Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

As promised, here is more Courtney Summers! After absolutely adoring Some Girls Are, I felt absolutely compelled to go pick up a copy of Summers' first book, Cracked Up to Be. While two very different books, both were similar in regards to the high school setting and troubled former-popular girl.

In Cracked Up To Be, Parker Fadley is our storyteller, struggling through her senior year of high school and desperately trying to exile herself from the rest of the world. This is proving a monumental task though because too many people still care about her: her ex-boyfriend still holds a flame, her parents still care about what happens to her, school administration is giving her a chance to graduate, the "new kid" in school can't seem to help but to fall for her, and even her plans to distract her parents by getting a dog ends up backfiring when that dog attaches itself lovingly to Parker.

But what happened that made Perfect Parker want to live a life alone and apart? Once a shoe-in for Valedictorian, now she's having to meet some strict requirements to even have a chance at graduating. She was the cheerleading captain, but then she ran away, attempted suicide, and now comes to school hung over. As the events of the novel unfold, Parker's own story slowly comes to light and we learn what made her life take such a drastically wrong turn.

I really loved this book. I wanted to hate Parker so much for how awful she acted and the things she did to both herself and others, but at the same time I could see and understand how hurt and confused and lost she really was behind her mask of indifference. To create such a complex character full of so many emotions in such a way takes some serious writing skill that I think Courtney Summers absolutely has. While reading this book I almost felt like a friend of Parker's who was watching this downward spiral and desperately trying to figure out exactly what happened to cause such a sudden change.

I will anxiously look forward to any other novels that Courtney Summers writes. So far she's a great two for two, and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for her readers.

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