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Perfect Parker Fadley isn't so perfect anymore. She's quit the cheerleading squad, she's dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she's failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she's playing games…but what they don't know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn't something she can say out loud. It isn't even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault. If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Dec 23, 2008
ISBN: 9781429948104
List price: $9.22
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Cracked up to be is one of those YA novels you can read in one sitting because it just sucks you right in. Although the style is complex, with flashbacks bringing the reader back and forth in time, teenagers will want to know the story and stick with it. Parker is a well-drawn main character and her experiences will speak to high school girls.read more
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Parker is the perfect cheerleader, daughter and student. Then something bad happens that makes her stray away from that. I really enjoyed reading this book. I had to finish it to see what made Parker change so much. I loved the way that she talked to people. I liked how she purposely went out of her way to say whatever she was feeling. I was left guessing until the very end. The book did not end the way I expected and I liked that.read more
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When taking on how to write a story there are authors that show you the characters and those that tell you about them. This book definitely shows you, which made it all more real in a sense. I could picture this book like a movie playing in my head. See the characters for who they were, hear their voices, and all those other great things we as readers love. Out of the all the characters in the book I warm up to Parker easily...who really isn't exactly a warming character at first. Might be the sarcastic wit she holds that sucked me in. But she's got a secret and a major problem - only if everyone would just leave her the hell alone, she might finally be okay...or so she thinks.The fact is that no matter how much Parker tries to shove everyone away, they're still there. Even though Parker is...ahem sometimes....they all still care, which made me care. Immediately I had to know why and what happened to make her like this.The mystery behind this story is fantastic. There are little hints here and there, but not enough for me to really guess what it was. You will be hooked from the first chapter and unable to put it down. Unless you realize you have to be at work in four hours and have no clue what you just read in the last five pages because you're so tired. Then after you get off of work, you go straight home, hyped up on caffeine, and pick this book back up to finish it. Only to get to the end and realize how much it was worth it.I love reading debut novels and Courtney Summers has swept me away. I cannot wait to read more from her! Oh and my only complaint is that the story ended. So to answer my own question in the first part of this review: Yes, it's THAT good!read more
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The abrasive main character, Parker, turned me off at the beginning, but as her situtation unfolded I felt more and more for her. I thought I had it figured out in the first chapter or two, but it turned out I was wrong (in fact, one of the other characters asked her if it was ____, which I thought was a nice touch, acknowledging the cliche). I liked the way this unfolded and the complexity of the characters. All in all it was a very good read.read more
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I'm a high school librarian, so I read a lot of YA novels, good ones and sometimes some not-so-good ones.Courtney Summers' "Cracked Up To Be" falls into the category of a good YA novel. High school senior Parker Fadley, the book's no-longer-perfect main character, is wrestling with some major demons and she'd be the first to admit that she's a total bitch much of the time, but I couldn't help A) rooting for her and B) devouring the book in just a couple sittings to find out what dark secret has made her set out to systematically destroy her life.I will definitely be reading Summers' next book.read more
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This book has mainly pretty good reviews. I also really loved the sound of the book so its been on my wish list for a while so when it finally came in stock on Amazon I brought it right away, but I have to say I was a little disappointed.Parker Fadley is one of those girls who has it all. She’s cheerleading captain, has a gorgeous boyfriend and has perfect grades. In fact perfect could be Parkers middle name. So when Parker starts turning up to school drunk, breaks up with her boyfriend, quits the cheerleading squad and generally trys to isolate herself from everyone people don’t understand whats made Parker fall from grace so drastically. Then when new guy Jake turns up and wants to get to know Parker despite the fact she’s not perfect anymore she trys to push him away like everyone else but Jake doesn’t give up easily will Parker let someone in? and will we find out whats caused Perfect Parker Fadley to crumble?Well the main problems I had with this book was that I guessed roughly what happened from the start. The biggest problem though was Parker I found her extremely unlikable and her constant poor me what I did was so awful attitude didn’t make me sympathise with her at all especially because when you find out what happened its really not her fault I can understand why she would think it was but its like seriously girl this may come as a shock but its not all about you. I didn’t really like any of the characters all that much. That being said I didn’t hate this book it was a quick read being only 200 and something pages long and the writing was good and I liked the general idea. Before I read this I also brought Courtney’s second book Some girls are that I will still read and hopefully enjoy a bit more than her first novel, this gets a 3 stars from me.read more
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At first, Summer's novel felt like a poor reproduction of L.H. Anderson's "Speak." But, I kept reading, and it grew on me. Perhaps the overly graphic language was off-putting . . .I'm not sure. I'm not a prude, so probably not. The beginning felt, well, like a hook gone awry, shock for shocks sake. By the middle of the novel, however, I was hooked on the plot and couldn't wait to see how it all worked out. For a first novel, it is decent. I will probably take a look at her future work.read more
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Fabulousness abounds in this book about a high-schooler with a bevy of skeletons in her closet. Parker Fadley is the former popular “it” girl on campus. She’s dating the hunky jock, she’s got great BFF’s, and she’s just about as happy as any girl her age can be. That’s until she lives through a traumatic event that changes everything.What worked for me —Parker. She was bitchy and vulnerable and broken in ways that seem to lack the ability to be repaired. The glory in that is the journey she takes the reader on through her dysfunction and despair. She can’t find the goodness in herself only the bad and as a result her downfall from popular good girl to rebellious bad girl is epic in the eyes of her peers. Yet, as a reader I still loved her. In fact I loved her more for her faults than I ever would have if she remained the “perfect” girl she was before certain events transpired.The journey. Summers wrote a fantastic mystery which the reader is constantly left guessing about what truly happened to make Parker change so drastically. Sure, we knew it was bad, there wasn’t any question about that, but the question that we were always left with was “just how bad is it?”. If self loathing was any indication the events that transpired (which the reader does find out about at the very end of the story) were the bottom of the barrel.The realism. While I myself have not been in the situations that Parker found herself in throughout this novel I have to say it seemed pretty downright realistic to me. Her surly attitude and the rebellious way she acted reminded me of several people I went to high school with. The fact that it was all a mask to a larger problem only emphasized how true to form it all was. Parker pushed and pushed until there was practically nothing left to push away. Yet, even so, she was loved and cared for by those she kept at arms length.What didn’t work for me –Nothing. It all worked for me. Divine character development, excellent plot building, suspense, mystery, a touch of love here and there — it all wrapped up into a fabulously dynamic novel. A novel that, despite the darker undertones, didn’t leave me feeling hopeless or depressed. On the contrary I was hopeful and encouraged.Cracked Up To Be was not the easiest read in terms of the light and fluffy quotient but I assure you the ride is well worth it. Summers has won the Cybils Award for Young Adult literature for good reason.read more
