4-star · Book Reviews

Book Review: Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

Title: Cracked Up To Be
Author: Courtney Summers
PubDate: December 23, 2008
Page count: 214

“I didn’t want to be popular because it was easier; I wanted to be popular because in high school that’s the best things you can be: perfect. Everything else is shit.”

I finished this book weeks ago but only get to write a review now. Cracked Up To Be was the debut novel of Courtney Summers and my second book of hers. My first was All The Rage which is her latest and which I had mixed feelings about. And I can say that I loved this one more than All The Rage.

The book tells the story of Parker Fadley, a used to be popular senior at her school who just started drinking and messing up after one party that caused the disappearance of her bestfriend. When Parker started pushing people away and became rebellious, everyone was surprised and worried because she used to be the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school and her grades were excellent. But now she only had one goal in life; to be left alone. So she did everything just to push everyone away including her family, her friends, Chris, her ex-boyfriend who still loved her despite everything and Jake, the new guy.

What I liked most about this book is that it felt realistic and I can relate with the characters. Summers managed to write about highschool but deeper. Her characters felt real and though they weren’t perfect, they all told a story we can relate with.The rawness of emotions was also something I liked in this book. While there were times I felt frustrated and irritated with Parker, I knew it was only because she was doing something only a messed up girl would do. Her pain made her do stupid things which she knew would make people hate her more because she thought that she deserved it. She had a way of punishing herself and it made me love her even more.

I unfold the paper in my hands. HOW TO BREATHE. I fold it back up again.

I totally loved Chris and Jake too. Chris was Parker’s ex-boyfriend and though Parker did some stupid things towards Chris, he still loved her. They were so casual with each other and I guess Parker was that one girl for Chris he’d always love no matter. Chris can be a jerk but he genuinely cared for Parker.

“I don’t like you with Becky. She’s not a very nice girl.”

“I don’t like you with Jake. He’s not me.”

Jake, on the other hand, was the new guy who insisted on breaking his own heart by pursuing Parker. He knew that Parker was messed up but he was patient and persistent. I liked him the first timed he showed up in the book. I liked him more when he put up with and accepted Parker’s bitchy attitude.

“Maybe you like trying to figure me out,” I suggest. “So, maybe I should tell you what my deal is. Get it out of your system.”

“Maybe I like trying to figure you out because I like you against my better judgement.” He pauses. “Or maybe if I figured you out, I’d like you more.”

Another thing about this book is that it tells us that we’re not responsible for everything and we can’t control the way things end up. Parker might have felt responsible but it didn’t mean she had to punish herself. And that’s one thing teenagers tend to do these days. They decide on their own and even if it’s something stupid, they still do it since the believe it’s the right thing to do.

Overall, it was good and worth reading. I haven’t read Summers’ other books but now I feel like I have to. And I will!

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