Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Parker Fadley was a straight A student, head of the cheerleading squad, girlfriend to a guy everyone wanted, and one of the most popular girls in school. Then, one night, everything changed. Now Parker is destructive to both herself and those around her. She’s stopped doing her homework, broken up with her boyfriend, and abandoned her friends – she just wants to be left alone. But the new guy, Jake, doesn’t take her hints, and tries to break through the walls she has created around herself.
I don’t read much contemporary YA anymore, but I so enjoyed Courtney Summers’ Some Girls Are that her debut, Cracked Up To Be, has never retreated from my TBR list. I was expecting a riveting and emotional novel, and I was shocked at how heart-wrenching I found this book.
Parker should be an unlikeable character. She’s mean to everyone around her, she uses people, and she is very self-destructive. But for some reason, I was instantly drawn to her. Summers shows the reader how damaged Parker is, while at the same time making them understand that she wasn’t always this way. There is a Parker crying for help underneath this strong and difficult façade and it’s up to the reader to make their way through it to understand what really happened. As a result, at the same time Parker is being mean, she’s showing how much she’s hurting.
Summers does a wonderful job exploring the world of teens in Cracked Up To Be. She doesn’t spare the reader, letting us know exactly what is in Parker’s head at any given moment. Alcohol, sex, and drugs surround Parker, but it is her mental state that really causes anguish for the reader. It’s clearly that Parker is balancing on an edge, and it wouldn’t take much for her to fall. What is heartwarming, though, is how Jake and Parker’s ex-boyfriend Chris refuse to give up on her and show her the meaning of real friendship.
I was hooked onto Cracked Up To Be and read it in one sitting. Parker’s journey was such a tumultuous one, and as a reader, I was very emotionally invested in her story. If you’re looking for a gripping, quick read, look no further than Cracked Up To Be. With it, Courtney Summers has earned a place on my must-read authors list.