Monday, September 10, 2012

44. Cracked Up To Be

Book #44: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Published: December 23, 2008
214 Pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

Going into this book, I had no doubt that I would love it. Summers impressed me so much with This Is Not A Test that I knew I had to get my hands on her three novels that came before it. Cracking open the first page, I was hooked, and I couldn't put it down until I was finished.

Parker forces you to listen to her. The story begins after her life has changed drastically. Something happened at a party last spring but even Parker isn't too sure about the details. Something changed in her that night and she's let everyone know it. She started showing up to school drunk, quit cheerleading, making suicide threats, and dumped her popular boyfriend. She was the most popular girl in school and not for her stunning personality. But ever since that night, all she wants is to be left alone. If that's not enough, she has to make trips to the guidance counsellor every week and has a lot of homework to make up before she can graduate. Parker has given up on high school and can't wait to get out of there. But when the new kid, Jake, starts paying attention to her, and her ex starts dating her replacement cheer captain, she can't seem to escape the high school life and she's not sure she wants to. But does she deserve to be happy after what happened?

Summers leaves you waiting until the last page to find out all of Parker's secrets. She gives away the story of that night bit by bit as Parker struggles to get through the pain she's caused herself and others. My heart broke with every inch of information, wanting Parker to find the truth in her actions and find a way to forgive herself. 

Now Parker is not the easiest protagonist to like. In fact, she tries very hard to make you hate her along with the rest of the world. Her actions are rude and uncalled for and you'll wonder why she's putting everyone through it. She is mean to Jake from the get-go but he finds a way to see past her stares and snarky remarks, knowing that it's not who she really is. She has formed a protective shell around herself because she doesn't think she deserves to feel any happiness. Jake is the prefect counterpart to her. He is undeniably loyal and won't give up on her no matter how she treats him. He forces her to realize that the world does not revolve around her and that it's time to face the consequences. 

Parker's story might not touch everyone. Some people might not be able to stand her and her reckless attitude, others might think she deserves everything she's going through, but I for one loved her. I loved her guilt (okay that sounds bad, what I mean is that I understand why she acted the way she did) and I love how she evolves throughout the story. Yes, she makes mistakes and yes, she hurts people, but that's what being a teenager is all about. Like Sloane, the character from This Is Not A Test, she finds a way to make it through a hard time and to me, that is the most important quality in a person. Summers has a way of creating the most messed up characters and finding a way for us to love them. Parker and Sloane have joined the ranks of my favourite heroines and I'm sure the rest of Summers' girls will do that same. You will not regret reading this book. 

“The sooner you make a mistake and learn to live with it, the better. You're not responsible for everything. You can't control the way things end up.” 

“I didn't want to be popular because it was easier; I wanted to be popular because in high school that's the best thing you can be: perfect. Everything else is shit.” 

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