Arlene's Reviews > Cracked Up to Be

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
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Mar 28, 2010

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bookshelves: read-2010, ya-contemporary, young-adult
Read from March 24 to 27, 2010

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 the ringer, and I know I should be compelled to give her some slack because of what she faced, but nope, I really couldn’t. Her heartlessness must have rubbed off on me.

About the story... Parker Fadley is every parent’s dream child. She is an honors student with distinction, meaning she has a perfect 4.0, she’s head cheerleader, her boyfriend is one of the most popular boys in their school, they are running champions of the winter formal king and queen, and just about everything Parker attempts, she does it with perfection. Unfortunately, all that changes one fateful night at a party Chris hosts and from that day forward, Parker is put on suicide watch, her grades fall to the point where she might not graduate, and she quits the cheer team. That’s not all that changes, she begins to push people away in a destructive manner, and it’s considered a good day if she shows up to school sober.

This story was interesting to the point that I wanted to find out what really happened that night that destroyed Parker. I was reading to hopefully come across a full conflict reveal and eventual resolution. Well, neither of that happens.

I’m removing two stars for a few reasons. One, I had a difficult time with how the back-story to Parker’s destruction was revealed. As the story progressed, a part of that fateful night was uncovered one piece at a time. But each time additional back-story was presented, the complete night was repeated. It came to be annoying after the fourth time. Another issue I had with the book had to do with Jake and Chris. They were extremely likeable characters in the book, and the ending for them was unfulfilling by more than a mile IMO. WT?? Is that all they get after everything Parker put them through? I was a little irritated to say the least. In addition, there was a major event that occurred the night Parker’s life turned upside down and when it was finally revealed the details were fuzzy and unclear. After hearing the story repeat itself over half a dozen times, you’d think the author would get the ending spot on… she really didn’t.

Overall, it’s an okay read, but I didn’t really pull any life lessons nor did I experience any significant emotional journey. Not a waste of time, just nothing to brag about.
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Reading Progress

05/15 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ Great and honest review. I was undecided before and I was just going to lib this, but I think I'll pass since reading this. Thanks for saving me some time;)


Arlene It's not bad, just not that great. Maybe I'm just ready to get back to my vampires. LOL


message 3: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ These books aren't my normal read anywho's, I just read them to take a break from my paranorm, but lately I haven't needed a break yet:)

Go! Read Morganville women, Myrnin is calling your name:P


Arlene Tina wrote: "These books aren't my normal read anywho's, I just read them to take a break from my paranorm, but lately I haven't needed a break yet:)

Go! Read Morganville women, Myrnin is calling your name:P"


LOL, yes as I was reading about Parker, Chris and Jake I was missing me some Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael. I bought the next two, so I'm good to go. Woo hoo! :)


message 5: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ w00t!! Gogogoggo, these books just get better and better! Next month book 8 comes out! Can't wait!


Arlene I'm starting tonight for sure. I want to read eight with you all, so I better speed it up. :)


message 7: by Albie46 (new)

Albie46 I didn't really enjoy this book either.

But I am looking forward to the new Morgainville.

I really liked the short story, from Eve's POV in one of those YA short story anthology books, but I can't remember what Morgainville you need to read it after, otherwise it would be spoilerish...
I'll try and find it out.
I wish they would write more from Eve's pov as I think she's a great character.


message 8: by Arlene (last edited Mar 29, 2010 08:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Arlene Albie46 wrote: "I didn't really enjoy this book either.

But I am looking forward to the new Morgainville.

I really liked the short story, from Eve's POV in one of those YA short story anthology books, but I ..."


Yeah I was looking forward to reading Cracked up to Be, I wasn't impressed but not majorly disappointed. Just not great.

SPOILER!!!! So question Albie. Did Parker know Jessie was dead because she saw her being attacked? That whole reveal was fuzzy. I didn't get it.

About Morganville, well I'm targeting to read the eighth Morganville when it comes out. Maybe we can read around the same time and discuss. :)

Let me know when you find out what anthology you read with Eve in it.


Ebehi I'm still not sure what Parker saw, and why she didn't tell anyone.


Arlene My recollection is a little hazy, but I think she saw her friend get attacked. I think she might have been in shock and that's why she didn't say anything. People react to tramatic events in different ways and in ways I might not understand. Parker was definitely one that I had a hard time warming up to, but I really tried.


Ebehi Ah, thanks. I wasn't sure if she saw her friend killed or raped, but I guess if she just thought Jessica was raped then I can understand why she didn't say anything from shock and guilt. I had been working under the assumption that she the guy murder Jess.


Arlene Actually V.E. it might have been both, she was attacked and then killed. I read it so long ago, but I believe it was both. That would be something horrible to witness. I don't know how I'd react, but I'm sure I wouldn't be able to keep it to myself. Scary and sad. :/


Ebehi Oh, wow. That makes with twice as bad then. I guess my first reaction would have been to tell someone because I couldn't really hold something like that in either. But, like you said, people react differently to the same situation, and Parker must have felt really guilty :(


Ashley Yeah, the only time I felt emotional was when Bailey died.


Paige  Bookdragon I agree with the part where the author is telling us the big secret one scene at a time. I find it tedious too. :D

Thoughtful review love :D


Arlene Paige wrote: "I agree with the part where the author is telling us the big secret one scene at a time. I find it tedious too. :D

Thoughtful review love :D"


Thank you Paige. :)


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