04 February 2011

Review: Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Published: Dec 23rd 2008
Source: Own Copy

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.

I have heard lots of good things surrounding the writing of Courtney Summers. I thought this may just be hype but none the less I was excited to begin her d├ębut novel. I was not expecting what I got...

Reading this book was like jumping into cold water. It hits you like a punch to the stomach you were not expecting. Once you give in to the bluntness of the writing and just go with the flow this is a book which grips you until the last word. The book takes off and drops you right into the middle of the story with no explanation. You learn little by little the events of the past which influence the behaviour of the main character. The writer gives away only a fraction of the past events at a time, making it feel like you have earned the whole story once you reach the end.

The book focuses on Parker Fadley who is a complete bitch and has made a decision to discard her friends, cheerleading and has been coming into school drunk causing her perfect grades to plummet As a person Parker is deeply flawed and is suffering after the events of a horrific night. In an attempt to distance herself from everyone around her decides to be as self destructive as possible. For me this makes her an incredibly real and likeable character who I can begin to imagine having conversations with throughout my day. She does not complain or feel sorry for herself and she knows that she is hurting the people around her however justifies most of her actions. Each of the characters in this book are written into life and I feel just as real as the people I work with.

The events held within the pages of this book don't unfold as much as they just happen and you are expected to accept them and move on. There is no hand holding with this story, it is delivered to you and you can either like it or leave it. I picked this book up one evening expecting to read only a few pages but I found it very difficult to put down. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a little more bite with their book.

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