Monday, January 5, 2009

Book Review: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Parker has always had to be perfect in everything. Perfect grades, perfect boyfriend, perfect hair and make-up everyday, perfect cheer routines. So when something happens that makes her realize she's not perfect after all, Parker loses it and pushes away everyone and everything she once cared so much about. Will Parker face her demons and forgive herself before it's too late?

What veers close to being an overly melodramatic saga of a downward spiral into drugs, alcohol and hopelessness after a tramatic event is saved by Parker's undeniable sass and ultimate will to live and to succeed. It seems perfectionist Parker, though "popular", was just as difficult to like as self-destructive Parker, but that doesn't stop boys, or the reader for that matter, from finding her incredibly interesting.

As it turns out, the novel, like Parker herself, is not perfect - for example there is a wierd subplot involving an adopted dog that didn't work for me - but hey, even though life is messy, it is still worth living and a book that reflects that truth as honestly and expertly as this one does, certainly deserves to be read.

Thanks to LibraryThing for the Early Review copy. Cracked Up to Be is now available in paperback.

14 comments:

Alea said...

I actually really liked the dog subplot, how it sort of showed even though she tried so hard to push everyone away she couldn't really just close off her heart. And that there was hope for her still.

What's with all the cute pets in books lately! Making me jealous!

Lenore said...

I don't mind that she got the dog... it's more what happens with the dog that I didn't like.

You need a cute pet! You aren't allergic are you?

Keri Mikulski said...

Sounds like a good one. ;) Thanks for the review. I'm adding this one to my list. :)

S. Krishna said...

I want to read this one - thanks for the review! And I'm actually intrigued by the weird dog subplot...

Ali said...

The dog subplot worked for me. I think what happened with the dog was part of her breaking through her numbness about the other thing that had happened. (How's that for a vague nonspoiler comment? LOL).

I'm about to write my review of this book and it's taking some thought. There was a lot about this book I loved. And yet, it wasn't up there with the "best books" or even "best YA books" I've read lately, and I haven't figured out why yet. Thanks to your review I've clarified for myself that it wasn't the dog subplot! LOL

bermudaonion said...

I've heard a lot about this one and want to read it. Thanks for the review.

Linda J said...

I'd like to read this one too. Sounds interesting...

Alea said...

I'm not allergic but I've really never had a pet, besides a few fish etc. I think at this point if I saw something move out of the corner of my eye (a pet) it would probably scare the heck out of me. I like visiting with animals though so cute!

Lenore said...

Ali - That was my take on the dog subplot too, but I found it ... I don't know ... too tidy? Too much like a narrative device? I think that's it. But maybe it's just me, and really it's a small thing anyway :)

And Alea, you get used to them moving around...knocking chairs over...breaking things...

Ali said...

Yeah, I get what you mean, Lenore. It was pretty transparent as a narrative device.

Joanne said...

I loved this book, the dog sub-plot was a nice touch but it was Parkers reactions following the dog part that bugged me. Hard to explain without spoilers :P

Shauna- Reading and Ruminations said...

I would agree with you (and previous commenters) that the dog was too transparent as a plot device. I also agree that this book isn't perfect, but I think Summers has a lot of potential.

Great review!

Teddy Rose said...

I added the link to the ARC Challenge post. Thanks!

LadyJane said...

This book is on order for me! It is the second time I have seen it now on a site.

Alea, there is another dog subplot of a very DIFFERENT kind in the book 'Rowan of the wood'. Have you read it?