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A dark and gritty novel that chronicles Parker as she struggles with the disappearance of her best friend, Cracked Up To Be is addicting and haunting. I finished it in one marathon sitting and it left me breathless.read more
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"When I finished Cracked Up to Be last Sunday I was at a loss for words. I still am. Most of the struggle I've been having with writing my review boiled down to not wanting to giveaway too much. It's essential that you don't know certain things about the book or it will change the way you read it entirely!"There is a reason this book recently won the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Fiction for 2009. It's a beautiful and dark book that deals with difficult topics. Also, Cracked Up to Be is a book that will have every parent questioning the friends their children chose, the activities they participate in and the types of relationships they have with them. You won't want to put it down, but at the same time you'll keep wishing things were going to go in a different direction."One of my favorite paragraphs in all of my reading, ever, happened in the opening chapter of the book (available for viewing here):Imagine four years.Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars–every day, a turf war–six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.High school."As for the writing and story...it's not one to be missed, as you can tell from the above paragraph (just perfect in my opinion). Courtney Summers makes 224 pages seem like 50 and this makes it next to impossible to want to put down. Her main character, Parker Fadley is anything but likable most of the time. Parker has annoying ticks, personality quirks, angry outbursts and numerous other issues that make you want to tell her to just "deal with it" most of the time. But there are these little moments Parker has, when you see that they experience of everything she has lived through (not just the "horrible thing", but even before that) has made her a different person. Parker just needs to get through what has happened."It's a brilliant book. Not for the feint of heart, but well worth the couple of hours you will spend reading it. There is a bit of bad language, but truthfully, who went to high school with out it? It's a book about life and the things that happen along the way that you can't change but have to get through some how. I highly recommend this book."read more
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Parker Fadley used to be perfect: cheerleading captain, honor roll, most popular boyfriend. Now, however, in her senior year of high school, she has none of those, and it’s all by her choice. She’s constantly getting in trouble, and has to meet with her guidance counselor once a week to discuss her “issues.”What happened to make Parker act this way? As Parker pushes away her old friends and struggles with her feelings for the new boy, Jake, she also grapples with her guilt over a terrible event that happened the year before.CRACKED UP TO BE is pretty much perfect. It’s a short but dense read that will keep you impatiently engrossed in Parker’s convoluted world, unable to tear yourself away until you find out what happened to make Parker deteriorate so much.Of course, it is Parker who carries the novel, Parker who makes me love this book. One of the most difficult things for a writer to do is to create characters who are not necessarily likable but still make readers empathize with them. Parker and all her friends are such characters. They are the most popular people at their high school—something I, along with most of us, have never experienced—but even so they are bitchy, emotional, hurt, in love, in lust, manipulative—in short, relatable, complex, and one hundred percent real.The novel is set up in a way that we don’t find out about what’s been eating at Parker until the very end, and the setup is wonderfully appropriate, for it allows us to focus on the character development while being intrigued by the backstory. I said that this book is pretty much perfect, and not just in the foundations, like the characters and the plot. Courtney Summers is also a writing master: she writes in an unassuming, straightforward prose that doesn’t beat around the bush. That’s the way Parker talks also; she gets straight to the point in wonderfully sarcastic lines.All in all…does this review even need a conclusion? Are you confused about how I feel about this novel? Run out and buy it right now!read more
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Part rebellious teen story, part crime novel, Cracked Up To Be is an interesting story. Something horrible has happened but the reader learn little details as Parker remembers what she doesn't want to remember. She goes from a slightly wild cheerleader to a brash, unhappy, sarcastic kid who is also very funny. The writing is taut and clever. But I couldn't enjoy the story, possibly because I've seen too many kids like this!read more
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Courtney Summers is a great author, I really enjoy her books. This won’t be my last book from her, and I do regret not buying Some Girls Are when I first saw it and instead getting a sequel book to a book that I don’t have. Which is a fail on my part. This book is about Parker Fadley. On a side note here, I actually didn’t realize that her name was Parker, thought people were calling her by her last name. So it made me wonder, ‘I wonder what her real name is.’ And then I realized. Parker is/was the most popular girl in school with the popular boyfriend, good grades and such. But something happens, which now becomes a secret she carries. And it might just be her fault.So her parents are keeping her on watch. The school is on watch. Suicide watch that is. And Parker pushes them away because she doesn’t want help. Not since it happened of course.Now Parker is probably a person in real life that I would detest very badly. But Summers’ awesome writing, and this was her debut novel by the way, made me root for her, want good things to happen to her. The plot was very good, some things I really liked, some things I was disappointed in and others I didn’t expect to happen. This reminded me of Speak at times actually. Now the thing I was disappointed in was one word: Romance. I’m not saying the romance is bad, I’m just saying that I didn’t like the romance thing. Meaning I wanted Chris to be with Parker because I just do. I’m not saying that Jake’s a bad person, he's a great character. I just wanted Chris to be with Parker. It's just my personal preference.The characters were nice. I didn’t like Becky as much as I wanted to. Jake was very interesting. Chris, no matter what things Parker will do to him- he’ll still love her and she knows it. Also about that secret thing, the only thing I can say is this. I won’t really tell you anything other then the fact that there was a party, beer, and the woods. I was surprised by what happened, I thought it was something else because there was a flashback of a hotel and I was reading a review about a hotel so to put it simply: I was confused.One more thing. The other thing I was disappointed in was quite minor. It doesn't really sway my feelings for this book. It was hotel scene and then Chris crying over her scene. It was a flashback, but I wanted it longer and written out for some reason. Again, it's my personal preference.The cover of the book is a good cover. I really like this one.read more
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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 its 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.read more
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Parker Fadley was perfect, she was on the honor roll and head cheerleader and then she changed drastically. She became the girl who showed up drunk at school, skipped class, and lost almost all her friends. Now, she is scaring her parents and trying to trick the school therapist to get what she wants. She and her parents adopt a dog to try to help Parker with her problems but she uses the dog as an excuse to leave the house. Parker has a secret that she can never forgive herself for. When a new kid moves into her neighborhood, he tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the perfect girl. This is the debut novel of Courtney Summers and it a very jarring tale that will hold the readers’ interest. The novel drags in the middle but then quickly speeds up toward the end. The twist will surprise teens and make them want more books from this new writerread more
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An awesome YA book! I couldn't put it down. Every time I thought I'd figured things out, something would happen to make me change my mind. The main character wasn't particularly likable, which is usually a great way to turn me off a book, but the deeper you delve into her motivations, the more you want to know. Great read!read more
