Hot Best Seller

Cracked Up to Be

Availability: Ready to download

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. 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 her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all. Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth. Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.


Compare

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. 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 her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all. Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth. Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

30 review for Cracked Up to Be

  1. 3 out of 5

    Lola

    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 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 life. It’s a peculiar longish procedure, which is why I don’t read Courtney Summers’ works all that often. Not that she has tons of novels written. Why doesn’t she have tons of novels written? She sure has the talent and imagination necessary and I especially like how she doesn’t write what most people love reading about. For instance, Parker – the heroine – is messed up. She did something bad, and she thinks she has to pay for it by sweeping everyone out of her life. One by one. She wants to be left alone, wallowing in her misery. She’s mean. She’s unpleasantly honest. And she’s unreliable. She’ll make us think that we know her, but the truth is we don’t. Even she isn’t always sure what she wants. I love these types of characters so much. A teacher I once had told us that the best characters we’ll come across in literature will be imperfect. She said those are the ones readers will be able to connect with. You know why. Because we’re imperfect, yet we still seek perfection. Just ask Parker, she knows all about it. She used to be popular, heard-of-class and strikingly good at everything. A perfectionist. Before she fell apart. What I also like about Summers’ books is how she never tries to overwhelm us. She paces her novels well and never adds the kind of thick atmosphere that will make us feel uncomfortable or unable to breathe. Her novels are strangely quiet. It’s all calm… until it isn’t anymore… and then it’s calm again. Like the sea. But the themes are always so powerful that sometimes we’re scared we’re not going to be able to get them out of our minds. Sigh… I just… can’t recommend this author enough. BD | Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    ☠ 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 ☠ 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 that I can relate to Parker without sounding like a bitch? Because I do, but I'm not, and I wasn't. Lost a little? I'll explain. The fact is, above her actions, what stroke me the most in Parker was her need to be herself, even if the way she chose to do so appeared to be incredibly harsh and selfish at times. What I love in Courtney Summers is the way she manages to take the high-school stereotypes and to go further, to crack the shells in order to show what's hidden beneath all the craps we're served in so many young adult books. "You've made a choice and it's so obvious. I see it; I accept it," she says. "Even if no one else can. You want to rot and I want to let you." If I struggled more with Some Girls Are, that's because I found it more difficult to imagine the situation there and I know that I'm in the minority about this. But the truth is, if I never saw groups of people behaving like these assholes in Some Girls Are, Parker sounds real to me, and yes, I can relate. If I was never mean to people like she can be, I went through a tough phase when I was a teenager and yes, even if I kept an outgoing facade, people made me cringe at times and if I didn't do what she did to them, I thought about it many times. Everything annoyed me, and I didn't even realize it - I was so full of shit, frankly, if I could slap my younger self I'd do it. Well, I never wanted to die, never, and some of her actions were really awful, so I'm not telling that I can understand all of Parker's decisions but anyway, I get her. "I still remember being hurt when the teacher made as big a fuss over my classmates' lesser efforts as she did over mine, which was perfect. Or maybe not as perfect as I thought." Can you understand what she's feeling? Because I can. No matter how ugly it sounds, oh, man, how I get this feeling. I used to, anyway. Trying to explain why I need everything to be perfect, being mad when people don't get it? Oh, yes, Parker's struggles hit a nerve with me. But let's go some years ago. I always was this weird kid who gets straight -As and reads a lot, who never breaks the rules because never sees the point in it, whose success is expected, no matter what happens. Don't get fooled, I wasn't lonely, as I always could count on a solid group of friends, but I was super serious until senior year. My parents weren't really strict because 1)they trusted me and they were right to do so and 2)it was just not their way of raising us. But on my senior year, I lost it. I started to ditch school so often that school rang my parents twice a week and I developed a hell lot of tips to sneak out school without being caught. Yet my rates didn't suffer too much, because I showed up for the tests and I spent my free time reading (in France we can specialize in Junior and Senior years, and I was in Literature-Philosophy-Languages). Why did I change all of a sudden? The only thing I can say it's that I didn't want to be me anymore. To be frank, I wasn't full of self-loathing at all, in fact I think it was quite the opposite. Or isn't it the same thing, after all? I don't know anymore. God, I was so conceited, as it seems that only teenagers can be - I thought I got it all, and I couldn't have been more wrong, but the expectations I felt on my shoulders were suddenly too hard to stand - I'm not saying I was right, that's only what it was. Why am I telling you that? Because I think that's why I can relate to Parker - I can understand why she's acting out of character, or more accurately, out of what others assume to be her personality. Because sometimes, we need to destroy a part of ourselves to evolve, because the way we are seen is suffocating us. And yes, we are hurting people who love us when we are acting that way, because we disturb the way they see us and what's more unsettling than seeing our best friend, our girlfriend, our daughter suddenly changing? Although I truly think that we mustn't lie to ourselves and never deny who we are, I can't deny that it's fucking difficult to deal with these changes when we are the people who are around. Anyway, it took me years to learn to be less perfectionist, in my studies, in my work, in my life (I never was like Parker about my appearance, though). Because in the end, we realize that in addition to make our lives an hell, we make other lives an hell, and by others I mean people we care about. "No one will notice how wrong you are if everything you do ends up right." Perhaps you think that it's not a review. Let me disagree : if I can relate on such a strong level, that's only because Courtney Summers's characters are so fleshed-out I feel I can grab them and see a part of myself in them. Parker sure doesn't make it easy to love her, she is unapologetic, smart-ass, and straight-on bitchy at some point. But I I cared about her, deeply, as I did about Jack, Chris, and even Becky. They feel so real to me that I can't help. As usual, her writing is raw, beautiful and compelling, and I was hooked from the beginning. Indeed her books are such page-turners that I always know that I'll end reading them in a sitting. Not to mention that we can't help but wait to know what happened to Parker to explain why she lost it. (view spoiler)[and yes it's awful, and difficult to not hate her for this, but to me that's not the point here (hide spoiler)] Congrats, Courtney Summers. Once again, you got me. Thanks so much to my incredible friend Chelsea for this birthday gift ♥ For more of my reviews, please visit:

