Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Golden is the first novel I've read by Jessi Kirby, but I own both Moonglass and In Honor. After absolutely loving this book, you can bet I'll be picking up the other two posthaste. They're both relatively short, so I don't know why I didn't get to them sooner.
Golden isn't long, by any means, but whatever it might lack in length, it makes up for by packing an emotional punch. Anyone who's ever wondered if they're following their own dreams or just attempting to meet the expectations of everyone around them will identify with Parker's character on some level. She's ambitious and goal-oriented, but she's also afraid that she's let life pass her by without taking any risks or doing anything memorable. After finding Julianna's journal, she's even more certain that if she were to look back on her life ten years from now, she'll have nothing to show for it: no great love, no crazy stories, nothing besides a lot of hard work.
So, when the opportunity for something bigger than her or her own problems presents itself, Parker makes it her mission to solve the mystery of the town's most famous couple's disappearance. And instead of offering up platitudes and promises of things to come, Parker's best friend Kat insists they go out big, that they discover what really happened that fateful night ten years ago. I've noticed that most of the time, friends named Kat in stories or in real life -- my older sister is named Kat -- are often the ones with the harebrained schemes that end up being pretty epic. I kind of adored this friendship in the book. Parker was a bit frustrating at times, especially when it came to Trevor, but that's where Kat would swoop in and smooth things over for me.
The story pays homage to Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", though a great emphasis is placed on all of his works, since Parker's father is a poet and her family might potentially be descended from Frost. I loved how the themes of chance and choice were interwoven into the story and how they eventually played out in both Parker and Julianna's lives.
Golden was actually a story within a story, which made the mystery that much more compelling and made the book that much harder to put down without finishing every last word. From what I've heard, her other books are no less compelling, and I can't wait to find out for myself.