Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin 
Source: Won 
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.
After hearing so much hype surrounding Courtney Summer’s books, I decided to take the plunge with her debut novel Cracked Up to Be. It’s a rather short novel but it packs quiet a punch. I didn’t realize that the main character would be so hard to like or that the novel really would be gritty and honest. Cracked Up to Be was a hard novel to finish but one that I enjoyed immensely. Courtney Summer’s writing is realistic and even a little sad.

Parker Fadley was an incredibly hard girl to like. While I understood, and you will too, that she had gone through something bad, it doesn’t change much. She’s loud and rude and mean. She pushes everyone-friends, family, teachers-away. Parker Fadley is a broken girl and one you want to desperately help even if you can’t stand her. Her behavior stems from keeping a dark secret and even if you find out this secret, she’s not very likable. But there are those moments that seep through and you see this girl who wants to just forgive and move on. It’s hard and not easy but she is human and doesn’t deserve to hurt herself so much.

The writing is one of the strongest points of this novel and now I see why Courtney Summer’s is so popular. She doesn’t hold back at all and I was surprised at how realistic her dialogue was. I have never met a girl like Parker before but teens do talk like they do in this book. It was very realistic and her characterization was brilliant. As I said, Parker is not a girl people would love but in the end, I felt for her and that surprised me. I expected to hate Parker till the very end but I didn’t and I know that takes amazing characterization.

I will admit, the last few chapters were choppy and went by way to fast. It took me a few minutes to completely understand what happened. I do think that it was one of my complaints about this novel. Another would be the romance. I simply wanted more. More of the young man Parker was falling for without meaning to. Their relationship was sweet and harsh and Parker wasn’t nice but the guy realized that she went through an event she wasn’t ready to open up about.

Overall, Cracked Up to Be has to be one of the quickest books I’ve ever read. It was frustrating and annoying and Parker made me angry yet I felt for her and I couldn’t get to the end fast enough. Cracked Up to Be turned out to be extremely heart-wrenching, sad, wonderful, and just all the emotions.
Cover Comments: 
Eh. I don't really care for it but I don't have defining issues about it. It's very misleading though so I hope the author's reputation is enough to get people to read this book. What's inside is so much better. 
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