I haven’t read enough of Courtney Summers. I love her voice, I love her raw perception of reality, but so many of her books are sitting on my to-read shelf. One of those books was What Goes Around, a combination of both Cracked Up To Be and Some Girls Are, I figured that was pretty much like killing two birds with one stone, right? I could knock off two more of Summers’ books in one sitting. One of the best ideas I’ve had all summer.
ashley | This is part 1 of the review, featuring Cracked Up To Be, the first book in this combination. This introduced me to unlikeable Parker. She was not a great person, the stereotypical bitch who disowned her popularity, distanced herself from everyone and thought she was better than everyone. But that’s what I love about Summers’ writing, she takes these stereotype characters and gives a voice to the stereotype, expanding and explaining and kind of bringing some reasoning to it all.
From Parker’s point of view, you see the inner struggle, you see the driving points behind why she keeps herself at a distance, why she lashes out at people who just want to help her. You learn to understand it’s kind of self-punishment and guilt stirring a lot of other complicated emotions. It was really interesting to get into Parker’s head like this, as I’m sure we’ve all encountered someone of a similar character growing up and likely just written them off. But Summers reminds us that often there’s a lot more going on under the surface than it seems.
The other characters in the book were just as strong. I loved the complicated friendship/relationship she had with her ex-boyfriend Chris and her new sort of boyfriend Jake, and how Chris and Jake were friends and it was this really weird mix of dynamics between them all, but it somehow worked because they all cared about Parker’s wellbeing.
I even liked Becky, who was super annoying and Chris’s new girlfriend and Parker’s replacement on the popularity totem pole, but despite all the crap Parker gives her, Becky still sort of comes through for her when she needs to. Sometimes. It was a motley crew of supporting characters, but they all wanted to see Parker for the best that she can be and I liked how it kind of brought them all together.
I enjoyed this read, perhaps not as much as Fall For Anything, my first introduction to Summers, but the raw and real voice I fell in love with is definitely just as strong and just as inspiring. Check back for the second part of the review on Some Girls Are.
december 23, 2008