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This is definitely not a light-hearted read, and perhaps that is why I did not fall too hard in love with it. After reading so many fun and fuzzy YA books, I was probably unprepared for the different change of pace in cracked up to be.The main character Parker is brutal, and quite frankly I don't think I could be friends with her. She scares me - to be fair, she scares the other characters as well! However, as the story progresses, I saw that her hard exterior masked a very broken interior. I could appreciate her obsession with perfection (being a haphazard perfectionist that I am) and how hard she is on herself.Courtney Summers does an amazing job with teasing us with bits and pieces of why Parker is trying to remove herself from everybody's lives. With each new piece of information - both useful yet still vague - I found myself with a new theory each time and a whole lot of second-guessing. When all the puzzle pieces fell into place, I cannot say that I had a OMG moment, but it definitely explains Parker's path to self-destruction a whole lot better.read more
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I can tell you that I read this book based on the cover alone. It just looked like something I would enjoy, and I started reading it without even knowing what it was actually about because I just didn't read the summary. This book surpassed my expectations of just being a book I hoped I would enjoy to being a book that I truly loved. Once I began reading, there was no stopping and I stayed up late last night just to finish it, knowing I would have to be up in less than 5 hours for work. Sometimes it's hard to put into words why a certain book interests you. It can be one particular item that draws you in, or it can be a number of things. Everything in this novel worked extremely well together. The characters seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces even though some were ex-boyfriends/girlfriends and others former friends. One thing I really loved was even though the characters swore, had sex and drank, it wasn't forced. It didn't feel like the author was just adding in those actions for shock factor. The characters were so well written that what they were doing throughout the novel was 100% believeable. The mystery behind the main characters actions stay hidden until the very end of the book. At first I was very anxious to know what occurred, but as I continued to read, the story filled up and there was enough other activity going on where I didn't have to pine over finding out what went down.Overall, Cracked up to Be is a wonderful novel, with spectacular writing and chracters, and just enough mystery to keep things interesting but not too much to drive you crazy. I am completely amazed that this was Summers debut novel and I look forward to reading more work by her.Recommend to all.read more
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I had been wanting to read this book for ages, ever since I saw the first advanced reviews. Now that I finished it it’s really hard to gauge how I feel about it. I can’t rave about it like most of the other reviews I’ve seen. I could not put it down but it was almost in a morbid sense like not being able to watch a train wreck. In fact, watching Parker was like watching a train wreck. She was on a self destructive streak that while she was not the most like-able of characters you had to feel sorry for her. It was amazing to watch the support she was getting, especially from her ex-boyfriend and the new guy, Jake.Just as a warning Summers will leaving you guessing until almost the very end trying to figure out what drove Parker over the edge. I was a little confused at first because Summers would drop these tantalizing hints along the way until the final completion of events that lead Parker to her current state. This book did make me think about how hard parents and society in general pushes kids these days. First, it was you had to go to kindergarten and then pre-K and now it’s the “right” educational day cares. Then there are all the music, dance, swimming, etc. classes. You have to wonder how many of these kids will grow up to be like Parker and feel the constant pressure to be the perfect student.read more
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Cracked Up to Be provided a change of pace for my reading habits. I believe I bought this on a whim when the ebook was on sale. As I read through the first chapter, many theories about what may have happened to Parker and her friends danced through my head. Summers provides glimpes into what happened through pieces of flashbacks which seem to occur when Parker experiences some sort of panic attack. I enjoyed how this part of the story flowed. The main plot left me desiring more from some of the characters, and sometimes I really hated Parker since I'm not a mean spirited person myself. I understood that Parker really needed some help. Thakfully, it seems that she will finally receive that help. This is definitely more for high school YA readers. :)read more
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Parker Fadley did something horrible that no one must ever find out about. When she goes from Ms. Perfect to Most Likely To Kill Herself Before Graduation, everyone is wary... what happened?I have to say, I love this book. Was horrified when it came to an end, at which point I sat with fingers crossed because... only God knows what the end would be. Courtney is extremely talented and I cannot wait to read whatever she puts out next!read more
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I really enjoyed this book. The subject was serious, but the main character was hilarious and really kept you reading. Someone else said the book reminded them of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I agree to a point. Somewhat similar plot, but this book is more of a fun read. Parker took a bad situation and turned it outward, sassing everyone in sight while Melinda from Speak turned it inward, making it a much darker novel. Anyways, both great books!read more
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In the tradition of Speak, Cracked Up to Be is one of those books where the reason for the main character's damaged-ness is slowly revealed over the course of the book. It keeps you reading, as do the characters, whose voices and traits ring true throughout. I especially like the depiction of Parker's anxiety disorder, and the way it was revealed in little things--her habit of snapping her fingers, for example. It was shown, rather than told. I did a booklist of YA books about characters with anxiety disorders awhile back, and this book would fit in perfectly. I thought the ending was a little rushed. I wish the author had taken more time to show Parker's decision to stop self-destructing. I feel like too often these "problem novels" take too much time with the problem, and not enough time showing what the process of recovery is like. Speak succeeds in this regard because we see that Melinda, the main character, is slowly recovering throughout the book, even though she's still dealing with depression. By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead follows a similar arc. Parker, on the other hand, keeps going into self-destructive cycles, and the book doesn't show much of a healing process. She's suicidal and pushing people away for most of the book and then suddenly, she's not. --SPOILER-- Also: Dammit, why do dogs in books always have to die? The dog in this book would have been a good way to show Parker opening up and trusting and learning that she is deserving of love, and it does for a while, but then it dies, which seems to reverse all the progress she made. I feel like a dog death is a really cheap way to tug peoples' heartstrings and I don't feel it added much to the story here. But maybe, as a dog lover, I'm just bitter because I never want dogs to die ever. (I think I would have liked it more if Bailey had died of natural causes. He was 10, after all. Having him die in a car crash is just... mean.) --END SPOILER-- Despite all that, though, I did like this book quite a bit. It had humor and snark and a scathing portrait of high school, all things I like in a YA novel. And it made me cry, and not just because of the SPOILER above. I'm excited to read the author's next novel, Some Girls Are. P.S. Does anyone else think the "Think outside the tree!" line in art class was a sly nod to Speak? It cracked me up.read more
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I read this really quickly, easily getting into the character and her story, but it really fell apart in the end.Parker is a former perfect kid: honor roll, cheerleader captain, most popular, girlfriend to most popular boy. But now it's senior year and Parker's in danger of failing thanks to no homework, missing days, alienating everyone she knows and coming to school drunk. When new kid Jake shows an interest in Parker, she finds herself drawn to him, despite her conviction that nothing good happens to those around her. She keeps trying to push him away (by mean, snide, rude and usually hilarious comments made to everyone - this part of Parker is, strangely, what makes her likable for me), but she can't keep herself from remembering the night that's gotten her to this desperate point in her life.The big reveal - the thing that's hung over Parker's head for months and made her wish she were dead - is...a let down. While it is devastating, the way the writer handles it is ridiculous. Parker's revelation of what she's been hiding is treated as catharsis instead of as the opening of a police investigation as it should be, which meant I ended the book with a very frustrated "WTF?!"Up til that point, though, I was intrigue and felt sympathy (and some admiration) for Parker. Crap ending, though...read more
