Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 13, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
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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.
I liked Golden, but I didn’t LOVE it
I think the #1 problem was that I over-hyped Golden for myself. It’s the book that everyone loved, and I wanted to love, so I went into it expecting to ADORE it, but that didn’t quite happen, so I felt the disappointment all the more fiercely.
Right off the bat, I could tell that Golden was so incredibly wordy. There are huge paragraphs that basically all say the same thing, just with tons of extra words. Literally, sometimes one paragraph would describe an emotion, then the next paragraph would describe the same emotion from a slightly different angle. Don’t get me wrong, the book was well written, but that overly wordy and descriptive writing style is not for me. It causes me to get antsy and start skimming, especially when the plot surrounds this big mystery. I’m just like, “Let’s get to the point! I want to see the mystery unravel please!”
But if you like wordy descriptions and an almost poetic writing style, then you’ll probably love it.
The romance was slightly lacking all around
In Golden we have two romance stories: the one between Parker and Trevor, and the one between Julianna and Shane/Orion. While I thought that both stories were interesting, they were both a little distant and shallow…but for very different reasons.
I considered Parker and Trevor’s romance to be more of a backburner subplot. It’s far from the highlight of the story. It’s just there, on the side, not really involved much… which was a bummer, because it was kind of sweet!
Then there was the Julianna, Shane, and Orion love triangle. I loved this story! I totally understood why it was a love triangle, and it worked! The story itself was interesting and captivating. But I still think it was a bit distant and shallow.. why? Because although Julianna’s story was basically the plot of the book, Julianna was not the main character. We just learn about her story through a journal.. So it’s in the past, it’s distant, it’s not really right up in front. So as a result, I felt a bit detached, and it didn’t dig as deeply as it could have if it was the main character’s story.
But I did love the messages and the life lessons
I think one of the great things about Golden is how sometimes things fail miserably, but sometimes they do have a way of working themselves out. I loved how the book explored both angles.
Golden is really a story about finding your place in life. Or not even finding your place, but getting on track to finding your place.. just reaching that starting point. I think that’s something every person in the world can relate to! It’s hard to take control of your life, and it’s hard to even know where you want to go in life! Golden explores both of those things in an incredibly relatable way that made it really fun to read.
Reading this book will probably make you reflect a lot on your own life, which is something I think is always so much fun to do while reading!
The mystery was predictable, but exciting
Ah, the mystery. SO PREDICTABLE! I literally guessed the entire thing right at the beginning.. and I was right. But that being said, it was still fun to read. Often times the best part isn’t the ending itself, but how it unravels. Although I was pretty confident I knew what the ending would be, I wanted to see how it would reach that point. I was so eager to see everything fall into place!
I am disappointed that we didn’t see more of the ending though. View Spoiler » [Although we can assume that Julianna and Orion reconnected, I wanted to actually see it happen! I wanted to live in that moment with them.. but we didn’t. We just hear from a third party that Orion up and left after getting a phone call, so we can easily assume that he ran off to go be with Julianna… but I wanted to watch the reunion! « Hide Spoiler]
Overall, the book was good but I hoped it would be better
Golden was a good book. Period. I think I just wanted it to be AMAZING and LIFE CHANGING, but for me it wasn’t really either.. so the disappointment hit me twice as hard as it normally would have.
I feel stupid because I never heard of this book before. I am so tired of just good books, I want great books!
Sounds like an interesting book..I might put it on my TBR pile.
I’ve been wanting this book for awhile. I’m actually happy to hear that the romance is kind of lacking. Yes, I know how weird that sounds.I am hoping to get this book for Christmas as it’s been on my TBR for awhile.
I enjoyed Golden. While it wasn’t my favorite contemp, I agree that I liked the lessons/message of the story. I didn’t like the romance, though; there wasn’t a lot, like you said, and I was surprised by the Julianna/Shane romance.
Yeah! I’m so glad to hear you liked it overall! I read Golden a little while ago, and I pretty much had the same opinion on it as you did – I felt that the ending was rushed as well, and I wanted a little more of Julianna and Orion’s romance. I didn’t really have any problems with the writing – but I see how you might have.
As always, brilliant review! Happy Thanksgiving weekend! 🙂
I’m gonna have to agree with you. I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was rushed and lacking additional development. And it did feel a lot more hyped as well. I enjoyed it but I was like…THIS is what is so loved? I think I enjoyed it a little more than you did though. Fabulous review Ashley!!
Exactly! I liked it.. but it didn’t totally blow my mind and I thought it would! *sobs a little*
I had essentially the same thoughts on this one Ashley! I think hype kept me from really loving it because I was expecting it. I do love Jessi Kirby’s writing though. I also guessed the mystery straight away, which I think was another reason for the disapointment. The cover is so stunning though!!! Awesome review; I love finding similiar thoughts when I feel like the odd ball out for not loving a book that others love 🙂