Golden by Jessi Kirby

 
Golden
Written by Jessi Kirby
Contemporary, Mystery
Published May 13th 2014
256 Pages
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.
Parker Frost is a model student, loyal friend and her mother's pride and joy. She has a bright future and is now on the verge of a full scholarship to one of the most prestigious universities, one that her mother insists is what they've always dreamed of. Each year, the senior class is asked to keep a journal, a reflection of who they are and who they possibly want to be at that point in their lives. The journals are sealed and place in storage for ten years, where then they are mailed back to each former student. Parker is given the task of sorting through the decade long artifacts and prepare them to be returned when one particular journal catches her eye, Julianna Farnetti. Julianna was the golden girl. Popular, intelligent and dating the young and handsome male equivalent in Shane Cruz. Depending on who you ask, they'll tell you a different story. Shane was drunk, the couple were seen arguing but every story results in the tragic death of a young couple who's bodies were never found.

As her last and only act of rebellion and living wild and dangerous, Parker takes Julianna's journal and starts to get to know both she and Shane through her journal entries. But it soon becomes clear that Julianna's life wasn't as perfect as she portrayed as she battled between being in her relationship with a boy she felt she always needed to share, and a mysterious young man that fate continues to throw them together.
It's a strange, surreal thing to watch an ideal crumble right in front of your eyes, and to know there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
From piecing Jullianna's last moments together, Parker soon starts to realise how short life can be and to truly live, she must learn to take chances and leave the rest to fate.

My Thoughts


Golden was a brilliant contemporary coming of age novel with a touch of intrigue and romance. It follows the storyline of Parker, who in turn is following the final thoughts of Julianna before she was tragically killed. The two girls are similar in their drive and aspirations, but with the difference that a chance meeting allowed  Julianna to see the world beyond black and white and hope for something more than small town life. Julianna's journal is incredibly engaging and like Parker, I felt myself completely absorbed.

While Parker allows herself to become consumed by Julianna's words, her own life begins to pass her by. Her best friend Kat wants Parker to take chances and become the free spirit who can live beyond her perfect record and the expectations of her dominant mother. But her biggest risk concerns Trevor. Although friends, the chemistry and tension between them is ready to ignite. He uses humour to express his feelings for her, and Parker believes that it's nothing more than teasing, but secretly pines for her friend.

But it's Julianna's story that had me on edge. Unpredictable and surprising. While at times my heart ached for Parker and all that she had missed throughout her seventeen years. She's both realistic and relatable. From the expectations of her mother, Parker so desperately needing her approval, to the confusion of feelings where Trevor is concerned. Jessi Kirby entwined two storylines of young women that readers can relate to, and provides a surprising and satisfying ending that readers will rejoice. Simply brilliant.

24 comments

  1. I love me a good contemporary, and this review definitely has me intrigued. I'm going to add it to my TBR to read either this month or next!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear it, it was brilliant I think most YA readers will really enjoy this one. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts.

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  2. *high fives* I loved this one too! The writing style and integration of the poetry was beautiful, along with a storyline which mixed contemporary and that touch of mystery to perfection. Parker was a great character with flaws and insecurities which many people can relate to. Reading this review has reminded me to go and read more from Jessi Kirby! Thanks for sharing Kelly :)

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    1. It's so funny Eugenia, until our YA group challenges, I hadn't seen this one around at all. Then I seen that all you lot had already read it, and I'm thinking that I really have been living under a rock. It was fabulous though wasn't it. I'm going to check so see what else she has out too.

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  3. YEAH! So glad you enjoyed this Kelly. :) I completely agree with everything you've said here. :) I absolutely loved how Kirby intertwined the lives of Julianna and Parker. It's absolutely brilliant because you can see how, with a few wrong turns, Parker could have turned out just like Julianna, you know?

    Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Thanks Zoe.

      It was incredible wasn't it. I think the journal was a huge wake up call for Parker, just imagine where she would have ended up without having Julianna's story to push her to want for a better life? I'm going to have to check out more of Jessi Kirby's other releases.

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  4. This looks so interesting!! I've heard a lot of good reviews about the author so I really do think this is a really good book! You make me want to read this book so bad :"< This is the type of books I LOVE reading all the time. So glad you enjoyed it. I have high expectations now haha.

    Lovely review! You have a really cute blog too :D

    Jillian @ Jillian's Books

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    1. Thanks Jillian, you do too. Definitely grab or borrow a copy, it was brilliant and you won't be disappointed.

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  5. Considering contemporary YA is my favourite genre, I don't know how I've managed to go so long without reading it - everyone is always saying how good this is!! But I can't find it at any of my local libraries :( Anyway, I like how it has mystery AS WELL as contemporary. Sounds like an awesome combination :D

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    1. I have it in Kindle edition, can we lend Kindle copies through Amazon?

      It was awesome Emily, I was hesitant thinking it was just another contemporary romance, but it completely blew me away. Just loved it.

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  6. Awww, Kelly, I had my eye on this book for quite some time now but no one managed to convince enough to pick it up until I read your review. I don't always go out of my way to read Contemporary but this story and the way you shared how it absorbed you simply calls to me. I'd definitely read this soon. Fantastic review, Kelly! (:

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    1. Thanks Sarah. Generally I'm not big on contemporaries unless it sounds quirky or different to the typical young adult prose, but I'm so happy I took the chance with this one. Can't wait to see what you think of it.

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  7. This sounds awesome! *just adding another book to my to-read list, oh look that's number 200*

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    1. I had to clear a few old titles from my list too Renee, but the scary thing is that I have shelves full of books that I own, that I haven't added to my list. I can't imagine how long I'd be then.

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  8. I am so glad you enjoyed this, Kelly! It was, to quote you, simply brilliant. And heartwarming too. I cannot even tell whose story I preferred but I loved the way Julianna's and Parker's stories were entwined. I think the only problem I really had (I cannot quite remember) was that I was hoping there would be a bit more of Robert Frost *sigh*

    Gorgeous review, Kelly!! <3

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. I loved it and so glad you did too. I wonder how often we all end up agreeing on the same book. Probably not too often, if ever. It was just so easy to read. I'm looking forward to checking out what else she's written.

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  9. I really loved this one too! I was totally caught off guard by the intrigue, but I really loved it. This was certainly gorgeous and inspiring. And I agree about Julianna! Those reveals and ending! <3

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    1. It was spectacular wasn't it. Didn't see it coming and it surprised me how much I really enjoyed it.

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  10. Oh, man, I loved this book a lot. I rarely read contemporaries, but this one was one of the very few that made it to my "FAVORITE" shelf. There was just so much meaningfulness in here, craftily written behind the mystery. The self-discovery was so awesome too and I found myself relating so much with the characters. I'm so happy you appreciated this one too, Kelly!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. It speaks volumes when this has ended up as one of your favourites Faye, then you really know it's good. I loved it too, so amazing and how Jessi Kirby entwined their lives was just brilliant. Have you read anything else of hers yet?

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  11. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one Kelly, I wasn't sure whether to pick it up as it doesn't particularly excite me too much. Parker sounds like a really relatable and engaging character, though.

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    1. I was the same Jeann, and only bought this to complete our YA group reading challenge. It was brilliant though, so incredibly engaging and really surprised me how much I found myself investing in Parker and her storyline.

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  12. So glad you enjoyed this one, Kelly! I love the cove, but never had much drive to read it - you've definitely convinced me that it's worth a shot.

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    1. Thanks Ebony, it's most definitely worth giving it a go. One of the best contemporaries I've read so far this year.

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