Friday, 30 January 2009

Cracked Up To Be / Courtney Summers

Guest reviewer, Shabbygeek, gives her two cents worth on this novel I am excited to read. Comments are always appreciated. Thanks C.

Review - I first became curious about author Courtney Summers when I discovered her after browsing my various networks of Twitter. You could say I might have been bored that day in September of '08. Anyway, Summers would make random, hilarious comments about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and as a fan of the book and as a fan of humor, I instantly liked her.

I discovered her website and her corresponding blog. This girl was not just a funny Twitterer, she was a hilarious blogger. She was really a funny person, and had a YA novel coming out at the end of the year, Cracked Up to Be.

For a laugh-out-loud, witty girl, Summers can serve up funny on a platter and you can feed on it for days. After reading Cracked Up to Be, I discovered that not only can she serve up funny, but she can throw brutal honesty, razor-sharp pain, transparency, confusion, manipulation, and humility all on that same plate. You'd ask her for seconds. I wasn't the biggest fan of high school. Parker Fadley, CUTB's protagonist, isn't either. She isn't a likable person, but she's so deeply scarred, cold, reckless and piercingly decided at the same time you're dying to figure her out the entire novel. Summers writes Fadley as a stream-of-consciousness, a writing style I wasn't familiar with, but didn't despise in the least. You're surprised by her scorn of her peers, and intrigued that she doesn't seem to care. You're stuck inside the head of someone so darkened by recent events, and you feel trapped there, uncomfortable for prying in on her thoughts and hurt, but not necessarily wanting to escape.

Cracked Up to Be isn't for those looking for a YA sappy love story. There's pages of language, booze, backstabbing, selfishness, and a lot of teenage irresponsibility littered throughout this book. There's a bit of mystery involved, but the novel is a character piece at heart. You're trying to figure out a character who believes she's figured out herself, and the story arc will have you wringing your hands in anticipation as its hurried, deliberate, and sharp words sting your eyes as you read each page.

Cracked Up to Be feels like an indie film, one that's viciously honest and touchingly sincere, displayed in short bits of flashbacks and flash-forwards. High school certainly wasn't the best years for some, and this is a great creation of one of those tales. Summers certainly has made a lasting impression for her first novel, and I'm anxious for more to follow.

Published: 2008
Format: Paperback
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Origin: USA
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Courtney Summers' blog
Courtney Summers' website
Courtney Summers' twitter


YA Book Realm said...

I want to read this so badly! And I love the comparison with the book's plot and indie film. =)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

AH, I need this book in my life. Amazing review. It makes me want to read it like 100% more. Sounds amazinnggg.

And like YA Book Realm said, I love the comparison to an indie film. So cool!