I read “Moonglass” by this author ages ago, and while I don’t remember all that much about it, I know I thought it was adequate but not really anything special. And I think that’s how I’d characterize “Golden” too.
Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.
Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
To me, nothing about “Golden” felt original or surprising. I mean, sure, I wasn’t 100 percent sure how things with Parker’s quest would turn out, but nothing about Parker herself or her situation felt unique to me. She didn’t stand out from any of the other likeable, over-achieving YA heroines who learn to loosen up. I felt like I’ve read different iterations of this same story a hundred other times. And it’s a story that, while I tolerate it just fine, I’m finally starting to get tired of.
The first half of the book felt pretty slow to me. I found myself starting to skim, and since I almost never skim, the fact that I wanted to with this book was pretty damning. I thought about not finishing the book, but since I knew so many people like it, I decided to press on. And truthfully, the second half was better. The pace picked up, and I started to finally get interested in the 10-year-old mystery Parker’s trying to solve. So that was a saving grace.
The romance in this book . . . I honestly can’t decide if I liked that it didn’t play a major role or if that same fact annoyed me. Because while I appreciate books that have enough other plot that they don’t have to rely entirely on the romance for the story, at the same time the romance is pretty much always my favorite part of the book. So I’m still divided on that issue with this book.
Overall, the book was fine but nothing new. I’ve been in a weird funk with YAs lately, so that may be affecting my feelings about this one, but either way, I wasn’t really impressed.
Rating: 3 / 5