  3. 3 out of 5

    l a i n e y

    I have no idea what to do with this book. I really don’t... It keeps breaking my heart EVERY OTHER PARAGRAPH.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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 "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 so she does the complete opposites of what she used to do as the most popular girl in school. The reason behind this bravado or is it just bravado? Well, read the book to find out.^^ I honestly admire Courtney Summers for her boldness and somewhat carelessness in her writing. For instance, the use of abrupt transitions made the story even more gripping and intense. The way she managed to pique my curiosity from beginning until the very last page is fascinating. It’s also a very rare talent to be able to portray an angsty, sarcastic, and bitchy teenage girl in a totally non-annoying way and the author did exactly that while also managing to make the character sarcastically humorous that it was never a bore reading this. The tone is actually a perfect combination of humor and grimness contributing to the originality of the entire story. “I don’t see the point of being a guidance counselor in high school if you can’t have a gun.” The characters (although stereotyped) are very effectively portrayed and you can’t help but relate with them. There’s also one character by the name of Jake that I completely adore. (view spoiler)[ I love his persistence, humor and his weirdness over women’s monthly period. Lol. (hide spoiler)] I just have one apprehension though. Reading this and several other YA contemporaries’ horrific portrayal of high school and the people in it makes me really fear for my future children. *Teeth chatter*

