Golden by Jessi Kirby | Book Review

Golden by Jessi KirbyBook Title/Author: Golden by Jessi Kirby
: Simon  & Schuster May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: Moonglass, In Honor

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I received this from the publisher  in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!


ALSO, read the very personal post I wrote inspired by this book!


Parker is coming closer to her high school graduation and everything is on track for that next stage in her life. She’s valedictorian, always listens to her mom, is driven but, as her best friend always points out, she rarely takes chances or does the unexpected — despite her best friend’s urging and influence. Her life is shaken when she takes a chance and peers into the personal life that unexpectedly sheds some light on a town legend and tragedy. Everybody knows the tragic love story of Julianna Fernetti and Shane Cruz. Ten years they were the golden couple of the high school and town and ten years ago when a tragic accident on an icy road sent them plunging into the river from which their bodies were never found. The golden couple has been romanticized but Parker finds that things aren’t always as they seem as she reads a sealed class assignment that Julianna wrote 10 years ago and begins to question what really happened the night of their fateful accident.

Honestly, of Jessi Kirby’s 3 novels so far, Golden is undoubtedly my favorite. She’s become an author I don’t hesitate to recommend if you like contemporary YA and placed on my auto-buy list and reading Golden confirmed all these things even  more. Golden is a stunning book with incredible depth, a skillfully unraveled mystery and characters that I really loved. One of those books that absorbs you completely and you find yourself done in a flash and your emotions are all scattered over the place. I was equally enthralled with both the mystery element to this novel as well as the character development and growth of Parker — I really could root for and relate to her.

I really loved how Parker’s story and the mystery of Julianna’s tragic accident were woven together. I felt like I got to know Parker so much through her reactions to reading Julianna’s journal and my heart was in my throat reading Julianna’s tragic story as it was so perfectly revealed. It was one of those tragic stories where your heart just ached and I could feel the intensity and weight that Parker felt for uncovering it all as she read the journal that had been sealed away for 10 years shining a whole new light on a town legend. I loved the adventure that Julianna’s story took Parker and her friends on and how it challenged her with things in her life that she had always struggled with — getting out of her comfort zone, living the life SHE wants etc. It was just a perfect blend of mystery, character growth and one of those books that makes you think and examine your own life. I thought about so many things — how things aren’t always as they seem to be and how they are romanticized sometimes and just how sometimes we get stuck in trap of trying to figure OUT our life rather than living it. I journalled a lot after reading this one.

The mystery thread was SO interesting how it was revealed and kept me on the edge of my seat but not in that thriller kind of way. I kept guessing and speculating. I DID end up making a good prediction and read at a dizzying pace to see if my little hunch was right and it WAS. I love that. Jessi Kirby cleverly unravels things so that you can’t help but start thinking things and questioning things along with Parker. I was reading with a friend and it was hilarious the different predictions we made!

It’s hard to explain, without giving it all away, what is so special about this novel but it’s the whole package — fully developed, interesting characters and dynamics, beautiful writing, thought-provoking and a refreshingly executed plot that practically glues your eyeballs to the pages. I could start spouting off fancy adjectives but you should just probably read the book.


Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LOVED IT. I have this desire to reread it already. It was refreshing and one of those books that just is all consuming in the best possible way. I couldn’t stop reading as Parker read the journal of a girl who was the center of a tragic accident and finds her life become intertwined with this mystery — all while watching Parker’s growth. It’s my favorite novel thus far from Jessi Kirby and solidifies her as a go-to author in the contemporary YA genre. Don’t miss this one, friends!


Golden by Jessi Kirby

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Did you guess the mystery or a piece of it??



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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Jen (A Reading Daydreamer) says:

    Knowing that this book touched you in so many ways, I know that I’ll have to pick this one up soon. I loved Jessi Kirby’s Moonglass, and it makes me so entirely happy that this one is your favorite. Parker seems like such an amazing character and I’m really curious about the mystery aspect! Beautiful review as always, Jamie! <3

  2. Oh Jamie this is wonderful!! for some reason I still haven’t read any of her books yet, but this one comes aparently with the whole package of being awesome and looking pretty 🙂

  3. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    You already know how much I LOVE this book — definitely my favorite of the year so far! And has been put at the top of my all-time favorites list, too. Jessi’s growth with this novel is outstanding. Like you, I’ve been a fan of her previous work, but holy dang she really took this one above and beyond. Great review Jamie!

