Golden – Jessi Kirby

Golden – Jessi KirbyTitle: Golden by Jessi Kirby
Publishing Info: May 14, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 16, 2013

   Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.
    Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.
    Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.



GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby was definitely one of my more anticipated reads of Spring 2013. Like many, I’m sure, I was drawn in by the possibility that our main character Parker Frost was possibly related to the great poet Robert Frost. I’m not normally one for poetry but I kind of adore Frost due to some connections that I made to his works in high school, so I was pretty excited for this fictional historical tie-in. The sad thing was… It never happened. Let me explain.

Parker Frost is your average over-acheiving teenager. Not in a bad way that gets tedious as you read about her road to perfection, but in a way that her mother has pushed her all her life NOT to be like her free-spirit writer/poet father who is apparently NOT related to Robert Frost because the book never went there. Nope. He’s just a really big fan.

Now don’t get me wrong — This sounds a lot like complaining (okay, it is just a smidge) but I actually really did enjoy the book! I haven’t read Jessi Kirby’s previous works (which I want to now) so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. What I found was a great story about Shane and Julianna, the high school’s former golden couple who had died in a tragic accident and an interesting twist as Parker discovers a little more truth to what may have happened that night. I enjoyed the mystery but I was a little frustrated with how it was laid out. I felt like Shane & Julianna’s story absolutely took precedence and I never got to really get to know Parker outside of the fact that she feels pressure from her mother to excel. I wasn’t connecting with Parker because so much of her story was dependent on the secrets of Shane & Julianna. I also didn’t connect with Shane & Julianna because they weren’t actually present in Parker’s life and interacting with her. I really liked the idea of what Jessi Kirby was doing with the book, but for me it just didn’t pull me in and really make me FEEL for these characters.

That being said, Jessi Kirby does have a nice way with words. I was actually drawn in immediately after the first chapter and I had really high hopes as to where the book would go from there. I didn’t feel like most of the chapters followed with the same passion, but there were definitely some really beautifully laid out moments. I guess I just have a lot of mixed feelings, really. Many great things but I was just left hoping for more the whole time.


Parker: I can see where Parker is coming from — I was the same way with my parents, although slightly less intense and I was never pushed to feel like I had to get stressed about school. I would think that would help me connect with her, seeing a lot of common ground between us, but I really felt like she was never really developed on her own as a character. She was twisted into the story of Shane & Julianna and I felt like she didn’t really get her own chance to shine, to speak to the readers, to develop her own relationships… She just fell a little flat for me.
Trevor: I never felt the connection with Trevor either. I wasn’t sure if he was a shmoozer or if we as the readers are supposed to swoon for him. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I was like, “Ohhh okay. We ARE supposed to like him” but by that point in time, it was too late. I didn’t see a lot of genuine connection between him & Parker for most of the book.
Josh: Josh was actually my favorite character. That probably sounds weird because if you haven’t read the book, you’re like “Who the eff is Josh???” He’s the guy in his 20s who works in the coffeeshop. He’s got tattoos and looks like kind of a bad boy and he’s totally intimidating which means that he’s got a sexy smoldering thing going on. Also, I pictured him as Jess from Gilmore Girls (not Milo Ventimiglia, but Jess. There’s a difference.) so that helps a lot too!

addiction_factor1Read it!

I felt like I complained about this book a lot in my review, but I honestly didn’t hate it. I was just so excited for it that I was a little disappointed AND it was totally missing the Robert Frost connection that I was really, really hoping for… I did enjoy the book though!

 book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE GOLDEN

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Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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16 thoughts on “Golden – Jessi Kirby

  1. lily

    I’ve never read a book by Jessi Kirby before (I meant to read In Honour a few weeks ago but keep postponing it) but this has been on my “most anticipated” list for ever. The cover’s just gorgeaus and thats immedaitly what got my eye. I don’t think I’ll like the whole poetry aspect though because normally i love peotry but I have a strrange feeling I’m not going to get into it with this one 🙁 I’m glad you like this one.
    Lily @ lilysbookblog

    1. Brittany Post author

      The poetry side actually wasn’t a big part of it! I thought it was going to be, but really it was just little snippets of Frost poems at the beginning of each chapter. The rest of the book doesn’t have anything to do with poetry, really 🙂 You may still enjoy it!!!