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Parker Fadley is irritating, completely and utterly her own worst enemy in every possible way, and yet for some reason I absolutely loved her. I wanted to smack her a lot, but I loved her. I think it takes a lot of effort to make a character as imperfect as Parker and turn her into someone that readers can still connect to and care about. In high school I never faced any of the problems that Parker did, and somehow I can still connect to what she’s feeling, and that is something to me that is just amazing. It wasn’t just Parker either, I loved all of the characters, even Becky, and I felt bad for all of them – for their individual secrets, who their hearts were with, and what they were willing or not willing to settle for.It’s not really a secret that I don’t read very much contemporary fiction, YA or not, and that’s usually because it either ends up bad, too happy (yes, there is a such thing), or just leaves you hanging. With Cracked Up To Be we’re left hanging just a little but not so much that I want to fly into a rage, it ties up all the loose ends nicely. Personally, I think I just have a thing for series’. I wish I knew what happened to Parker after the book ends, I wish I knew how she ended up with her boy-issues, but life is unpredictable for the most part so it’s fitting that you’re kind of left wondering and hoping for Parker to pull through.The only thing that deterred me from absolutely loving Cracked Up To Be was the transition from when Parker was by herself to when she was with someone, or thinking about past events. For the most part the flashbacks are very easy to know because they’re all in italics. Sometimes though someone would start talking to Parker, or they’d sneak into the scene and I would be completely oblivious to them until they’re said to be doing something and all I can think of is ‘Wait, where did they come from?’ – and be forced to go back and see what I missed. And a few times, there was nothing, the other character just wasn’t properly introduced into the scene in a way that said HEY HERE I AM!Overall though I really really did love Cracked Up To Be, it highly restored my faith in contemporary fiction. Courtney – despite some scenes running together – really knows how to tell a captivating story and I cannot wait for more by her!read more
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Head Cheerleader. Prom Queen. Honor Roll student. That was Parker Fadley last year.Loner. Problem student. Suicide risk. That's Parker Fadley this year. Parker has gone from being a perfect student, to being a perfect nightmare. Her parents are distressed. Her teachers are impatient. And her friends don't even know who she is any more. Parker experienced something that changed her completely, and now she just wants to disappear. This novel is gripping and painful, but ultimately hopeful. Readers will be pulled in to the story, despite the unlikeable protagonist they may find in Parker. Her almost inexplicable behavior, coupled with her tough, sarcastic attitude, holds the attention from the first page to the end of the story.read more
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Perfectionist Parker Fadley has a plan. Step one, alienate her friends. Step two, make her teachers wish she doesn't exist. Step three, find her ex-boyfriend a replacement girlfriend. Step four, get her parents to adopt a dog, providing them with a surrogate child they can fuss over. Step five, disappear - permanently. Emotionally traumatized by an event that only gradually comes to light, Parker's response is to reject everything she's done and been and re-invent herself as the girl no one should want to be or be like. Lying to her therapist, her parents, her friends, and even herself almost works. But bold, brash, and obnoxious as she is, Parker has enough redeeming qualities that her friends - and even her enemies - don't give up on her.I'm sick to death of "realistic" young adult books that deal with topics like abortion, alcoholism, suicide and abuse, and which inevitably culminate in misery, gloom and defeat - this was a refreshing change. Although the language is rough, and the situations are raw - drinking, sex, alcohol and attempted suicide all figure prominently in the storyline - Parker is very real, and her story is griping. If the storyline is a bit predictable, the fact that the ending is hopeful is a huge plus. Aside from a few minor typos and a missing word or two that will hopefully be caught before publication, I enjoyed it.read more
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My girlfriend received this book through the Early Reviewers Program here on Librarything. I tried to get a copy but failed. But in back sight maybe it was best for just one in our home because others should be able to read and review. I started it last week and could not put it down until I finished it and was lazy until now getting a review written up.Cracked Up To Be opens with the best YA book Chapter One I have ventured into since Little Brother and also as with that book, which I really enjoyed, C.U.T.B. captured me with persons within the pages who I could invest into. Something writers such as Stephenie Meyer and Mr. Paolini could learn a thing or two from.I recommend this book based on a few factors. After reading the first three chapters I hated Parker Fadley but keep reading, I was interested in Parker Fadley and wanted to keep reading, I was attracted to Parker Fadley but ignored my insanity, and before I noticed it I was distracted by the crafting of the story that was taking place, living along, and not thinking about "the horrible thing that happen." This book is not a YA "issue" book as there are so many of those. Cracked Up To Be is a story with people and life that is lived within its pages and the only element it hinges on is being a good story, which it is.C.read more
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I don't know if this would have been a book that I would have picked up on my own. I bought it because of all the great ratings and reviews. I wanted to love it I really did but...it just didn't work out that way.The writing was superb. I had no problems with that. Courtney Summers is very talented. To enjoy this book fully you had to sympathize with the main character, Parker. I found it very hard to sympathize with her. Almost impossible. She pushes everyone away and then gets upset that she has no one. She is mean to everyone and she acts pretty disturbed throughout the entire book. Which I understand is the point but I just could not like her. I tried! And I kept asking myself through the book, "Why is no one sending this girl to a shrink?!"The plot moves along swiftly. You get Parker's back story in small snippets and flashbacks. The whole story doesn't come out until the very end of the book and then every positive feeling I had about Parker went out the window. I'm not going to spoil anything. Just read the book.Overall, I really didn't know how I felt about this book. Like I said Summers is a very talented author but I could not rate the book too high because I didn't like Parker. I think everyone should still give this book a chance. Don't let my review change your mind. Most people love it. I just have mixed feelings.read more
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Parker used to be a golden girl, popular, smart and en route to perfection. But then something snapped, something broke between junior and senior years of high school and now her snark isn't working towards a greater life, it is just working to piss people off. After a failed suicide attempt, Parker breaks up with her football boyfriend and embraces an image of badass with nothing to lose. A new boy threatens this image and challenges her to see beyond the tough shell and come to terms with that led her astray.Fans of this book should really read Like The Red Panda by Andrea Siegel, the female leads are too similar not to mention. If the two met in real life, they would trade insults for the first 5 minutes and trade shots of vodka for the next hour. But unlike the Red Panda protagonist, Parker is not sympathetic. She is frustrating and even in the end, when her twist is finally verbalized, I wanted to shake her through the pages. I think it is unfortunate that very important, heart breakingly honest depictions of true teen angst and experience are brushed over too quickly to absorb. There are better books that embrace these themes, this is an additional read at best.read more
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Cracked up to be is one of those YA novels you can read in one sitting because it just sucks you right in. Although the style is complex, with flashbacks bringing the reader back and forth in time, teenagers will want to know the story and stick with it. Parker is a well-drawn main character and her experiences will speak to high school girls.
