Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
“Sometimes we meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it.”
Golden was a surprising and heartwarming story about Parker, who goes looking for another person but finds herself. At Parker’s school, they have the most amazing teacher. Every year, the last-years get a journal in which they have to describe themselves and their lives. After ten years, they get that journal send to them, so they can read who they were back then and what they dreamed of. I thought this was a fantastic concept, and I’m actually going to do this myself!
Parker finds the journal of Julianna, who has been missing since her last high school year. Determined to find her and unravel the mystery, Parker sets off to look for Julianna.
Golden really surprised me. I’d heard good things about it, so I was eager to start it. And it didn’t disappoint: Golden is a beautiful tale of coming of age, accepting yourself, and living by your own standards. Our main character is a silent and shy person, struggling to find her place in the world. She was a very well developed character and gradually grew stronger during the novel. Her beginning romance with Trevor was very sweet and her best friend Kat was a real friend to Parker.
Now, there were a few clichés, like Kat, who was the dissolute best friends of our shy and bookish main character. But where I normally sigh and roll my eyes, Golden filled me with a warm glow. Because yes, Kat was a bit wild, but she was also there for Parker, constantly supporting her and making her do new amazing things. And yes, Parker is quiet and timid, but she does take action and has a good amount of character growth.
The novel revolved around a single question:
“What will you do with this one wild and precious life of yours?”
This was executed very well. Parker starts taking more risks, tries thinking more for herself, and starts making her own decisions. The things she discovered along the way were worth it, and this book got me thinking. I’ve realized I need to say “yes” more often, and that I am in general too careful. To me, it is a very good thing if a novel makes me think about my own life, make me question how I live and how I want to live.
of-age story was backed up by a solid plot. The mystery surrounding Julianna and Shane was built up well, making me realize things in exact the right moment. I also admire Kirby for letting the reader fall in love with Orion, a character later introduced, with so few words to work with. I can’t say much about it because of spoilers, but I found myself loving Orion.
The romance between Trevor and Parker was also well constructed. Taking it slow, Kirby used just enough awkwardness and sweetness to make it seem real and absolutely adorable. The romance never took over the novel and I’m grateful because of that. Parker herself and the plot were always the main focus of the book, with the romance added like a bonus.
In short, Golden will surprise you, make you smile and will make you think. Because tell me, what is it you plan to do with this one wild and precious life of yours?