Book Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Rating: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

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.

Literary Awards: Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction (2009)

*****

This is probably the first time that I liked a book with a lead character so disagreeable. I thought Cracked Up to Be is a story of a girl so used to perfection that she decided to trash her life just to feel different. I was wrong. So wrong.

You wouldn’t like Parker. She’s rude, arrogant, and downright b*tchy. But me? Surprise, surprise. I like her. Summers wrote Parker’s inner conflict without having written the actual words. I just have to read between the lines. And it’s there. The guilt, confusion and remorse.

Jake is persistent. He faced Parker’s verbal assaults with brutal honesty. He’s someone who grows on a reader, on me. Jake’s crushworthy in the end. and he likes it against the wall. *evil glee* Well, Parker asked it!

The truth behind Parker’s fall from grace? Not what I had in mind but it became apparent it’s going there when I hit the first half. I was not comfortable about it in the sense that I felt it lacking, or forced. Or maybe that’s just me.

Cracked Up to Be is a good realistic read. Ask for help – that’s the bottomline.

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