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Parker is the perfect cheerleader, daughter and student. Then something bad happens that makes her stray away from that. I really enjoyed reading this book. I had to finish it to see what made Parker change so much. I loved the way that she talked to people. I liked how she purposely went out of her way to say whatever she was feeling. I was left guessing until the very end. The book did not end the way I expected and I liked that.
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When taking on how to write a story there are authors that show you the characters and those that tell you about them. This book definitely shows you, which made it all more real in a sense. I could picture this book like a movie playing in my head. See the characters for who they were, hear their voices, and all those other great things we as readers love. Out of the all the characters in the book I warm up to Parker easily...who really isn't exactly a warming character at first. Might be the sarcastic wit she holds that sucked me in. But she's got a secret and a major problem - only if everyone would just leave her the hell alone, she might finally be okay...or so she thinks.The fact is that no matter how much Parker tries to shove everyone away, they're still there. Even though Parker is...ahem sometimes....they all still care, which made me care. Immediately I had to know why and what happened to make her like this.The mystery behind this story is fantastic. There are little hints here and there, but not enough for me to really guess what it was. You will be hooked from the first chapter and unable to put it down. Unless you realize you have to be at work in four hours and have no clue what you just read in the last five pages because you're so tired. Then after you get off of work, you go straight home, hyped up on caffeine, and pick this book back up to finish it. Only to get to the end and realize how much it was worth it.I love reading debut novels and Courtney Summers has swept me away. I cannot wait to read more from her! Oh and my only complaint is that the story ended. So to answer my own question in the first part of this review: Yes, it's THAT good!
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The abrasive main character, Parker, turned me off at the beginning, but as her situtation unfolded I felt more and more for her. I thought I had it figured out in the first chapter or two, but it turned out I was wrong (in fact, one of the other characters asked her if it was ____, which I thought was a nice touch, acknowledging the cliche). I liked the way this unfolded and the complexity of the characters. All in all it was a very good read.
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I'm a high school librarian, so I read a lot of YA novels, good ones and sometimes some not-so-good ones.Courtney Summers' "Cracked Up To Be" falls into the category of a good YA novel. High school senior Parker Fadley, the book's no-longer-perfect main character, is wrestling with some major demons and she'd be the first to admit that she's a total bitch much of the time, but I couldn't help A) rooting for her and B) devouring the book in just a couple sittings to find out what dark secret has made her set out to systematically destroy her life.I will definitely be reading Summers' next book.
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This book has mainly pretty good reviews. I also really loved the sound of the book so its been on my wish list for a while so when it finally came in stock on Amazon I brought it right away, but I have to say I was a little disappointed.Parker Fadley is one of those girls who has it all. She’s cheerleading captain, has a gorgeous boyfriend and has perfect grades. In fact perfect could be Parkers middle name. So when Parker starts turning up to school drunk, breaks up with her boyfriend, quits the cheerleading squad and generally trys to isolate herself from everyone people don’t understand whats made Parker fall from grace so drastically. Then when new guy Jake turns up and wants to get to know Parker despite the fact she’s not perfect anymore she trys to push him away like everyone else but Jake doesn’t give up easily will Parker let someone in? and will we find out whats caused Perfect Parker Fadley to crumble?Well the main problems I had with this book was that I guessed roughly what happened from the start. The biggest problem though was Parker I found her extremely unlikable and her constant poor me what I did was so awful attitude didn’t make me sympathise with her at all especially because when you find out what happened its really not her fault I can understand why she would think it was but its like seriously girl this may come as a shock but its not all about you. I didn’t really like any of the characters all that much. That being said I didn’t hate this book it was a quick read being only 200 and something pages long and the writing was good and I liked the general idea. Before I read this I also brought Courtney’s second book Some girls are that I will still read and hopefully enjoy a bit more than her first novel, this gets a 3 stars from me.
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At first, Summer's novel felt like a poor reproduction of L.H. Anderson's "Speak." But, I kept reading, and it grew on me. Perhaps the overly graphic language was off-putting . . .I'm not sure. I'm not a prude, so probably not. The beginning felt, well, like a hook gone awry, shock for shocks sake. By the middle of the novel, however, I was hooked on the plot and couldn't wait to see how it all worked out. For a first novel, it is decent. I will probably take a look at her future work.
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Fabulousness abounds in this book about a high-schooler with a bevy of skeletons in her closet. Parker Fadley is the former popular “it” girl on campus. She’s dating the hunky jock, she’s got great BFF’s, and she’s just about as happy as any girl her age can be. That’s until she lives through a traumatic event that changes everything.What worked for me —Parker. She was bitchy and vulnerable and broken in ways that seem to lack the ability to be repaired. The glory in that is the journey she takes the reader on through her dysfunction and despair. She can’t find the goodness in herself only the bad and as a result her downfall from popular good girl to rebellious bad girl is epic in the eyes of her peers. Yet, as a reader I still loved her. In fact I loved her more for her faults than I ever would have if she remained the “perfect” girl she was before certain events transpired.The journey. Summers wrote a fantastic mystery which the reader is constantly left guessing about what truly happened to make Parker change so drastically. Sure, we knew it was bad, there wasn’t any question about that, but the question that we were always left with was “just how bad is it?”. If self loathing was any indication the events that transpired (which the reader does find out about at the very end of the story) were the bottom of the barrel.The realism. While I myself have not been in the situations that Parker found herself in throughout this novel I have to say it seemed pretty downright realistic to me. Her surly attitude and the rebellious way she acted reminded me of several people I went to high school with. The fact that it was all a mask to a larger problem only emphasized how true to form it all was. Parker pushed and pushed until there was practically nothing left to push away. Yet, even so, she was loved and cared for by those she kept at arms length.What didn’t work for me –Nothing. It all worked for me. Divine character development, excellent plot building, suspense, mystery, a touch of love here and there — it all wrapped up into a fabulously dynamic novel. A novel that, despite the darker undertones, didn’t leave me feeling hopeless or depressed. On the contrary I was hopeful and encouraged.Cracked Up To Be was not the easiest read in terms of the light and fluffy quotient but I assure you the ride is well worth it. Summers has won the Cybils Award for Young Adult literature for good reason.