    Also.. the mystery, I sorta figured it out too, but I was OK with that. I still enjoyed following along as Parker did.

  4. Totally agree this is my fave Jessi Kirby book (so far)!

  5. I am so excited to read this one. The only Jessi Kirby book I’ve read previously is In Honor, which I liked, but didn’t totally love, but Golden sounds like a story I’m going to totally fall for.

  6. I haven’t read this yet, but won it through a Goodreads giveaway and am waiting for it to show up at my door. I’m actually really excited to start reading it after seeing many positive reviews and finding out how it inspired you after you read it. I don’t think I’ve ever read any book by this author before, so I guess this is a good place to start 🙂 Great review!

  7. This one was such a huge surprise for me. Admittedly, I don’t read much Contemporary but it’s always such a pleasure to find a real gem when I do. Fantastic review, I’m so glad you loved this just as much!
    Bonnie @ Sweet Tidbits

  8. So happy to hear you enjoyed this book. I have been dying to read it and won a copy from goodreads. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    Sara @ ramblings of a booknerd

  9. Wow this sounds really good!! I was hoping that it would be, but some of my most anticipated for 2013 are turning out to be ehh. I love a good mystery and this one sounds even better than what I was thinking it would be 🙂

  10. I want to read this SO bad. I LOVED her other books!

  11. Oh I’m so glad to hear that this one was well done! I have a copy and I’m hoping to get to it soon. I haven’t read Kirby’s other books but this one just sounds so intriguing. I can’t wait to see how she reveals this mystery. Thanks for the review!!

  12. This book sounds really good! I love contemps, and I like the idea that there is a but of mystery in this book too! I’m really excited to read this one 🙂 Thanks for the great review!

  13. I loved this book SO MUCH! It just spoke to me on so many levels and has really made me go back and re-think and re-analyze my whole life. It was so moving and beautifully written and I am so eager to re-read it when it releases next month. Fantastic review, Jamie! 😀

  14. GAH. SO cannot wait to read this one. A friend wants me to read it with her, but the anticipating is building as the wait increases. LOL. Anyway, lovely review, Jamie! You had me at Parker’s growth, and the mystery, and that you journaled a lot about this one, plus with your first “Beyond The Page,” YEAH. Thanks for an amazing review that made me even more psyched for this one.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  15. Lovely review! I have yet to read anything by Jessi Kirby, but Golden is going to be my first read of hers for sure. This story sounds a little bit like Kat Rosenfield’s Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone – taking the element of a live girl on the cusp of adulthood searching for the truth in another girl’s death – but it also sounds a lot better than that ended up being. I hope I’m right in that regard! When I do read YA contemp I want it to really speak to me and make me ask the big questions. This sounds like it fits the bill, so I can’t wait to read it myself!

  16. This sounds like a really interesting book! I just want to read it now, even though I’ve never heard anything else about it or about the author. There’s a first time for everything, right? I’m also in need of reading more YA books recently, so this just matches very well 🙂

  17. I still haven’t read any of Jessi Kirby’s books, but they are all on my wishlist! This one sounds particularly intriguing with the whole mystery around the accident element. Great review!

  18. I’ve wanted to read this for a while, but now I want to even more after this review and your personal post from the other day!:)

  19. The depth and the emotion sound amazing, thanks for review, I think I want to read now.

  20. I loved Golden. I read it on a whim, shoving all other review books and owned books out of the way, and I’m glad I did. It’s the kind of book that begs to be devoured in one sitting, with a story that’s quietly compelling and mysteriously wonderful. It’s got a character who a lot of readers are going to be able to identify with, and root for, and learn from. And, best of all, it’s a book that makes you reassess and think about your own life – what you would do with it, what you CAN do with it. I loved it, obviously, and your review basically highlights my favorite things about it. Wonderful job Jamie!

  21. I’m looking forward to this one.

  22. I LOVED this book! I thought it was a beautiful read. I was sad that I read it so fast and then boom it was over! I wish I had this book when I was younger- it definitely makes you think about chances you would have taken and things you wish you’d done!


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