Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: May 14th 2013
My rating: 4 stars
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.
Golden was a gorgeous novel that delves into the aspect of first loves and choices. Shane Cruz and Julianna Farnetti have always been looked up to as the golden couple in Summit Lakes. Their lives were taken too early on the night of their graduation. They’re honoured by a billboard with a photo of them as soon as you leave town and a scholarship to give youngsters a chance on what they missed out on. But when Parker is set the task of posting out diaries from students 10 years ago, she discovers the golden couple weren’t as perfect as everyone imagined.
I liked how Kirby focused Golden on both of the past of Julia and Shane and with the present life of our MC Parker. Parker’s life wasn’t by all means perfect, she was going for a scholarship her mother wanted her to go for, she was studying hard for her mother, and she had confused feelings about the guy from school Trevor. Was she really doing something for herself? Her stumbling across Juliana’s school project/diary was the wake-up call she needed. She didn’t want to read a person’s private thoughts especially not a dead persons but she found once she started, she really couldn’t stop. And some of the things she discovered really someone needed to know about. Julia and Shane were epitomised as the golden couple and their demise was truly tragic but the real truth behind their relationship was much more so.
I liked how Parker decided to put everything to one side to get to the truth of the matter. She had an important speech to write up for her potential scholarship but she put it to one side to go on what some may have considered a wild goose chase. But the more she delved deeper, she discovered it wasn’t that but a truly heart rendering story of what could have been. I enjoyed discovering the mystery behind Juliana’s story and Parker’s mission to find a happy ending. But what I enjoyed most was how much Parker was able to take away from just once in her life taking a risk and doing something she normally wouldn’t. Not only was the journey she went on a discovery of Juliana’s life. But it was also an important journey of discovery about herself.
Only a few books I have discovered which truly resonate with me. Jessi Kirby’s Golden I am pleased to say is one of those books. Her writing is poignant yet purposeful, with it evoking such a depth of emotions within me. This was my first novel by Jessi Kirby, if I have to take anything away from this novel it’s that it’s certainly won’t be my last.
If you’re looking for a novel littered with beautiful meaningful passages, a beautiful mystery, a road trip full with revelations, strong relationships and a sweet romance then go pick up Golden.