  2. Amy @ bookgoonie

    Hmmm…I haven’t read a Kirby book yet. I might give one of the others a try first. It sounds like there is a lot going on. But glad to hear that it is still worth the buy 😉

  3. Rachel

    I love your whole comparisons thing at the end of your posts because that is SO helpful. Just saying.

    Not going to lie, I wanted to read this book because of the cover. And the title. But it actually sounds really good! I kind of skimmed over the review since I like to go in without knowing much, but it’s definitely an interesting concept. I don’t know if it’ll be something I’m madly in love with or anything, but we’ll just have to wait an see on that.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Oooh yay! I’m so glad you like the comparisons!! I really try to pick ones that have the same feel 🙂

      I hope you like this one! It was really interesting and I think I was just a little disappointed because I expected a specific SOMETHING from it and it just wasn’t what I expected. That’s why I try to go in blind for a lot of books! Oh well 🙂

  4. Amy @ Tripping Over Books

    Golden is one of my most anticipated books for this spring, too. I have really enjoyed Jessi Kirby’s other books, but the way you describe this one reminds me of the reaction I had to In Honor. I liked it a lot while I was reading it, and then I felt like my review was mostly talking about what I didn’t like! (I won’t spoil it since you haven’t read it yet.) But I’m still looking forward to this one. I’ve preordered it, half because I think it sounds good and half because I already own her other two books so I have to cater to my bookish OCD, haha.
    I’m so glad for your review, though, Brittany because I know that so many people love this book, and they’ve got me excited about it. But I always appreciate someone with a different view. 🙂

  5. Emily @ Forever Literary

    The Frost reference sounded like a lovely and unique addition, so it’s too bad that it didn’t work out the way you hoped. Shane and Julianna’s story sounds like the kind of thing I would adore, but again, the fact that it took away from your connection with the main character is disappointing.
    Thanks for this review, though! Reading critical but still positive thoughts always helps me know what to expect, so hopefully my hopes will not get in the way of my enjoyment of the story the way yours did. 🙂

  6. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

    I haven’t read any of Kirby’s novels either, but I have been meaning to. From what I’ve heard, she’s a fairly good and well-respected contemporary fiction author. Reading this review, I may opt to read a book besides Golden first, since your feelings for the book were so mixed.

  7. estelle @ rather be reading blog

    Truth? I have already preordered this title after the massive praise I’ve heard. But I’m actually really appreciative of your review because it makes me feel a bit more down to earth about the whole reading experience (when it finally comes). I actually didn’t realize the character was supposed to be a distant relative of Frost. Even when we talked about the book on a recent v-log… that didn’t come up. So very very interesting.

    If I could recommend another Kirby, I’d vote Moonglass over In Honor every time. 🙂

  8. Lucy

    I’ve been putting off reading Golden I don’t know why! I loved In Honor though and am eager to hear your thoughts on it.
    Sorry to hear the Frost connection wasn’t what you hoped it would be. It’s hard when you don’t really love the characters, though Josh does sound intriguing.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Golden. I’m eager to compare notes with you soon!

    1. Brittany Post author

      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts as well! I really did like Jessi Kirby’s writing but I think I just couldn’t let go that the Frost attachment was missing.
      Hope you enjoy it!!

  9. Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)

    I feel very drawn to Jessi Kirby’s books and I haven’t even read any of them yet! I’ve had In Honor on my wishlist for a while now AND this one looks awesome! I think it’s her covers … they’re just so eye-catching! I’ll definitely have to pick her books up soon. 🙂

    Great review!

    1. Brittany Post author

      I really hope you enjoy it! So many people looooved it so far, but I was just hoping for a tad more.
      Can’t wait to read your review when you’re able to read it! 🙂

  10. Cait

    I still need to read “In Honor” by Kirby. I read “Moonglass” glass year, and really loved Kirby’s voice. She made me remember why I love contemporary YA so much. Sorry the mystery aspect didn’t turn out the way you wanted…I know I always get so frustrated when a book doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it too, or with something I think it should have. But, perhaps that’s why I not the author or that story 🙂
    Your review, however, has definitely encouraged me to pick up this story! For some reason… I love spending my summers reading contemporary lit so I think I’ll add Kirby to my list!

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