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Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

December 23rd, 2008 (10:39 am)
excited

Current Mood: excited
Current Song: Halo by Bethany Joy Lenz

Sometimes, what you don't do can be as consequential as what you do.

Parker was a good girl. A nice girl. A cheerleader. A straight-A student.

Then something happened. Something which changed Parker completely. Something she wishes she could change. Her mood, her grades, and her spirits have all plummeted. Haunted, Parker is no longer the girl she once was - and she doesn't want to be, not anymore.

Courtney Summers' debut novel is not to be missed. From its first page, Cracked Up to Be is raw and real. The writing will immediately strike a chord with readers. When the characters speak, they sound authentic: some kids swear and some kids laugh while others toss out a word or two while swallowing down what they really want to say. Adult readers will quickly be transported to the halls of high school and feel as if they never left. When worries and bravado and the sound of lockers opening and shutting fill the space between classes, the air becomes so thick with activity and words and things that she's no longer a part of that sometimes Parker just can't breathe.

With everything referring back to a party and alluding to something that transpired there, there's an element of mystery to the story. That element will inspire the desire to keep reading, not only to find out what happened then but also see what happens next.

In a way, there are three Parkers - past, present, and future - and all of them are worth knowing. Repulsed by her former self, she acts out on purpose, pushing everything and everyone away. Once perfect, whole, and untouchable, she is now a broken girl. Shattered. As she struggles through her senior year, she may or may not find all of the pieces of herself. If those pieces can come back together again, Parker might be able reclaim herself - if she even wants to - but she'll have to let go of some heavy things in order to do so.

I highly recommend this title, which I have included on my Best Books of 2008 list.

I also reviewed the book at SparkLife and Young Adult Books Central.

I had the honor of interviewing the author, Courtney Summers. Read the interview.

A Personal Note

I feel very lucky to have been one of the book's earliest readers. I didn't know Courtney prior to reading this book; I was not her associate, her editor, her writing partner, her publicist. After reading this book, I couldn't stop talking about it - while reading it, actually - and I marked at least thirty pages in the book with my trusty little Post-It flats. (I may edit this post later this week to include my favorite lines and quotes from the book.) Due to my loud support and ongoing praise of the book, I have a list of friends and customers awaiting its release. I can't wait until they read it. The book is very thought-provoking, and I anticipate some really great discussions. I hope that other reviewers and bloggers enjoy the book as much as I do.

Book Excerpt

Imagine four years.

Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars - every day, a turf war - six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.

High school.


Read the first chapter of Cracked Up to Be. (Not suitable for younger readers.)

Cracked Up to Be was won the Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction.

Further Reading

I recommend the following titles alongside Cracked Up to Be:

Swollen by Melissa Lion
The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- as well as Courtney's other novels, Some Girls Are and Fall For Anything.

Comments

Posted by: brimstonesoup.blogspot.com (ext_105949)
Posted at: November 17th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)

This looks like such a good book, LW! I'm so excited to read all your blogblast posts. xo

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 18th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)

Thanks! Based on the concept of your own book, I think you'll like CUTB.

Posted by: Emily Hainsworth (emilyhainsworth)
Posted at: November 18th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)

I am one of the privileged who have read CUTB. Wonderful review - I couldn't stop nodding all the way through. I can't wait for this book to hit the shelves. Courtney's going to be big. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 18th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)

Hurrah for CUTB cheerleaders! It's so, so good.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: November 18th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)

So I was working on replying to comments and things on the internets, and then I drew up the WBBT interview to show my Mom (hee--no one can walk by me, it's like CHECK OUT MY INTERVIEW, YOU GUYS) and then I saw the link to the review and I was like, "Oh my God, Little Willow reviewed it!!! Omgomgomgomg!" (That was pretty much it verbatim) And THEN I opened up the review and read it with one hand over my mouth and my mom behind me reading it at the same time and I was like, "omgomgomgomgomg" through my palm (still verbatim!) and then I was like "!!!!!" and she was like "!!!!" and it was A Moment.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that you enjoyed the book. Thank you for letting me send it to you & thank you for taking the time to read it (you were the first!!!), and thank you for this review, because it's just !!! to me that I got to send it to you in the first place. Past Courtney who lurked here long before a word of CUTB was written is totally pinching herself right now. So is Present Courtney! And I think when I am done writing this, I will pinch myself again, so that means Future Courtney is in on this moment too. :)

- courtney

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 19th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)

Thank you, and you're welcome, back and forth, and forth and back. Every exclamation gets a smile from me.

Posted by: presentinglenore.blogspot.com (presentinglenore.blogspot.com)
Posted at: November 20th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)

Really looking forward to this one!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 21st, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)

It's so, so good.

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