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A dark and gritty novel that chronicles Parker as she struggles with the disappearance of her best friend, Cracked Up To Be is addicting and haunting. I finished it in one marathon sitting and it left me breathless.
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"When I finished Cracked Up to Be last Sunday I was at a loss for words. I still am. Most of the struggle I've been having with writing my review boiled down to not wanting to giveaway too much. It's essential that you don't know certain things about the book or it will change the way you read it entirely!"There is a reason this book recently won the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Fiction for 2009. It's a beautiful and dark book that deals with difficult topics. Also, Cracked Up to Be is a book that will have every parent questioning the friends their children chose, the activities they participate in and the types of relationships they have with them. You won't want to put it down, but at the same time you'll keep wishing things were going to go in a different direction."One of my favorite paragraphs in all of my reading, ever, happened in the opening chapter of the book (available for viewing here):Imagine four years.Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars–every day, a turf war–six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.High school."As for the writing and story...it's not one to be missed, as you can tell from the above paragraph (just perfect in my opinion). Courtney Summers makes 224 pages seem like 50 and this makes it next to impossible to want to put down. Her main character, Parker Fadley is anything but likable most of the time. Parker has annoying ticks, personality quirks, angry outbursts and numerous other issues that make you want to tell her to just "deal with it" most of the time. But there are these little moments Parker has, when you see that they experience of everything she has lived through (not just the "horrible thing", but even before that) has made her a different person. Parker just needs to get through what has happened."It's a brilliant book. Not for the feint of heart, but well worth the couple of hours you will spend reading it. There is a bit of bad language, but truthfully, who went to high school with out it? It's a book about life and the things that happen along the way that you can't change but have to get through some how. I highly recommend this book."
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Parker Fadley used to be perfect: cheerleading captain, honor roll, most popular boyfriend. Now, however, in her senior year of high school, she has none of those, and it’s all by her choice. She’s constantly getting in trouble, and has to meet with her guidance counselor once a week to discuss her “issues.”What happened to make Parker act this way? As Parker pushes away her old friends and struggles with her feelings for the new boy, Jake, she also grapples with her guilt over a terrible event that happened the year before.CRACKED UP TO BE is pretty much perfect. It’s a short but dense read that will keep you impatiently engrossed in Parker’s convoluted world, unable to tear yourself away until you find out what happened to make Parker deteriorate so much.Of course, it is Parker who carries the novel, Parker who makes me love this book. One of the most difficult things for a writer to do is to create characters who are not necessarily likable but still make readers empathize with them. Parker and all her friends are such characters. They are the most popular people at their high school—something I, along with most of us, have never experienced—but even so they are bitchy, emotional, hurt, in love, in lust, manipulative—in short, relatable, complex, and one hundred percent real.The novel is set up in a way that we don’t find out about what’s been eating at Parker until the very end, and the setup is wonderfully appropriate, for it allows us to focus on the character development while being intrigued by the backstory. I said that this book is pretty much perfect, and not just in the foundations, like the characters and the plot. Courtney Summers is also a writing master: she writes in an unassuming, straightforward prose that doesn’t beat around the bush. That’s the way Parker talks also; she gets straight to the point in wonderfully sarcastic lines.All in all…does this review even need a conclusion? Are you confused about how I feel about this novel? Run out and buy it right now!
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Part rebellious teen story, part crime novel, Cracked Up To Be is an interesting story. Something horrible has happened but the reader learn little details as Parker remembers what she doesn't want to remember. She goes from a slightly wild cheerleader to a brash, unhappy, sarcastic kid who is also very funny. The writing is taut and clever. But I couldn't enjoy the story, possibly because I've seen too many kids like this!
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Courtney Summers is a great author, I really enjoy her books. This won’t be my last book from her, and I do regret not buying Some Girls Are when I first saw it and instead getting a sequel book to a book that I don’t have. Which is a fail on my part. This book is about Parker Fadley. On a side note here, I actually didn’t realize that her name was Parker, thought people were calling her by her last name. So it made me wonder, ‘I wonder what her real name is.’ And then I realized. Parker is/was the most popular girl in school with the popular boyfriend, good grades and such. But something happens, which now becomes a secret she carries. And it might just be her fault.So her parents are keeping her on watch. The school is on watch. Suicide watch that is. And Parker pushes them away because she doesn’t want help. Not since it happened of course.Now Parker is probably a person in real life that I would detest very badly. But Summers’ awesome writing, and this was her debut novel by the way, made me root for her, want good things to happen to her. The plot was very good, some things I really liked, some things I was disappointed in and others I didn’t expect to happen. This reminded me of Speak at times actually. Now the thing I was disappointed in was one word: Romance. I’m not saying the romance is bad, I’m just saying that I didn’t like the romance thing. Meaning I wanted Chris to be with Parker because I just do. I’m not saying that Jake’s a bad person, he's a great character. I just wanted Chris to be with Parker. It's just my personal preference.The characters were nice. I didn’t like Becky as much as I wanted to. Jake was very interesting. Chris, no matter what things Parker will do to him- he’ll still love her and she knows it. Also about that secret thing, the only thing I can say is this. I won’t really tell you anything other then the fact that there was a party, beer, and the woods. I was surprised by what happened, I thought it was something else because there was a flashback of a hotel and I was reading a review about a hotel so to put it simply: I was confused.One more thing. The other thing I was disappointed in was quite minor. It doesn't really sway my feelings for this book. It was hotel scene and then Chris crying over her scene. It was a flashback, but I wanted it longer and written out for some reason. Again, it's my personal preference.The cover of the book is a good cover. I really like this one.
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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 its 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.
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Parker Fadley was perfect, she was on the honor roll and head cheerleader and then she changed drastically. She became the girl who showed up drunk at school, skipped class, and lost almost all her friends. Now, she is scaring her parents and trying to trick the school therapist to get what she wants. She and her parents adopt a dog to try to help Parker with her problems but she uses the dog as an excuse to leave the house. Parker has a secret that she can never forgive herself for. When a new kid moves into her neighborhood, he tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the perfect girl. This is the debut novel of Courtney Summers and it a very jarring tale that will hold the readers’ interest. The novel drags in the middle but then quickly speeds up toward the end. The twist will surprise teens and make them want more books from this new writer
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An awesome YA book! I couldn't put it down. Every time I thought I'd figured things out, something would happen to make me change my mind. The main character wasn't particularly likable, which is usually a great way to turn me off a book, but the deeper you delve into her motivations, the more you want to know. Great read!
