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Publisher Description

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel that Booklist called “rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage life, and compelling as a mystery” in a starred review.

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.

Young Adult
May 14
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Grades 7 and Above

Customer Reviews

Bookbruin ,

Being true to one's self

What if? Doesn't everyone ask this question at some point in their life? What if I went left instead of right? What if I told the truth instead of lying? What if I said yes instead of no? What if?

Golden is a story that is part love and friendship, part mystery. It's about Parker, who on the outside, is the quintessential good girl trying to live up to the ideals and expectations of her mother. Just below the surface, however, is the Parker that wants to break free and make her own choices. I found her character and the relationship with her mother very relatable. Don't we all struggle at times with trying to live up to someone's (even our own) expectations?

I really enjoyed Parker's relationship with Kat. She was a fantastic best friend and I loved how supportive Kat was throughout the story. She definitely made Parker a stronger and better person. I was a little meh about her relationship with Trevor. He was sweet at times and I liked their interactions, but I'm not sure I really bought the whole super hot crush secretly has a crush on you too bit. Trevor could have easily been just a good friend instead of a love interest, but I understand the underlying message of carpe diem.

My favorite part of Golden was the sealed journals assignment. It's such a simple and powerful idea. The only "rule" is to record everything over a 2 week time period and follow the prompt "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

The journal was such an amazing way to weave Juliana's story into Parker's. I found myself dying to know what Juliana had written and learn more about the mystery behind her and Shane's deaths. I got sucked into Golden very quickly and had a hard time putting it down. Although some things worked out a little too perfectly for me, overall, it was a thoughtful book that I will remember for a long time.

Catlover 2051014 ,


This book was a Touching love story that I adored, but this was not my favorite book so I can't give a 5 star review.

NikGodwin ,

A beautiful YA contemporary!

A beautiful YA contemporary! Coming of age & self discovery is one of my favorite things, along with secrets from the past. Jessi Kirby nailed it with this one! Highly recommended to any and all YA readers!

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