Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Source: Library Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: Parker Fadley was once perfect – a straight A student, captain of the cheerleading squad, girlfriend of the hottest guy in school everyone wanted and a very popular girl. One night, everything changed and now she is a mess. Parker is now destructive to herself and others around her. She has abandoned her friends, broken up with her boyfriend and is lagging behind in her school work. Why would a girl who had it all do such a thing is the mystery.
I picked up this book since I wanted a light right with some mystery thrown into it and it didn’t let me down. I haven’t read much contemporary YA but after reading this book, I have suddenly turned in to a fan of this genre. The summary made me think it would be an emotional novel but it turned out to be shockingly heart wrenching.
Parker is such a likeable character, although she is mean to everyone, selfish at times and very self-destructive. She is damaged but what is endearing though is her brutal honesty, wit and her inherent intelligence that shines through in certain situations. Parker has flashbacks of one night that changed everything for her and since then she has put on this facade of being strong and difficult. It’s only through these flashbacks that we understand what really happened and why Parker is hurting so much while being mean to everyone.
This novel explores the complex and difficult world of teens – homework, projects, best friends, petty disputes, teen love and parties. However, Parker’s raw emotional state and the edge on which she is balancing is real anguish. Drugs, alcohol and sex surround her and she is really holding it together for her studies when in fact she may fall apart anytime.
But teen life is also about friends and their true friendship. Amidst all her pain and suffering, she has her ex-boyfriend Chris and the new guy in school Jake who refuse to give up on her and want to help her by breaking through the barriers she has created.
Everyone faces the pressure to be the best and excel but sometimes it is too much to handle and one may crack, like Parker did. This is a gripping, fast-paced read and an emotional one at that which is beautifully written with endearing lead characters.
Note: This post has been cross-posted at Bond with Books.