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This is definitely not a light-hearted read, and perhaps that is why I did not fall too hard in love with it. After reading so many fun and fuzzy YA books, I was probably unprepared for the different change of pace in cracked up to be.The main character Parker is brutal, and quite frankly I don't think I could be friends with her. She scares me - to be fair, she scares the other characters as well! However, as the story progresses, I saw that her hard exterior masked a very broken interior. I could appreciate her obsession with perfection (being a haphazard perfectionist that I am) and how hard she is on herself.Courtney Summers does an amazing job with teasing us with bits and pieces of why Parker is trying to remove herself from everybody's lives. With each new piece of information - both useful yet still vague - I found myself with a new theory each time and a whole lot of second-guessing. When all the puzzle pieces fell into place, I cannot say that I had a OMG moment, but it definitely explains Parker's path to self-destruction a whole lot better.
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I can tell you that I read this book based on the cover alone. It just looked like something I would enjoy, and I started reading it without even knowing what it was actually about because I just didn't read the summary. This book surpassed my expectations of just being a book I hoped I would enjoy to being a book that I truly loved. Once I began reading, there was no stopping and I stayed up late last night just to finish it, knowing I would have to be up in less than 5 hours for work. Sometimes it's hard to put into words why a certain book interests you. It can be one particular item that draws you in, or it can be a number of things. Everything in this novel worked extremely well together. The characters seemed to fit together like puzzle pieces even though some were ex-boyfriends/girlfriends and others former friends. One thing I really loved was even though the characters swore, had sex and drank, it wasn't forced. It didn't feel like the author was just adding in those actions for shock factor. The characters were so well written that what they were doing throughout the novel was 100% believeable. The mystery behind the main characters actions stay hidden until the very end of the book. At first I was very anxious to know what occurred, but as I continued to read, the story filled up and there was enough other activity going on where I didn't have to pine over finding out what went down.Overall, Cracked up to Be is a wonderful novel, with spectacular writing and chracters, and just enough mystery to keep things interesting but not too much to drive you crazy. I am completely amazed that this was Summers debut novel and I look forward to reading more work by her.Recommend to all.
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I had been wanting to read this book for ages, ever since I saw the first advanced reviews. Now that I finished it it’s really hard to gauge how I feel about it. I can’t rave about it like most of the other reviews I’ve seen. I could not put it down but it was almost in a morbid sense like not being able to watch a train wreck. In fact, watching Parker was like watching a train wreck. She was on a self destructive streak that while she was not the most like-able of characters you had to feel sorry for her. It was amazing to watch the support she was getting, especially from her ex-boyfriend and the new guy, Jake.Just as a warning Summers will leaving you guessing until almost the very end trying to figure out what drove Parker over the edge. I was a little confused at first because Summers would drop these tantalizing hints along the way until the final completion of events that lead Parker to her current state. This book did make me think about how hard parents and society in general pushes kids these days. First, it was you had to go to kindergarten and then pre-K and now it’s the “right” educational day cares. Then there are all the music, dance, swimming, etc. classes. You have to wonder how many of these kids will grow up to be like Parker and feel the constant pressure to be the perfect student.
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Cracked Up to Be provided a change of pace for my reading habits. I believe I bought this on a whim when the ebook was on sale. As I read through the first chapter, many theories about what may have happened to Parker and her friends danced through my head. Summers provides glimpes into what happened through pieces of flashbacks which seem to occur when Parker experiences some sort of panic attack. I enjoyed how this part of the story flowed. The main plot left me desiring more from some of the characters, and sometimes I really hated Parker since I'm not a mean spirited person myself. I understood that Parker really needed some help. Thakfully, it seems that she will finally receive that help. This is definitely more for high school YA readers. :)
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Parker Fadley did something horrible that no one must ever find out about. When she goes from Ms. Perfect to Most Likely To Kill Herself Before Graduation, everyone is wary... what happened?I have to say, I love this book. Was horrified when it came to an end, at which point I sat with fingers crossed because... only God knows what the end would be. Courtney is extremely talented and I cannot wait to read whatever she puts out next!
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I really enjoyed this book. The subject was serious, but the main character was hilarious and really kept you reading. Someone else said the book reminded them of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and I agree to a point. Somewhat similar plot, but this book is more of a fun read. Parker took a bad situation and turned it outward, sassing everyone in sight while Melinda from Speak turned it inward, making it a much darker novel. Anyways, both great books!
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In the tradition of Speak, Cracked Up to Be is one of those books where the reason for the main character's damaged-ness is slowly revealed over the course of the book. It keeps you reading, as do the characters, whose voices and traits ring true throughout. I especially like the depiction of Parker's anxiety disorder, and the way it was revealed in little things--her habit of snapping her fingers, for example. It was shown, rather than told. I did a booklist of YA books about characters with anxiety disorders awhile back, and this book would fit in perfectly. I thought the ending was a little rushed. I wish the author had taken more time to show Parker's decision to stop self-destructing. I feel like too often these "problem novels" take too much time with the problem, and not enough time showing what the process of recovery is like. Speak succeeds in this regard because we see that Melinda, the main character, is slowly recovering throughout the book, even though she's still dealing with depression. By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead follows a similar arc. Parker, on the other hand, keeps going into self-destructive cycles, and the book doesn't show much of a healing process. She's suicidal and pushing people away for most of the book and then suddenly, she's not. --SPOILER-- Also: Dammit, why do dogs in books always have to die? The dog in this book would have been a good way to show Parker opening up and trusting and learning that she is deserving of love, and it does for a while, but then it dies, which seems to reverse all the progress she made. I feel like a dog death is a really cheap way to tug peoples' heartstrings and I don't feel it added much to the story here. But maybe, as a dog lover, I'm just bitter because I never want dogs to die ever. (I think I would have liked it more if Bailey had died of natural causes. He was 10, after all. Having him die in a car crash is just... mean.) --END SPOILER-- Despite all that, though, I did like this book quite a bit. It had humor and snark and a scathing portrait of high school, all things I like in a YA novel. And it made me cry, and not just because of the SPOILER above. I'm excited to read the author's next novel, Some Girls Are. P.S. Does anyone else think the "Think outside the tree!" line in art class was a sly nod to Speak? It cracked me up.
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I read this really quickly, easily getting into the character and her story, but it really fell apart in the end.Parker is a former perfect kid: honor roll, cheerleader captain, most popular, girlfriend to most popular boy. But now it's senior year and Parker's in danger of failing thanks to no homework, missing days, alienating everyone she knows and coming to school drunk. When new kid Jake shows an interest in Parker, she finds herself drawn to him, despite her conviction that nothing good happens to those around her. She keeps trying to push him away (by mean, snide, rude and usually hilarious comments made to everyone - this part of Parker is, strangely, what makes her likable for me), but she can't keep herself from remembering the night that's gotten her to this desperate point in her life.The big reveal - the thing that's hung over Parker's head for months and made her wish she were dead - is...a let down. While it is devastating, the way the writer handles it is ridiculous. Parker's revelation of what she's been hiding is treated as catharsis instead of as the opening of a police investigation as it should be, which meant I ended the book with a very frustrated "WTF?!"Up til that point, though, I was intrigue and felt sympathy (and some admiration) for Parker. Crap ending, though...
