Saturday, May 3, 2014

April Monthly Re-Read (Cracked Up to Be by Courney Summers)

Monthly Re-Read is something I'm going to be doing every month in 2014. I'm going to re-read one book a month and then blogging about it. To learn more and see the post where I introduced the idea, click HERE. 

(So sorry this post is a few days late, y'all! I was sick, so I kind of got behind on some stuff--this included.)

Cracked Up to BeCracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Release Date: December 3, 2008
Pagecount: 214 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Bought
Buy It: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads
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 conselors 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.

Back in the day, before I started my blog or even knew blogging was a thing, I would look up books on Barnes and Noble's website. I would search a book I knew I liked, and then follow the suggestions that they "think you might like" all over the place. This was one of those books that popped up in that long chain of book-looking (so was Obsidian by JLA, by the way). I read the little preview on B&N's website and decided that I seriously needed to get my hands on this book.

Fast forward to the beginning of September of 2010 when my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my mom went to the Yankees game against the Texas Rangers at Arlington. I wanted to go so badly, but instead I was stuck at home with my dad and my nephew. (No worries--I ended up going the next May and it was wonderful.) Another thing I used to do back then (and wish I still did today) was go to Borders and look at books. For no good reason. I didn't always buy a book--because I didn't always have money for that--but I'd just look around and be cool with that because books are awesome.

**Sidebar: I think it was the website for Borders that I was on more. I mean, I KNOW I went on B&N's website, too, but I think I may have found this book (and Obsidian) on Borders. Hmmm.**

Back to my story...I was at home with my dad and nephew and so bored I could cry. Soooo we went to Borders. And at Borders, I was all grabby hands at this book, because I was so curious about the contents of the book. It looked amazing, but it also looked like I could want to chuck it across the room. I wanted to reeeeeeeead it. So I talked my dad into buying it for me. 

I proceeded to read the crap out of this book in the day and a half-ish before the rest of my family got home, and this story has stuck with me ever since.

Parker was such a poignant character, and even though she could be so mean, I wished I could be like her. I wanted to be confident like she was, I wanted to be funny just like she was, and I wanted to not care about the little things like she did. I must also point out that the summer of 2010 (and the fall, and my whole freshman year in general for various reasons I'm not going to get into at the moment) was a hard one for me. I wanted to be anyone but myself, and almost any of the main characters in the books I read were ones I wanted to mirror. I didn't want their bad qualities, of course, but their strong ones, their unique ones, the ones that made them characters I loved--I wanted all of that. And Parker rocked at being everything I wished I was. 

And her story, in general. Her story will never leave my brain. It hurt my heart so much, but I loved it at the same time. I loved the characters. I loved how much people cared about Parker--especially Chris and Jake--and how everyone interacted. One of my favorite things was when Parker fell out of the tree and Jake was all worried and then she started teasing him the moment she got her bearings. 

I adored Jake. And Chris was a sweetheart. And I didn't even hate Becky. I am so excited to experience this story again. I don't doubt that it'll resonate through my mind much the same as it did the first time. I'll laugh and possibly cry and just fall in love with every single word, even the ones that sort of made me cringe, because I was a fan of Jake and Parker could be so cruel to him. 

But seriously, I think this is going to be great!      

I am so, so, SO glad I chose to read this book again. As I explained, it has always been one near and dear to my heart, but now I am declaring it one of my all-time favorite books. I am honestly and truly with the writing, and the premise, and this whole story in general.

Right off the bat, I already realized that there were things about this book that went right over my head the first time I read it. Seriously, on the very first page. Chris is asking about G-spots. Yeah, I didn't know what that was the first time I read this. HAAAAAAA. But it even goes beyond that. Little things that most people might have noticed the first time around, but it took me another read through to catch. Like how she says her counselor's eyes are like a dead sparrow's at the beginning of the book--and THAT is who was talking to her around the end of the book.

I also have a WAY better understanding of Parker now. There was something wrong with her. I'm guessing some type of anxiety disorder. I'm pretty confident she had some form of OCD. I mean, I'm not qualified to actually diagnose people or anything, but from my understanding of psychology (which is not very vast, but still, I have a little) that would be my guess. Parker had those problems BEFORE the whole thing with Jessie, and that is a huge part of why I am in love with this book. Parker didn't start having issues BECAUSE her friend went missing. No, she just reached her breaking point then--and this all lead to her actually getting help. I liked that this was something that was always a part of Parker. I mean, how many books feature perfectly fine characters and then BOOM tragedy strikes and they're not fine anymore? Not all characters can have perfect lives that are marred only by something bad happening to them. Making Parker flawed from the get go (i.e. even in the flashbacks) made her more easy to relate to, in my opinion. And I loved it.

Jake, Chris, and Becky. I adore Jake and Chris. They're such high school boys. They're funny and realistic, and I simply adore them. I have more to say about them, but first I want to talk about Becky. I feel like our view of Becky is skewed, because we're seeing her through Parker's eyes. I don't think Becky is the nicest person ever or anything, but I do think she was Parker's friend. Or the closest thing to a friend she had, at least. All four of these characters--one big group of super awesome friends, no matter how reluctant Parker is to admit it. SO YEAH. Becky did get on my nerves some, but I didn't hate her or anything.

Now back to the boys. I feel like Chris was the perfect representation for a high school guy doing all he can to get back the girl he fell in love with. I know he doesn't seem to try TOO hard, but what was he supposed to do? He's only an 18-year-old human male. He tried. And the biggest thing is that he's always there for Parker when she needs him. He messes up a little, but he's there and I freaking loved him. The way they parted ways at the end was fantastic. And Jake--another perfect representation, this time of a high school guy completely baffled by this situation he walked into after moving across the country. It's funny how his luck went--first person he met at him new school was Parker Fadley. The least helpful person he could meet. Poor guy. But he turned into another guy we could rely on and I fell in love with him, too.

After being immersed in the story I have loved for a long while yet again, I cannot be more glad I sat down and re-read this book. I see Parker for who she really is now, and I still kind of want to be like her in some ways. Not as many ways as before, because I realize now that she DOES care about things, just not the same things she forced herself to be good at before the beginning of the novel. But I like that she aimed to only care about things she deemed worth it. I also see that she didn't see herself worth caring about, which is why she was trying to make everyone forget about her in the first place. And I LOVE that this book is her realizing that she can't control who cares about her--not anymore than she can control anything else happening in the world--and she should be open to making relationships with people. It's healthy, it's normal, and it can be so incredibly rewarding.

So yeah. I definitely got something out of re-reading this book. Have you read this one? What do you think?


  1. It is alwaye good to re-read books and to re-connect with characters you like. I can't believe I've never come across this book before! Seems like a really good read. Great review!

  2. This is such an emotional book. I loved Parker from the beginning. Her pain is so raw and that makes her so rough with others, but then you get a glimpse of how deeply she cares and how she tries to kill that caring part of hers.

    I love how you contrasted the two readings!!

    Read Some Girls Are. It's so good. I actually loved it more in a way :)


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