, but I don’t know if he was necessary to the story, beyond, “Oh, hey, Parker needs a love interest.”  This was ultimately a journey of self-discovery, and I don’t think a guy is ALWAYS necessary for that process.  Just sayin’.

The mystery element was fun.  At times, it overshadowed Parker’s story, but it held my interest, so I don’t think that’s necessarily a flaw.  The outcomes of both Julianna’s and Shane’s story, and of Parker’s own story, were not terribly surprising, but they were still quite moving.

Note – I was provided with an ARC by the publisher for review.

Review posted at  Goodreads.


14 Responses to “Review: Golden by Jessi Kirby”

  1. Aman

    I like a romance in a book like any other person but I don’t think it’s necessary. Unless it’s not the focus of the story, I think I can habdle it. Though I’m more interested in finding out what happened to Julianna and Shane. Nice review! I’m definitely looking forward to it 🙂

  2. Elizabeth

    Nice blog.

    Found you on the Book Bloggers Conference Page.

    Hope to see you there. I see you are first time. YOU WILL LOVE IT. I only went for one day last year. Tons of fun.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

  3. Octavia H

    I’ve heard all the hype about this one and still didn’t add it to my TBR list. I guess this is another instance where “great minds think alike”! I’m pretty sure your officially my bookish twin. 🙂

  4. Kim (YA Asylum)

    Whoa, I’m glad I read this one! I’d heard nothing but stellar things about this book. My expectations were pretty high, now I know go to in with normal ones. This didn’t seem like my type of favorite book (though I’d read it). Bland characters, particularly main characters, is always a bummer. Great review 🙂

  5. rivie bleu

    Interesting, I think sometimes you can love a book if you don’t love the main characters. Well, it depends on the type of book. It could have a great plot but the characters just weren’t what you expected. There are many different ways to see a book, that’s why I focus mainly on the plot. There are many things in life that don’t go the way you’d want them too, but you shouldn’t hate your life just because of the negative things. That’s how I see it.

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      Great points as always, Rivie! I’m trying to think of a book I loved with a great plot but only so-so characters. I’m sure they exist! Maybe when I love the plot so much, it’s easy to sidestep the weak characters.


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