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Parker Fadley is irritating, completely and utterly her own worst enemy in every possible way, and yet for some reason I absolutely loved her. I wanted to smack her a lot, but I loved her. I think it takes a lot of effort to make a character as imperfect as Parker and turn her into someone that readers can still connect to and care about. In high school I never faced any of the problems that Parker did, and somehow I can still connect to what she’s feeling, and that is something to me that is just amazing. It wasn’t just Parker either, I loved all of the characters, even Becky, and I felt bad for all of them – for their individual secrets, who their hearts were with, and what they were willing or not willing to settle for.It’s not really a secret that I don’t read very much contemporary fiction, YA or not, and that’s usually because it either ends up bad, too happy (yes, there is a such thing), or just leaves you hanging. With Cracked Up To Be we’re left hanging just a little but not so much that I want to fly into a rage, it ties up all the loose ends nicely. Personally, I think I just have a thing for series’. I wish I knew what happened to Parker after the book ends, I wish I knew how she ended up with her boy-issues, but life is unpredictable for the most part so it’s fitting that you’re kind of left wondering and hoping for Parker to pull through.The only thing that deterred me from absolutely loving Cracked Up To Be was the transition from when Parker was by herself to when she was with someone, or thinking about past events. For the most part the flashbacks are very easy to know because they’re all in italics. Sometimes though someone would start talking to Parker, or they’d sneak into the scene and I would be completely oblivious to them until they’re said to be doing something and all I can think of is ‘Wait, where did they come from?’ – and be forced to go back and see what I missed. And a few times, there was nothing, the other character just wasn’t properly introduced into the scene in a way that said HEY HERE I AM!Overall though I really really did love Cracked Up To Be, it highly restored my faith in contemporary fiction. Courtney – despite some scenes running together – really knows how to tell a captivating story and I cannot wait for more by her!
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Head Cheerleader. Prom Queen. Honor Roll student. That was Parker Fadley last year.Loner. Problem student. Suicide risk. That's Parker Fadley this year. Parker has gone from being a perfect student, to being a perfect nightmare. Her parents are distressed. Her teachers are impatient. And her friends don't even know who she is any more. Parker experienced something that changed her completely, and now she just wants to disappear. This novel is gripping and painful, but ultimately hopeful. Readers will be pulled in to the story, despite the unlikeable protagonist they may find in Parker. Her almost inexplicable behavior, coupled with her tough, sarcastic attitude, holds the attention from the first page to the end of the story.
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Perfectionist Parker Fadley has a plan. Step one, alienate her friends. Step two, make her teachers wish she doesn't exist. Step three, find her ex-boyfriend a replacement girlfriend. Step four, get her parents to adopt a dog, providing them with a surrogate child they can fuss over. Step five, disappear - permanently. Emotionally traumatized by an event that only gradually comes to light, Parker's response is to reject everything she's done and been and re-invent herself as the girl no one should want to be or be like. Lying to her therapist, her parents, her friends, and even herself almost works. But bold, brash, and obnoxious as she is, Parker has enough redeeming qualities that her friends - and even her enemies - don't give up on her.I'm sick to death of "realistic" young adult books that deal with topics like abortion, alcoholism, suicide and abuse, and which inevitably culminate in misery, gloom and defeat - this was a refreshing change. Although the language is rough, and the situations are raw - drinking, sex, alcohol and attempted suicide all figure prominently in the storyline - Parker is very real, and her story is griping. If the storyline is a bit predictable, the fact that the ending is hopeful is a huge plus. Aside from a few minor typos and a missing word or two that will hopefully be caught before publication, I enjoyed it.
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My girlfriend received this book through the Early Reviewers Program here on Librarything. I tried to get a copy but failed. But in back sight maybe it was best for just one in our home because others should be able to read and review. I started it last week and could not put it down until I finished it and was lazy until now getting a review written up.Cracked Up To Be opens with the best YA book Chapter One I have ventured into since Little Brother and also as with that book, which I really enjoyed, C.U.T.B. captured me with persons within the pages who I could invest into. Something writers such as Stephenie Meyer and Mr. Paolini could learn a thing or two from.I recommend this book based on a few factors. After reading the first three chapters I hated Parker Fadley but keep reading, I was interested in Parker Fadley and wanted to keep reading, I was attracted to Parker Fadley but ignored my insanity, and before I noticed it I was distracted by the crafting of the story that was taking place, living along, and not thinking about "the horrible thing that happen." This book is not a YA "issue" book as there are so many of those. Cracked Up To Be is a story with people and life that is lived within its pages and the only element it hinges on is being a good story, which it is.C.
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I don't know if this would have been a book that I would have picked up on my own. I bought it because of all the great ratings and reviews. I wanted to love it I really did but...it just didn't work out that way.The writing was superb. I had no problems with that. Courtney Summers is very talented. To enjoy this book fully you had to sympathize with the main character, Parker. I found it very hard to sympathize with her. Almost impossible. She pushes everyone away and then gets upset that she has no one. She is mean to everyone and she acts pretty disturbed throughout the entire book. Which I understand is the point but I just could not like her. I tried! And I kept asking myself through the book, "Why is no one sending this girl to a shrink?!"The plot moves along swiftly. You get Parker's back story in small snippets and flashbacks. The whole story doesn't come out until the very end of the book and then every positive feeling I had about Parker went out the window. I'm not going to spoil anything. Just read the book.Overall, I really didn't know how I felt about this book. Like I said Summers is a very talented author but I could not rate the book too high because I didn't like Parker. I think everyone should still give this book a chance. Don't let my review change your mind. Most people love it. I just have mixed feelings.
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Parker used to be a golden girl, popular, smart and en route to perfection. But then something snapped, something broke between junior and senior years of high school and now her snark isn't working towards a greater life, it is just working to piss people off. After a failed suicide attempt, Parker breaks up with her football boyfriend and embraces an image of badass with nothing to lose. A new boy threatens this image and challenges her to see beyond the tough shell and come to terms with that led her astray.Fans of this book should really read Like The Red Panda by Andrea Siegel, the female leads are too similar not to mention. If the two met in real life, they would trade insults for the first 5 minutes and trade shots of vodka for the next hour. But unlike the Red Panda protagonist, Parker is not sympathetic. She is frustrating and even in the end, when her twist is finally verbalized, I wanted to shake her through the pages. I think it is unfortunate that very important, heart breakingly honest depictions of true teen angst and experience are brushed over too quickly to absorb. There are better books that embrace these themes, this is an additional read at best.
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