Cracked Up to Be

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Teenage girl (14-16) lying on bleacher

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.

You have to read Courtney Summers’ books one after the other if you’re a fan and I kind of am. I like Some Girls Are best, but this one is also made of the same scary, realistic, cruel book. In this case, Parker chose to alienate herself from her peers, her perfectness and her popularity because of something that happened to her best friend. Except there’s this new boy who’s trying to get her to talk and come out of her newly formed shell.

It isn’t a love story or a story of hope, I’m sorry. Parker is self-absorbed and she isn’t someone you’d feel sorry for. She never gave Chris or Jake (the two guys she date/d) a chance to really get to know her. Her frenemy, Becky, isn’t really even all that mean. She’s very nice. The story mainly revolves around Parker and her self-destructive ways, about how she’s trying to run away from who she really is because of what happened in the past.

When you get to find out the whole story, you still won’t feel sorry for her or go, “Ohhh, so that’s why.” Instead, you’ll agree that she really does need help and anything other than that- friends, a boyfriend, her academics- would have to be put on hold because she’s not well inside. Unlike Some Girls Are, where the conflict comes from other people, here its within Parker. I kind of hated her plenty of times because she knew she was doing the wrong thing, yet she still went ahead with it, because she knew it would make her unlikable. And I didn’t think that was part of the solution to begin with. She should have just told the truth/what she knew as soon as it happened. Then she could start dealing with her issues.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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