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Cracked Up to Be

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  10,406 ratings  ·  1,069 reviews
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

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
Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published December 23rd 2008)
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23rd out of 66 books — 57 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
Emily May

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
Nov 17, 2011 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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: 2011, ya
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 like
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
jo mo
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
May 23, 2009 Ash marked it as attmepted-to-read  ·  review of another edition
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'
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
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
The writing was good but for me, the story line was hard to get through. Maybe because I couldn't relate to the protagonist and I found her unlikeable.

Parker is a perfect mess. She pushes everyone away. When they finally start to let go a little, now she's pissed that no one is paying attention to her. They start to show they care again and she pushes them away with force ... the cycle continues.

She's punishing herself for her friends death. When It's revealed what she did that was so terrible
Aug 16, 2011 Alyssa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Rebecca A. Rogers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Clarification 4.5 Stars

I really love Courtney Summers' writing. I find it to be raw and ralistic and I think she captures the emotion of her protaganists really well.
I was first introduced to her when I read FALL FOR ANYTHING with the Bookers and totally fell in love with her writing style.
In CRACKED UP TO BE, we have another "messed up" teen with angst and issues and that one big moment in her life that made her go "what's the point?" For Parker Fadley, it was, What's the point in trying to be
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for

Parker Fadley was captain of the varsity cheerleading squad. She'd been on the honor roll for the first three years of high school, and Chris, the most popular guy at school, was in love with her, the most popular girl in school. Now, no matter how awful she is to him, she knows he still loves her, but she's not worth it.

Not since the party. Not since her life took a radical one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn.

Her parents have her on a tight leash
Parker Fadley embodies a perfectionist. She's on the honor roll with distinction, the cheerleading captain that never fails, and dating the most popular guy attending her school. And yet, one party is all it takes to ruin everything. Suddenly, she seems to downgrade to a shell of who she used to be - a harsh, cold girl on suicide watch that manipulates people and pushes them away from her. She meets a new guy in her art class, and even takes a dog in as a pet, but how will she recover from somet ...more
WOW. This was not what I expected. The voice of Parker Fadley was so incredibly spot-on, and this novel gets superkudos for being one of the best examples of "show, not tell" writing ever. The backstory -- what happened a few months previously to turn Perfect Parker into Parker-who's-a-complete-mess -- meanders through the frustrating story of Parker's senior year. She appears to have just freaking lost it, but really, she's not lost it, she's shoving it away with everything she's got -- the onl ...more
4.5 stars

Until I snap out of my lazy holiday phase and write an actual review, please do yourself a favour and read this post by Summers (some spoilers), on "nice" girls. Perfect post is perfect.
It's official. I will read anything Courtney Summers writes.
✌ Kaye ♡
3.5- Team Chris

Sooooo I wrote this long review then pressed that back button by mistake. :-(

This will be a summary of that now. I thought it was a very good read hence the 4 star rating but I don't know if I actually personally enjoyed the story so the 3.5.

Parker was a straight b* and I sorta loved it. Maybe because I had/sometimes have that urge to say the rude things that flow through my mind, especially while I was in high school. It came out some in college, but I care about appearances and
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In short, Cracked Up To Be is a fantastically written, intense novel by Courtney Summers. In fact, if I had to pick one word for Cracked Up, it would be that: intense. It's a fantastic, gritty character study of "Perfect" Parker Fadley, who's bitter and sarcastic and cruel to everyone - but especially to herself. If you want a rollercoaster ride in the head of a sometimes-unlikeable, extremely three-dimensional, complex and compelling character, Cracked Up To Be is that novel. The love triangle ...more
Dec 08, 2008 Runa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Runa by: LibraryThing
Shelves: runasbooks

I really loved this book. While the very beginning left me slightly queasy (the language/content really needs to be toned down), I highly enjoyed the rest. The other reviewers were right. This is one book where the ending really reverberates and it's not one you're likely to forget. I loved the big moments. There were times when I thought I knew, without a doubt, what was going to happen, but then pleasantly found out that I was completely wrong. The revelation that Jessie was her best friend wa
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Prior to reading Cracked Up to Be, I'd read Courtney Summers' Fall for Anything, which I was completely taken with, so maybe my expectations for this novel were too high. Nevertheless, Cracked Up to Be was well worth the time it took to read it.

Even though this novel deals with the life of a high school girl, and there was obviously the entire aspect of being popular etc., the main plot wasn't focused on the typical issues you'd expect to find in young adult novels, which
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers — Starts July 23, 2014 37 17 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 16 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 19 149 Nov 01, 2012 08:19PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Final Thoughts 19 168 Sep 28, 2012 10:00AM  
  • Love You Hate You Miss You
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  • The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1)
  • Invincible Summer
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  • Boy Toy
  • Good Oil
  • This Is What I Want to Tell You
  • Losing Faith
Courtney Summers can't wait for the zombie apocalypse. Also she is the author of CRACKED UP TO BE and SOME GIRLS ARE, FALL FOR ANYTHING and THIS IS NOT A TEST, four edgy young adult novels published by St. Martin's Press.

Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

FYI: While I don't have time to share my thoughts on every book I've added to my GoodReads (I wish I did! I love book talk!), please be
More about Courtney Summers...
Some Girls Are This is Not a Test Fall for Anything All the Rage What Goes Around: Two Books In One: Cracked Up to Be & Some Girls Are

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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.” 226 likes
“How does it feel to know that even at my worst, you're still not good enough?” 163 likes
More quotes…