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 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 reason for that is due to Parker Fadley being more difficult to relate to if you're a teenage girl reading this. In Some Girls Are we understand the protagonist, we feel her pain when she is ostracised by people she once called best friends, and we also understand what she must be feeling to have no friends anymore and to want to be part of a 'crowd' in high school. Parker, on the other hand, wants none of this. She is moody, sarcastic, she is that character in many young adult books that is put there for you to hate, seemingly nasty for no reason. But what if that girl who puts people down as soon as she meets them wasn't just a throwaway character meant to incite hatred? What if she was a person with thoughts and feelings and reasons. This is what Courtney Summers does best. She takes the cliche, the stereotypical high school bitch, and she gets inside her mind. And it's a sad, lonely and eye-opening place to be. There has never been a 'bitch', high school or otherwise, that came out of her mother's womb that way. I truly love reading these books and I can't wait to read more by Courtney Summers. If you're just getting started with her novels, I recommend reading Some Girls Are first, mainly because I think that one speaks to a wider audience than Cracked Up to Be, which will suit some and not others. But whatever you do, do not make the mistake that these are typical high school novels with cute boys and mean girls, the covers can be misleading that way.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Kristi

    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 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 books of all time is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and this book parallels it’s greatness, it may even surpass it. Yeah it’s that good. I hope to be reading Summers in the future, she is an author to watch. I don’t want to get into the plot so much, because I want everyone to go in without any predispositions, well at least I don’t personally want to give anything away, I’m sure if you do some digging you can find some things out, but believe me, you don’t want to. I will say this much, I thought I had it figured out and I was wrong wrong wrong, and that is usually not the case. I found this somewhere and I don’t remember where, but it totally sums this book up: “A frightening and sobering look at the cruelty and viciousness that pervade much of contemporary high school life, as real as today's headlines.” Yeah I really wish I had written that myself. This book does not have a sugary coating. Which only makes me like it even more. And the characters, particularly perfect Parker Fadley, make this book an UNFORGETTABLE read. Would I recommend it, absolutely. Have I already been recommending it, you better believe it. Who knew it was so hard to be perfect.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Catie

    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 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 this book is about moving inward; it’s about going back to where you lost control. Parker was popular, captain of the cheerleading squad, at the top of her class, and in a long term relationship with Chris, her male counterpart. Now she’s failing, drinking in school, and sabotaging her friendships. She may not even graduate. It all seems to relate back to a party last spring, but what really happened? I may not have loved every character in this book, but I felt like I knew them all. Parker will probably be hard to sympathize with, but she’s nauseatingly familiar to me. I think that a large part of my teenage self was Parker Fadley. Parker may be a gorgeous, former queen bee/cheerleading captain, while I…uh…wasn’t, but that really doesn’t matter. Courtney Summers has portrayed Parker’s inner self: her anxiety, her guilt, and her self-imposed exile with such complete definition that it doesn’t matter what her outer circumstances are. For me, it’s impossible not to relate to Parker. The supporting cast is also completely well-defined. There are two boys in the picture, but I would never call this a love triangle. Both characters have moments of mature sensitivity and kindness, but Courtney Summers never shies away from letting them be realistic teenage boys – sex-obsessed idiocy and all. The insecure and bitter rival Becky still managed to tug at my sympathy. If you love uncompromising reality in your contemporary YA’s, then you definitely need to check out Courtney Summers. Toward the end I had a few worried moments, when I feared that Parker would become a soft, repentant, healed person, or that everything would get wrapped up with a big happily ever after for Parker’s new relationship. But I really should have known better. Summers stays true to Parker’s bitchy, insulting, defensive voice. The relationship isn’t a magic balm that’s going to heal all of her issues; only she can do that. And it’s going to take a lot of work. The ending is hopeful, but still stays true to reality. Perfect Musical Pairing Fiona Apple – Fast As You Can Fiona Apple: creating anthems for angry bitches since 1996. Parker brings me so uncomfortably close to my former self that I had to choose something that I listened to as a 16 year old (probably while shut up in my room, hating myself and brooding). This song is a warning - get away from me before I screw you over. Also seen on The Readventurer.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Tatiana

