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Cracked Up to Be

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  14,223 Ratings  ·  1,418 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 214 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Rachel Anderson Yes, plenty. Not peppered on every page, but enough.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lola  Reviewer

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 l
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Warning : I thought about it over and over, and the only way I feel writing this review includes a great amount of personal information. If you don't care about it, if you think that's not a review, if you - well, just thought I'd warn you.

"You know how when you meet someone and they just give you the impression they're living on this entirely different planet from everyone else? That's sort of how I felt when I met you."

I don't really know what to say. I mean, how am I supposed to say th
Aj the Ravenous Reader
"The sooner you make a mistake and learn to live with it, the better. You're not responsible for everything. You can't control the way things end up."

Behind the sarcasm, teenage angst, and melodrama is this very powerful story and intense read that will ultimately give a very important message especially to many of our young people today obsessed with the idea of popularity and perfection.

Parker, an eighteen year old teenager, suddenly decides that she doesn’t want to be popular anymore and
Emily May
May 23, 2011 Emily May rated it it was amazing

Based on what I've read so far, Courtney Summers is easily one of my favourite young adult authors. Her books are incredibly raw and emotional and her talent for getting inside the mind of troubled teens isn't very common in young adult literature.

I admit that I didn't like this book quite as much as Some Girls Are but that isn't saying a lot, it was still powerful and moving. I expected to not like this novel as much because of the lower average rating than Some Girls Are, but I think the main
Oct 31, 2008 Kristi rated it it was amazing
This book was everything that I hoped it was going to be and then some. And I wish that I was a good writer so that I could write a review worthy of this book. Why can’t I just say that I loved it and that it was one of the most compelling books I’ve ever read and that just be enough? Because really I don’t know why I like any book, I just do. But if I must, I guess I will.

The writing. If I hadn’t known that this was Summers’ debut novel, I wouldn’t have believed it. One of my most favorite boo
Nov 03, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, ya
So, I guess I just read these in opposite order…3…2…1. It’s hard to pick a favorite but this one definitely hits the closest to home. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are were going to be similar novels – like twin manifestos on the psychology of mean girls. Parker and Regina may both sort into the mean girl category, but they are completely different, as are these two novels. I think that Some Girls Are is a book about moving forward and away, but t ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those readers who do not require their characters to be likable
Recommended to Tatiana by: Emily May, Catie
Shelves: ya, 2011
As seen on The Readventurer

3.5 stars

The more of Courtney Summers I read, the more her work reminds me of Sara Zarr's. They write vastly different characters - Zarr's are more subdued, quiet; Summers' are often in-your-face obnoxious and loud. But what is similar about these two authors is how well-realized their narrators' voices are. Zarr's and Summers' characters are unique and real, often unlikable, but always unforgettable.

The protagonist of Cracked Up to Be, Parker, is hard to like. She is
Parker Fadley used to be head cheerleader. She had perfect grades and a perfect boyfriend. Fast forward a few months and she is drinking heavily, treating everybody like crap (though this hasn’t changed much), broken up with her boyfriend, and missing every single homework deadline. What happened to cause her decline?

When I was in high school, I had to wear a uniform. Since it was an all-girls Catholic school, my morning went something like this:
6:00—alarm goes off. Snooze.
6:15—alarm goes off.
4.5 stars.

Slight spoilers follow…

“I’d rather be certifiable than perpetually boring.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.

High Points.
I loved everything: the writing, the characters, the emotions, the subject.
*bats off hands*

Low Points.
This book was so small it could get lost in my back teeth.
I’m just being selfish because I wanted to spend more time with this book but hey, if book reviewers can’t be selfish then who can?
That is the real question, I think.

You know how I really lik
Jun 22, 2016 Tabby rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Why this book?

