Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

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Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Paperback, First Edition
Pages: 214
Genres: Young Adults, Real Life
Rating: A
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High school senior Parker Fadley: girlfriend to the most popular boy in school, cheerleading captain, future valedictorian, overall perfection. Until the night she messed up. Now, haunted by her demons, she's on a downward spiral that consumes her. She shows up to school drunk, is dangerously close to not graduating, and has cut herself off from the world, which according to her, is exactly what she wants to do. But what has changed Parker from the girl who had it all into someone her parents can't trust, someone nobody could have predicted Parker would turn into?
Parker knows. And she knows it's what she needs to do. Because it's her fault. And someone else had to pay the price.
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"Imagine four years.

Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars–every day, a turf war–six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.

High school." (page 1, PB)
They always say start off with a strong first sentence to hook the reader in. And for me, I was the fish and the first sentences in Cracked Up to Be were the big juicy worms on the hook of a good book (yeah yeah, weird analogy I know).
I was immediately drawn to Parker's personality and that Courtney was able to make her seem so real. The book is not filled with over description or large words a high school would never think, much less say. Parker's narration is honest and vivid. At times, her refusal to accept certain thoughts annoyed me, but it also made her flawed and more realistic.
Her lifestyle, while a mess in my standards, adds to her character. She wants to be left alone, and she does a damn well job trying to do so. She pushes away those who are just trying to help, and while that may seem selfish, it's really just a sign of how badly she is suffering.
Throughout the story, Parker has flashbacks to the night where everything changed. At first, the flashbacks didn't seem to make much sense and I wondered if they were out of order. I found it annoying that parts were repeated or cut off and you couldn't just know what happened. But piece by piece the events that happened that night unfold, leading to the final scene where you find out what changed Parker. And, if you're like me, you'll cry when you read it.
Parker's story is one that will make you consider your own life and values. It's well written and has a great cast of characters. You'll agonize over Parker's apathetic attitude, laugh at her snarky remarks, and wonder what you would do if you were in her situation. This is one of my new favorite books and I know I'll read it again (and again). I highly recommend this, though with a warning that there's a lot of alcohol, swearing, etc.
(If you liked this book, I would also recommend Looking For Alaska by John Green and vice versa.)
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2 comments:

Khy said...

I <3 this book. Great review!

robin_titan said...

Oh gosh, I really want to read this one! :)

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