    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 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 brash and sarcastic, offends and lashes out at everyone who cares about her - parents, friends, teachers. There is a reason behind her self-destructive, self-punishing and antagonistic behavior, and it's a big one. You won't like Parker even when you find out her secret, you might even hate her then. But, with all that, she is still a human being worthy of understanding and maybe empathy or, possibly, forgiveness. Cracked Up to Be is a strong debut. I don't think the climax of the story was constructed the best way it could have been. The last few chapters are a little messy. But I do like how the novel ended. There are consequences to Parker's sins, but there is a hope for her break from the abyss of self-hate too. There are mistakes in our lives that we need to forgive ourselves for, just to survive. Even if they are as heavy as Parker's.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Manju

    Seeing all these high ratings and that promising blurb, I was very excited for this. After my last YA read turned out to be a mediocre one, i had high hopes for this but sadly this too was just another story which I would forget about in few months. I know there was something dark in the Parker's past which turned her life upside down. I gave Parker a lot of time to know her better, understand her but she just ruined it in the end. if she was unable to help someone at a certain time then she was Seeing all these high ratings and that promising blurb, I was very excited for this. After my last YA read turned out to be a mediocre one, i had high hopes for this but sadly this too was just another story which I would forget about in few months. I know there was something dark in the Parker's past which turned her life upside down. I gave Parker a lot of time to know her better, understand her but she just ruined it in the end. if she was unable to help someone at a certain time then she was hundred more chances. Instead she just isolates herself and tries to cut everyone from her. I tried my best to understand her behavior or what went through her mind, but I can't justify her actions..

  10. 3 out of 5

    Flannery

    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. 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. Snooze. 6:30—alarm goes off. Snooze 6:45—roll out of bed wearing t-shirt and boxers. Put on socks. Pick up polo shirt, kilt, and clogs from floor. Brush teeth. 7:00-7:30—drive to school. Eat granola bar. In school parking lot, put polo and kilt on over pajamas. Proceed with day. This is funny to me because Parker’s hungover/total mess description basically aligns with my every day of high school look. I don’t remember brushing my hair for four years. But, thankfully, I wasn’t such a psychological mess. The narrative in this book basically follows Parker in the present day but snippets of the night “it” happened are interspersed in the text until it all unravels. I found this both intriguing and annoying; the latter because the night kept building up little by little but what we already knew was repeated. (x, then x and y, then x and y and z) By the end, I was practically shouting at the book, “I GET IT! I KNOW XYZABCDEFGHI happened. Just frakking tell me already!” (though I already had it figured out) But you’ll notice that I gave this one four stars. I love Courtney Summers’ writing style. She writes the horrifically mean girl like no one else. (more prominently in Some Girls Are) Her characters are realistically flawed and you can almost smell the desperation that drips off of nearly every one of them, whether they are desperate for friendship, love, or forgiveness for missteps. This book isn’t for everyone for that reason—it is a frustrating read because you see all of these characters trying to help Parker find what she is looking for and she walks all over them and manipulates their feelings. I don’t know if I could have the patience for her that several of her peers did, especially considering I didn’t have much patience for her as a reader. The “love triangle” (if you can call it that) in this book was a little bizarre. Parker’s ex-boyfriend Chris is still in love with her and will basically do anything for her. The more-like-a-love-square is filled out with Parker, Chris’s new girlfriend who is Parker’s frenemy, and new guy Jake, who is attempting to get Parker to open up about what happened. Flash! Bang! Drama! Anyway, Courtney Summers lovers will find the same old awesome in this one: gritty topic, beautiful writing, a bitchity main girl, and a lightning fast read. Shoutout to Cory, who interviewed Courtney Summers last week at The Book Lantern.

