Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Received for review from the publisher via Edelweiss
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. (summary from Goodreads)
Usually, characterization is my favorite part of reading. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the characters in this book, but they were not what made the book for me. Parker was a great narrator. She finally realizes that her life is her life, not her mother's. She realizes that she always plays it safe. She makes a lot of realizations throughout the book, some pleasant, others not so much. She's likeable and easy to relate to. Though all of the characters in this novel showed a lot of growth and I was pleased with them all in the end, I ended up being really proud of Parker.
Kat and Parker are, on the surface, opposites. Parker is a hard worker, follows her mom's order, and doesn't take a lot of risks. Kat is always doing reckless things, she's loud, and certainly not approved by Parker's mom. They balance each other out. I think their friendship is very realistic. It definitely isn't perfect, because no teenage girl friendship is. They may fight. They might not be 100% honest with each other at all times. They may be suspicious of things they shouldn't. But in the end, they support each other and are there for each other and would never really betray one another.
The romance between Parker and Trevor is not the center of the book. The triangle between Julianna, Shane, and Orion is technically the center of the book, but it's not about the romance, no really. Either way, I really like Trevor. At first he seems like the typical player, like, "Hey, let's go hook up in the art supply closet!" But then we realize that it is just a game. He obviously likes Parker, and he puts up with her more crazy moments. Just like Kat, he supports her and he understands her. I was really rooting for their relationship.
To me, the plot is what makes this book. I love quirky adventures like the one in this story. It's more than just a plot. It makes the characters come more alive. Reading this book was refreshing because it was different than the typical contemporary. The original plot line is what allowed this book to truly stick in my head and what made it memorable. Also, the pacing was very natural and flowed well. Between the Robert Frost quotes and references, Julianna's journal, and the school skipping, I was never bored.
So Pretty Much...
If you're a fan of contemporary novels, this is not one to be missed. Kirby has gifted the world with an original, meaningful book perfect for the end of the school year and summer.