Seemed like a book for me

What I thought

I had alot of feelings reading this book but mostly I was frustrated. Parker is such a bitch I just wanted to punch in her face! I get the self loathing but did she really need to treat Jake like that? Speaking of Jake I absolutely loved him, I felt so sorry for him though. Even with my dislike of Parker I gotta say I enjoyed this book. The writing was superb and it had a great premise. The characters were also extremely well fleshed
Cracked up to Be by Courtney Summers is probably one of the more difficult reads I’ve encountered in the YA genre. The protagonist, Parker Fadley, was flawed, damaged and on a downward spiral. In most cases, that’s enough cause to have me sympathize for a main character, but the way the story developed, she never really pulled at my heartstrings. I carried more angst for her ex-boyfriend Chris, and the new guy Jake that was dumb enough to fall for her. She really put everyone in her life through ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Poonam rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-na
This could have been easily a 4 star read for me apart from the ending.

I did not know what to expect when I started with this, the cover makes it feel like a light YA read, the blurb makes it sound more serious.

The sum it up, this is about Parker and the changes that have come in her life because of something that has happened to her.... This was the suspense bit, which is revealed at the end and did not somehow add up with the overall story for me..

Parker is beautiful, top of her class, going
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)
*I Don't Know How Many Stars*

Guys. I am so lost for words. This book made me feel things I just can't even...can't even. I liked it and I hated it. I loved it but wanted to punch it. I was obsessed with it and I wasn't obsessed with it. I couldn't put it down but when I did I felt a little bit lighter. I don't even know what to say, so how should I understand how to rate it?

Jake should know-well, everyone should know-there's no such thing as a decent human being. It's just an illusion.
And when i
Aug 27, 2011 Giselle rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Already being a big fan of Courtney Summers since I read This Is Not a Test, I knew before going into this that it was going to be a ride with a lot of feels! So much feels!

Parker is the definition of a snarky bitch. She has an attitude you want to slap her for, but as a protagonist she's especially amusing and definitely entertaining. The used-to-be cheerleading captain turned angry emo tells us that something has happened to this girl to change her so drastically. This "something" is told to u
Apr 04, 2010 jesse rated it did not like it
i couldn’t have cared less about any of the characters, especially our main character – parker. none of them were likeable, because there was nothing to like. i don’t think courtney summers could have done a better job at that! it probably wasn't even the point, because you were supposed to develop empathy, not sympathsize with her.

parker was nasty and only wallowed in her self-pity.
chris was pathetic,- i have this crazy feeling that when he told parker he loved her, he only meant he loved getti
Feb 15, 2009 Ash marked it as attmepted-to-read
I had very high hopes for this book. It had nothing but raving reviews and I was looking forward to reading it. I'm not saying that it disappointed me, but I guess I wasn't as prepared for it as I thought. I knew that it was a fairly raw and somewhat sad book with crude humor and some bad language but I thought I might still be able to get into the book. That I'd be able to finish it.

Parker is just a sad character. She pushes everyone away by being mean and rude any chance she gets. She doesn'
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

“I was perfect... and then I wasn't.”

People change. Some change more than others, but they all change. Parker Fadley changed. Perfect Parker Fadley. Changed. A lot. From captain of the cheer squad, girlfriend of a hot guy and a constant high achiever, no one knows what happened to her. But something did. Something huge and so conflicting that Perfect Parker is now not talking to anyone about it. With her parents, teachers and fellow classmates watching her ev
Apr 02, 2009 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2011 kari rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2015 Penny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those times when I seem to have read a completely different book from everyone else.

It was uninteresting and pointless. It sure wasn't moving or emotional to me.

We get into the mind of the bich/ex-"perfect" girl at school. I had the feeling that I was supposed to be sorry for her once we knew what her thoughts were, but that didn't happen for me. So what? it's not as if we don't know everyone has feelings no matter how good or bad they are and what she was thinking and feeling tow
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
Such a heart breaking book.. From the moment you're introduced to Parker you know she's keeping something from the reader. Something that is keeping her so closed off from everyone that she's become a shell of her former self. I loved the writing. If there's something Courtney does well, it's write. Writing intriguing complex and developed characters. I felt so much for Parker because she's been hiding away what she feels. She's broken and not wholly likeable so at first you're thrown off by how ...more
I'm going to stray a little from my normally cohesive review format, to discuss this rollercoaster ride of a book.

