Friday, November 26, 2010
Book Review: Cracked Up To Be
When "Perfect" Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter's High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher's pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?
Parker doesn't want to talk about it. She'd just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all.
Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.
Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.
I've heard nothing but praise for this book...and I felt let down.
While there were some comical lines (and some did make me laugh out loud), I just couldn't connect with Parker. The only reason I continued reading this book was to find out what the big secret was, why Parker suddenly started drinking, attempted suicide, and pushed everyone away. CS drops flashback scenes here and there, but it didn't help much. I wasn't even remotely engrossed until after the first hundred pages. Then the flashback scenes became more intense, so I continued reading.
Parker's friend Jessie has been missing for a year, which is the basis of Parker's problems. Even after knowing what happened the night Parker lost it (the night Jessie went missing), I still don't feel for her. Everything was blown out of proportion. Parker blabbed to Jessie that Jessie's boyfriend, Evan, was cheating on her and that's when shit hit the fan. Jessie rebounded with some college guy at the party, but they disappeared. When Parker found them in the woods, Jessie was being raped. My problem with this is: why didn't Parker stop what was happening? Why didn't she say something--anything? Better yet, why did she lie to the police by saying she didn't know where Jessie was?
Another problem that nagged at the back of my brain was the fact that Parker had an ex who still cared about her, and a guy who was falling for her. Yet she teeter-tottered between the two, like she couldn't make up her mind. Exes are exes for a reason. And the new guy couldn't be more awesome. Dude puts up with a LOT of smartass comments from Parker. So much so that I'm convinced any normal guy would've been uninterested after the basic "fuck off" hint.
I hate to see strong protagonists just stand back and not do anything, not even try to make things better, especially when Parker had an assortment of individuals who still cared about her well-being. This was well-written, and the voice was definitely there, but as a whole, the book irritated me.