  11. 4 out of 5

    may ❀

    these books are too real to be fiction. whY DOES EVERYTHING FEEL SO REAL. I DONT WANT THIS KIND OF PAIN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #4 and last book with saunta in our buddy and reread binge

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    4.5 stars. Slight spoilers follow… “I’d rather be certifiable than perpetually boring.” Initial Final Page Thoughts. ME TOO! High Points. I loved everything: the writing, the characters, the emotions, the subject. Done. *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. Heroine. You know how I really lik 4.5 stars. Slight spoilers follow… “I’d rather be certifiable than perpetually boring.” Initial Final Page Thoughts. ME TOO! High Points. I loved everything: the writing, the characters, the emotions, the subject. Done. *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. Heroine. You know how I really like my heroines to be decent human beings? Well, I really really like my heroines to be bitches. And I don’t mean the uh-oh-she-has-blonde-hair-and-she’s-a-cheerleader (or the British equivalent which is… um, something)-and-her-boyfriend-is-smokin’-and-has-hidden-depths-and-probably-will-end-up-with-the-heroine kinda bitch. I mean, like, real bitches. Parker is no cookie cutter bitch. She is brilliant and I’m saying no more because I don’t want to spoil things. Except that I have a total girlcrush on her and I have a feeling it’s all going to end in tears. Love Interest(s). Eh, who am I kidding? This is Parker’s story… these boys didn’t even had a look in. Theme Tune. Girls Like You by The Naked and Famous. Sadness Scale 7/10. I’ve never understood the belief that a book can only be classed as having a happy ending if the MC gets with the boy/girl. Surely the reader, if they really connected with a character, would want to see them battle fearlessly against what is plaguing them and destroying them from the inside? With that in mind,and only a slight implied spoiler, this is one of the happiest and hopeful endings I’ve read in a long time. The subject matter of Cracked Up to Be (secrets) has been done before; but never quite like this. It’s remarkable that a book of only 200 pages can be so rich and dense with realistic emotions. So, bravo Ms Summers. Bravo. Oh and also, it took me about three hours to read this book. Coincidentally that was half the amount of time it took me to get over one scene, towards the end. Jeez louise. Was that necessary?! WAS IT?! Recommended For. People who don’t believe that the purpose of boys in literature is to solve every problem that faces the heroine. People who like their heroines with a bit of spark…and sadistic, manipulative and incredibly clever. People who get frustrated when authors can’t handle a flashback (MS Summers can, by the by). People who look for deeper-meanings in art projects. People whose idea of “romantic” is no underwear. People who don’t get overly attached to fictional critters. You can read this review and lots of other exciting things on my blog here.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Poonam

    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 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 out with the most popular guy and at the top of the pecking order in her high school. I didn't want to be popular because it was easier; I wanted to be popular because in high school that's the best thing you can be: perfect. Everything else is shit. But something has gone wrong, she has broken up with her boyfriend, is drinking and no more interested in studies, it feels more like Parker is not interested in life anymore... Somehow I expected Parker's ex-boyfriend to be a douche bag but he is actually really sweet. Jake Gardner and Parker's relation is really interesting. The author has dived into the the typical high-school cliche and come-up with more vulnerable aspects of each and every typical high-school character. The story even though focused on a a destructive character still has humor and Parker even though depressed is very spunky. The ending was a bit out of sync and a bit of a let down (view spoiler)[She gets drunk 1 night, sees her friend getting raped, does not do anything and the next morning also does not say anything. What the hell!! And this thought is destroying her. She loves her friend but just let's her friends disappearance go without taking any action. Throughout the story she is depressed and we know maybe she has done something wrong, but this just does not make sense... Maybe it's about how she is not perfect anymore but it did not go down with me (hide spoiler)] I felt the ending somehow could have been different and better.... This is a first read by this author for me and I really liked how the story flows. I will definitely be checking out more books by her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tabby

    THE REVIEW 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 THE REVIEW 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 out and relatable. I'm definitely going to check out more from this author.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Penny