Some books - well, most books - have a way about them. They have this format where it's almost like the author has managed to zap themselves between the pages, luring you inside and whispering the words into your awaiting mind and holding your hand as they lead you along the story's path.

But Cracked Up to Be was different. The author was barely noticeable. I lost myself in the thoug
Paige  Bookdragon

History repeats itself.

Fucking hell. This reminds me of the awesomeness of Some Boys.


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
Mar 25, 2010 Alyssa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Girls who read Seventeen and want to be popular one day.
I realize that there are some authors out there, in a booklover’s world of literature, that can surprise you constantly and sweep you off your feet. I realize that there are some authors out there that don’t really need practice to do so – many a first book is better than the author’s next works.

I also realize that there are only a limited number of these authors.

Formulas are very constant in literature, especially in YA. Take Sarah Dessen – an author I respect and love as both a person and wr
Sep 03, 2012 Keertana rated it really liked it
Ever since I read this novel, I've been judiciously punishing myself. I made a vow to not pick up another Courtney Summers book until I had tackled this review first and although I have sat down to type out this review on more than one occasion, the words never came. Even now, over two months since I last held this in my hands, I struggle to find the words to adequately express what an emotional wreck this book rendered me. Parker are her struggles are still as real and visceral to me today as t ...more
Rebecca A. Rogers
Mar 15, 2010 Rebecca A. Rogers rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jan 27, 2015 April (Aprilius Maximus) rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Jun 18, 2010 Ariana rated it it was ok
Shelves: by-color-green
I don't like writing negative reviews. *sigh*

The beginning was so, so great and funny, and all. I was so happy to choose this book because it felt perfect for me.. but I don't know why my interest got lost by the middle of the story, and the ending was not better than that.

I guess it's a nice book and some people might like it more, but it didn't really work for me.

I liked Parker at the beginning (as mean as she was), and in a way I really liked the way her 'relationship' with Jake started (th
Ellen Gail
Oct 20, 2014 Ellen Gail rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I liked a great deal of it, but it's my least favorite Courtney Summers so far. It's a good read, but it can't hang with All the Rage and This is Not a Test.

The ending was super rushed and I just wanted more from the story. On the plus side, I had all these feelings for Parker's parents! They were just trying to do the best for their daughter and were so lost. For having such a small part in the story, I really connected with them.

Verdict? Absolutely a good book, but not going to be a
Mar 03, 2015 Cathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a short book but OH MY GOD it tore my heart out!!!!! I have so many thought swirling in my head about the price of trying to achieve perfection and the toll it takes on a person.

Parker is a fully realized character. She is so messy and complicated. There were times I wanted to laugh with her, smack her, and then just wrap her up in my arms.

I'm reeling after reading this and I will be thinking about it for days to come.
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Around the Year i...: Cracked Up to Be, by Courtney Summers 3 10 May 05, 2017 05:49AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers — Starts July 23, 2014 37 21 Jul 25, 2014 09:38AM  
German reading ci...: [Part 4] Kapitel 21 - 27 12 18 May 25, 2013 06:14AM  
German reading ci...: [Part 2] Kapitel 7 - 12 15 17 May 21, 2013 09:08AM  
German reading ci...: [Part 1] Kapitel 1-6 7 24 May 21, 2013 06:57AM  
German reading ci...: Getting started 16 31 May 21, 2013 06:54AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Parker 19 160 Nov 01, 2012 08:19PM  
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Courtney Summers was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1986 and currently resides in a small town not far from there. At age 14, and with her parents’ blessing, Courtney dropped out of high school to pursue her education independently. At age 18, she wrote her first novel and never looked back. Her first book, Cracked Up to Be, was published in 2008, when she was 22 and went on to win the 2009 CYBIL ...more
More about Courtney Summers...

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“The sooner you make a mistake and learn to live with it, the better. You're not responsible for everything. You can't control the way things end up.” 263 likes
“How does it feel to know that even at my worst, you're still not good enough?” 176 likes
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