Stefanie's Reviews > Cracked Up to Be

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
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's review
Jan 26, 2011

it was amazing
Read on April 09, 2011

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 perfect anymore, in trying to be anything to anyone? She's been perfect her whole life. Going above and beyond the expectations of everyone in her life. Until she reaches her breaking point, which is presented in flashbacks throughout the story. But Parker had been building up to her breakdown for quite a while, running herself ragged with perfection.
As far as characters go, I really liked them all. They all served a purpose for the most part. Chris, Parker's ex, is the guy who knew the Parker "before". He knew who she used to be, why she used to be the way she was. And he's still the guy clinging on that old Parker, thinking she's still the same person, forcing her to look at herself in the past. Then comes Jake. The new kid. He becomes pretty captivated by Parker. Finds her so different, and interesting. I usually hate cliches...but it worked here for me, because the author addresses the cliche and points out the obvious, kind of mocking it. Because she does use the like "I've never met a girl like you", lol. But it worked, IMO. Then there is Becky...who is the girl that is desparate not to be Parker, but to have everything she did. To be at the top where Parker was. There's this kind of ongoing battle between the girls of how Becky is only cheerleading captain and Chris's girlfriend because Parker gave those things to her. Becky never earned them, never would've had them if Parker hadn't let it go.

Parker is definitely a complicated character and very frustrating at times. You kind of get to a point where you're like..."I get that you have issues! But stop being such a b****." She is interesting though, because for most of the book she feels she's in control of her life and that she calls all the shots and controls the people around her, how close or not close she lets them get to her. But in reality, I don't think she had control on anybody really. Her ex, Chris points that out near the end of the book and I finally was like, Yeah.....he's totally right. Chris...for all his, mistakes, really did know her best and I think he was a crucial part of her "recovery". He kind of kept her in line. Whereas with Jake, I think he sort of enabled her to walk all over people, because she got away with it with him. Most of the time. Parker was just heartless toward everyone because she thought she was benefitting them by keeping them at a distance and not ruining their live, because she thought she'd ruin them, all the good people. But she was just doing more damage that way. She does all of this out of guilt, this huge guilt she has carried with her for so long and you can just feel the weight and the burden pressing on her through the bitter tone she has through the whole book. That's one thing I thought was done so well. The tone. It was so poignant and clear. She was so bitter and cynical and the first to critique EVERYONE. But it was all out of envy I think, and some anger. She was angry at having to carry this guilt with her while nobody knew what really happened "that night". But....she just never seemed to realize that if she had just talked to someone about it, she'd have been relieved of all this guilt. Or maybe she did realize that but was so set on "protecting" people from her that she never did. Hmm.
Anyways, the end didn't feel very complete to me at all. I think I felt that way when I finished FALL FOR ANYTHING also. I just didn't feel that Parker was all the sudden ready to face all her demons after fighting against them so hard for the entire book. And then, both the boys...who have just been there for her, through all the crap she put them through...I just feel like they didn't get anything in the end. How were they supposed to have benefited from any of it? I just felt like Summers didn't give them what they deserved. So the ending was a little disappointing, but overall I really loved the book.
And I plan to read her other book, SOME GIRLS ARE! Because I do really really enjoy her writing.
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Quotes Stefanie Liked

Courtney Summers
“Jake and Chris talk through art and discover they have so much in common it's amazing. Like, They Could Be Boyfriends If They Didn't Like Vaginas So Much Amazing. ”
Courtney Summers, Cracked Up to Be

Courtney Summers
“The problem with alienating, self-destructive behavior is people get it into their heads it’s a cry for help. It wasn’t.”
Courtney Summers, Cracked Up to Be

Courtney Summers
“I don't like you with Becky. She's not a very nice girl.'
'I don't like you with Jake. He's not me.”
Courtney Summers, Cracked Up to Be

Courtney Summers
“If I can do things right, I don't see why everyone else can't.”
Courtney Summers, Cracked Up to Be

Reading Progress

05/15/2016 marked as: read

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