Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
We all have this notion that popular girls have it easy, that their lives are perfect, untainted and flawless. And our brains are rattled when these girls suddenly throw away everything and destroy themselves. We wonder what have gone so wrong that they decided to abandon their seemingly godly lives. But of course what we do not know is that maybe, all these could just be facades, tough masks to hide what’s buried underneath, like turbulence hiding under the calm surface of the sea. Sometimes, these people are actually the ones who have the cruelest monsters, silently gnawing at their very souls.
Enter Parker Fadley, the girl who has it all. Well, more like had. Parker was cheerleading captain, a straight A+ student, and the girlfriend of the most popular guy in high school. Yes, she is the girl who’s got everything, the one everyone in her high school envies. But then out of the blue, Parker went from being the perky popular girl to a self-destructive loner. She dumped her boyfriend, got intoxicated with alcohol and drugs almost everyday. Suddenly, she was out of reach but in a negative way. She is still popular but due to other reasons. People now shy away from her like she’s garbage and no one seem to bother as to why the sudden change of attitude. Parker cut every connection she had with her friends and locks herself up in her own tangle of emotions. To everyone’s eyes, her life is definitely spiraling down the drain and nothing or no one might be able to stop it.
But here comes Jake, the new student who seemed very interested with Parker. This persistent guy wanted to pierce through the walls that Parker created around her. No matter how much Parker tried to push people away, Jake’s will seemed unyielding. He knew that the old Parker is in there somewhere. He somehow knew that something went seriously wrong for a girl like Parker to just throw away everything she has. But will he be able to uncover the truth and become Parker’s salvation? Is he ready for whatever it is that Parker is so desperately keeping secret?
In this book, Summers was able to weave a beautiful picture of life as teenager dashed with all the awful, harrowing ingredients like sex, depression, drinking and such. In this book, it is possible to love and hate the main character at an equal extent. To be honest, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish this one because the first chapter was all about the main character’s bitchy attitude. And I just cannot seem to sympathize with that kind of personality. But then as I trudged through more pages, I suddenly understand where she was coming from. How could you live with yourself after experiencing what Parker had? If you knew that someone would be in deep trouble, would you help pr would you let your fear hinder you from doing the right thing? And that is what this story is really about. What would you do if in every waking moment of your life, your conscience haunts you? Will you find the courage to speak up in order to give justice to those who were wronged, or will the silence eat you up forever, knowing that someone’s life would have been better if only you found the courage to be strong?
All in all, I enjoyed the book very much. The flashbacks really helped the readers get a glimpse of the past Parker, and somehow let us picture the change that happened better. I would give it a 4/5.