My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publicatio Date: December 23rd 2008
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, High School
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.
Every time I finish a book by Courtney Summers, all my brain seems to want to do is ponder the meaning of life.
It’s not even that her books are philosophical, but they’re just so raw that I feel emotionally connected to everything, and when I get to the last page, it all comes to a stop.
Except it doesn’t, because then I want to crawl back into the book and decorticate the main character some more. And I relate her to myself. And then I relate myself to the world. And then I relate the world to life.
It’s a peculiar longish procedure, which is why I don’t read Courtney Summers’ works all that often. Not that she has tons of novels written.
Why doesn’t she have tons of novels written? She sure has the talent and imagination necessary and I especially like how she doesn’t write what most people love reading about.
For instance, Parker – the heroine – is messed up. She did something bad, and she thinks she has to pay for it by sweeping everyone out of her life. One by one. She wants to be left alone, wallowing in her misery.
She’s mean. She’s unpleasantly honest. And she’s unreliable. She’ll make us think that we know her, but the truth is we don’t. Even she isn’t always sure what she wants. I love these types of characters so much.
A teacher I once had told us that the best characters we’ll come across in literature will be imperfect. She said those are the ones readers will be able to connect with. You know why. Because we’re imperfect, yet we still seek perfection.
Just ask Parker, she knows all about it. She used to be popular, heard-of-class and strikingly good at everything. A perfectionist. Before she fell apart.
What I also like about Summers’ books is how she never tries to overwhelm us. She paces her novels well and never adds the kind of thick atmosphere that will make us feel uncomfortable or unable to breathe.
Her novels are strangely quiet. It’s all calm… until it isn’t anymore… and then it’s calm again. Like the sea. But the themes are always so powerful that sometimes we’re scared we’re not going to be able to get them out of our minds.
Sigh… I just… can’t recommend this author enough.