60 percent into this book I knew how it was going to end.Though it didn't go exactly how I thought, I got the main things right. What makes me mad is if this had gone differently , this book would be a solid three or even four star book for me. No such luck, though. I am going to put it out there, I am not a fan of "happy " endings most of the time. There are few authors I feel that can pull it off , but they are few and very very far between. Most of the time if a book ends "happily", it feels forced. If this situation had happened in real life, it would have gone very differently.
Golden is not a bad book, for the most part. Parker is a character I think most girls and even guys can relate to. She is that person who is trying to balance what she wants and what her mother wants for her. The one who tries hard so she can go to college and make something of herself. The one trying to get her crush to notice her , though in this world her crush is basically throwing himself at her so not sure how many people can relate to that.The point is that Parker is a pretty relatable and believable main character. I do feel that Kat was there to be the slutty and wild best friend. Not saying those types of friends don't exist, but in this book she seemed so opposite to Parker in every way possible . I am sort of surprised they were friends, to be honest. Trevor is ok, but feel like the author could have developed his character more than having him be token crush .
In terms of plot, I think it started off pretty good. I was actually interested in how things were going. Even when Parker got the journal and there was that whole cliche of the perfect couple who is not perfect in some small town and then the sad romantic stuff. Then 60 percent in things hit and I knew this book was going to piss me off. First off, I think Parker changed a bit too quickly for my likening. This author wants me to believe that Parker is this good girl , does everything her mother says all her life , but the last month of high school she decides to take a risk and just does the exact opposite of everything she has done before. She goes from goody two-shoes to stealing things, taking road trips, ditching class, and totally standing up to her mom and shit. All of this in the last month of high school! Maybe I could buy some of it but not all of it, though. It was just too much too fast. Maybe if this book had taken place over the course of a year or two, I would have believed all that happening.
Then there is the whole "mystery" element. It isn't much of a mystery. Again, 60 percent into it , you realize either the girl or the boy that were suppose to die in that crash is alive.Without that element there wouldn't be much else the author could do with the story. Well...she could but it's nicer and happier with one of the "golden couple" living on. Insert eyeroll here. To be honest, I would have had more respect for this book if both of them died and Parker found out all the stuff she did , but just from other sources . I think the book really really tries to not fit into romantic chick lit cliches , but usually ends up doing it anyway.
- Love with your soulmate that works out in the end . Check
- A crush that is there to give you a second chance even though you turned him down about 50 billion times . Check
Some others but you get the picture. I feel like too many things in this novel work out too perfectly. On the road trip, Parker and friends just happen to pick the right town where Jules is. What luck! Even though Jules doesn't agree to go back, there is the last 5 or so pages where Josh/ Orion goes after Jules after a phone call. So I am made to believe that after 10 years of hiding Jules is cool with sharing her story with some random girl she just met and then calling an ex and telling him she is alive after all this time and that he just needs to come get her. Yeah...sure. This is again something that only happens in movies or in books. In real life, I think Jules would have left the state or maybe the country and probably never agreed to talk to this "weirdo "l that was creepy enough to track her down. I get that some people find that stuff romantic, I don't and never will. I don't believe all people should end up lonely and miserable, but Ido believe romance and love need to be portrayed realistic in books and movies.
I am sure I am missing the point in that books like this fill the void of the sad romance of real life. That this is what people dream romance can be. Everyone gets with their soulmates. Everyone gets that second chance and everyone gets their happy ending. If that is what you like , then you will probably love or least really like this book. In my world , Jules either died or moved on. People do that. Well most of the time. She probably got married , had some kids. Maybe she found peace in her art . Talked to a therapist to get through her grief and learned to forgive herself. Josh remembered fondly of his childhood crush.Maybe he found her again. Maybe they tried to work it out , but found they were different people because ten years had passed!! All that stuff isn't perfect and romantic, though.
Course there is Parker herself. The shy, honors-student ready to get her full ride to Standford. She finally gets the courage to stand up to her mom. Decides she wants to plan her life out and not have her mom plan it out for her. Good for her!!. Course I again don't buy that the same mom that got pissed that Parker ran away and went on that road trip, the same mom and sort of hates her father, would be totally cool with Parker walking out on the Scholarship dinner and would allow Parker to go live with her father. I just don't buy it! I believe her mother would have gone after her after she walked out. I believed they would have had some words. Maybe in time her mom would have come around. In the context of the story, it seems liked her mom comes around in no time. She goes from the mom who expects everything of her daughter to the mom who is fine with her daughter who "throws" all that out the window. Yeah, no. Also , Parker doesn't really give up her mother's wish. She defers her admission. Basically meaning she can go in a year if her application is better than those that apply in a years time.She can also probably reapply for the Scholarship if she wanted. Not sure. Considering how hard she has worked for four years, know she will finally get the college dream too. So basically everyone gets everything thing they want. Her moms gets her daughter going to Standford, Parker gets time with her father and some freedom, she gets her crush to give her another chance even after she turned him down for 6 years, Jules gets her soulmate. All the stars align and love wins out. No one is left disappointed and sad or alone or whatever. Everything works out in the end. Even if the book tries to sell itself as not the cliched romance/young adult coming of age story or whatever. It end up being just like any other chick flick or romance novel.