28 May 2011

REVIEW: Cracked Up to Be - Courtney Summers

by Courtney Summers 
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
23 December 2008
224 Pages

Perfect Parker Fadley isn’t so perfect anymore.  She’s quit the cheerleading squad, she’s dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she’s failing school.  Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she’s playing games…but what they don’t know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn’t something she can say out loud.  It isn’t even something she can say to herself.  A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault.  If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her. 

R E V I E W :
Cracked Up to Be is about a teenage delinquent and like most teenage delinquents, there is a reason behind Parker's madness. Through little flashbacks, Courtney Summers shows little moments in Parker's past that led to her deliberate fall from grace and finally, the mystery is revealed. But near the beginning, we learn that something horrible happened during a party and she blames herself for it and she uses her self-imposed social isolation as punishment.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for her but I liked her spunk and attitude. She tended to tease and manipulate people with her sharp tongue and wit and was also very blunt and spoke her mind, but not exactly in the good way.

Parker was on a self destructive path and stated that she just wanted to be left alone and forgotten, which was kind of hard considering her caring parents, ex-boyfriend, archrival, and the new guy. Her ex, Chris, wasn't over her, even if she did do some horrible things, so she hoped for the sucess of the relationship between him and her archrival, Becky, and even tried to replace herself as a daughter with a new dog, Bailey.

A new guy Jake comes in the beginning of the story. The first time they meet, she's nasty to him so it's a wonder why he liked her but I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. At first, Parker doesn't really like Jake and tries to get him to leave her alone but eventually, she opens up to him and Chris.

I think Becky, to some degree, really did care about Parker. Sure, she was jealous, but there were some moments where I thought she showed compassion towards Parker. Chris genuinely cared for her too. I think he misinterpreted his friendly/brother love for her as romantic love but eventually, he learns the difference.

Courtney Summers threw at us the story of a grieving, self destructive teenager but unlike most books of those I read, I genuinely liked Parker and understood her way of thinking. She wasn't going for suicidal, although she did have some moments, and just the way Parker's mind worked was intriguing. Her voice fits perfectly with her personality and her thoughts made sense, in a not-quite-twisted sort of way. Even so, I felt that something was missing from this.

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