    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 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 towards herself was completely deserved, for the rest part she was a bit heartless. So I don't see the point in this book. Parker changes after some kind of trauma she experienced and her family, friends and teachers are trying to cope with this change while being lenient with her and trying to help her over and over again. I can't believe how all the people around her are such pushovers and masochistic. I don't understand were all their care is coming from. Parker is a bich, unbelievably selfish and a horrible person. I don't care that she has issues, everyone has them. That doesn't explain or excuse anything about her. I might understand where she is coming from but that does not excuses or forgives her. Everything is on her and I can't pity her or sympathize with her seeing as she has so many people that care about her when she doesn't deserve them. Her problems were caused by her own choices, and beside the fact of her felling rightly guilty about what she did, or better yet, about what she didn't do and should undoubtedly have done, I didn't see her trying to rectify anything. I am confused as to what this book is trying to say, if is trying to say something at all because I sure don't see it, it's completely pointless. However, it does make me mad to have wasted my time with this ugly story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Arlene

    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 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.

  17. 3 out of 5

    jesse

    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 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 getting in her pants. he did say he loved her and always would, at one point in the story, but their relationship seemed so ... superficial. becky was awful, there just is no other word to describe her. jake, oh jake. he was the lost puppy in this play, he was the one character i maybe even could’ve liked if it weren’t for the fact that he was so bent on getting hurt and impinging on parker’s personal space (stalking her, meddling in stuff he had no business meddling in, in a very annoying way). way to go!

  18. 3 out of 5

    Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

    *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 *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 it's gone, it's really gone. I rate based on how I feel....and I just don't know what I feel. I keep (in my head) going from a 4 to a 3 to a 2 to a 3.5 to a 4. Because, like with all Courtney Summers novels, I felt ALL emotions...but they were different this time. I felt them more intensely. And not necessarily in a good way. One minute I was happy, the next I was sad and aching for more and I just wasn't able to put a pin on what exactly worked for me. And, in the end, I wanted more for this horribly fucked up character and I don't know I don't know I don't knooooow. I just still can't express how I feel. I get caught up in outcomes. I convince myself they're truths. No one will notice how wrong you are if everything you do ends up right. The rest becomes incidental. So incidental that, after a while, you forget. Maybe you are perfect. Good. It must be true. Who can argue with results? You're not so wrong after all. So you buy into it and you go crazy maintaining it. Except it creeps up on you sometimes, that you're not right. Imperfect. Bad. So you snap your fingers and it goes away. Until something you can't ignore happens and you see it all over yourself. I felt like I was underneath a microscope. I felt as if my brain was pried open like a gaping wound for everyone to see, because I just couldn't put a mask on my displeasure or my happiness or my crying and it was like this raw, ripping open of my soul because poor Parker. Poor, poor Parker. I couldn't stand how she treated Jake but I understood it. I hated when she pushed him away or made him think she felt less about him than she really did....because that's what she wanted. She wanted people to hate her, she wanted to fade into the background. And it just hurt me so deeply when she would push people away....because 'that's how it had to be.' I lean against the door. I should be sitting so we can have our weekly session where I pick the lint off my skirt and determinedly maintain my silence while she stares at me, except today I have to break that silence. And all for a boy, too. How degrading. This book was a lot like Unteachable for me. I gave that book a 4 even though it depressed me 90% of the time because despite all that...I couldn't put it down, ya know? What does that say? The writing. Wow, the writing. It always transports me to another world and I adore this author and I guess I should know a star rating but I can't put a finger on what feels right...and that's how I always choose. It just feels right when I think of a rating. When I click a star, I release all this built up energy because everything falls into place and fits so perfectly with my review. But when I think of clicking a star here, nothing fits. Not for this story. "See you tomorrow," I call after her. She stops, turns and gives me a hilariously quizzical look. It could be worth it for this alone. "What?" "I'll see you tomorrow. For the semi-formal? You, me, Chris and Jake." I force a big smile at her. "I'm really looking forward to it." I'm such a bitch, but Becky makes it so easy. So...this wasn't a review. And I don't really care if anyone reads it or doesn't read it because I can't give people an honest answer. I loved a lot of parts. But I also hated a lot of parts, as well. I suppose I could break it down a little for you guys, just as an end note? Loved: -Jake -Writing -Story/plot in general -The Humor -Parker's snark towards everyone, it made me laugh a lot (She's such a bitch) Liked: -Parker -How she put her walls up -Her family -The mystery behind why she is the way she is Didn't love at all: -Animal (That's all I'll say on that matter) -Becky. Annoying bitch -The conclusion. I really really really wanted more, but I understood it, as well -How Jake was treated (It was sometimes funny, but other times it broke my heart) So. You know. There you go. For more of my reviews, please visit:

  19. 5 out of 5

    Giselle

    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 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 us via strange behavior from Parker which seem insignificant at first, but as the book progresses the feeling gets more urgent, and is mixed with flashbacks that leaves us wondering what the heck exactly happened here. These flashbacks gets longer at each telling; every time she remembers, she gets thrown a little deeper into this blocked memory that, in the end, weaves itself together into an emotionally distressing story. We don't get to fully understand the reason behind her intense attitude until the very end. Still, you know something happened; you know she did not choose to be this way, something broke her, made her bitter. For this reason I found it easy to look past her bitchiness and feel bad for whatever it is that she is going through. It also helps that Courtney has a way of creating genuine characters. Characters that are easy to sympathize with no matter their outward personality, because it's clear this crappy attitude is only a front, something Parker is hiding behind. I already feel like I summed up this whole book in that mere paragraph. It's a fairly short read and while the plot is compelling from start to finish with amazing characters, energy, and the feels, it's hard to get into the thick of it since it consists of layer after layer of answers that eventually come full circle for the big reveal. By far, the best part of the novel is Parker herself. Full of attitude and energy, she tells us this story in the best way she can: amidst snark and outbursts. She hardly remembers what happened herself, though she's slowly regaining her memory of this horrific event that we're in the midst of discovering alongside her. When we do finally get the whole story, I did have to go over the reveal a couple of times to get everything straight. Some of the details come out a little fuzzy at the end. This is likely due to the same memory being repeated throughout the book which ultimately connects under different circumstances than we first had imagined. We're left to mold these memories to fit a tragic event that once seemed innocent; it changes our perspective of it all. Moving on to the ending itself, I thought it was memorable, realistic, and we come to understand Parker completely. However, I did find the romantic aspect's conclusion a tad underwhelming. I expected something… different, and was more than disappointed by the unfair finality of it all. Call me a romantic at heart? Cracked Up to Be is an emotional foray into the gritty reality that is PTSD. Parker is not here for you to like her; her arrogant personality and unabashed attitude is a way out, out of the guilt that is almost literally eating her alive. Like This Is Not a Test, this one is for the fans of sharp and unapologetic contemps! And if you love audiobooks, the narrator nailed Parker's voice! -- For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads

  20. 3 out of 5

    Ash

    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' 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't realize that she actually needs the help that people are offering her. I can relate to her in that sense though. It does seem pretty stupid that such big problems can be fixed in such simple ways. I can't see how she's able to be so horrible to the people around her though. It's just selfish that she cares too much about her own feelings of wanting to be alone that she doesn't care if she hurts someone else. You'd think with all the guilt she feels she'd want to stop hurting people. It was just plain painful seeing her destroy herself and her relationships, and then distance herself from the people who cared about her. The secret that keeps her guilt ridden is a pretty horrible one. I'm not sure if I could ever forgive myself for something like that. I stopped about halfway through and skipped around until the end. The ending does give a sense of hope that Parker will get better, but I still don't recommend it. It's not because I hated it or because it was bad writing, because it wasn't. There just isn't any point in reading a book that is so sad and depressing when the conclusion doesn't seem to give very much resolution. If you do decide to read it anyway (who knows, maybe I missed something great in between those couple pages that I skipped completely) then I think I should warn you that this book has sexual content, crude humor, underage drinking (duh) and a good dose of cussing (which we all know is what high school is really like).

  21. 3 out of 5

    Tina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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 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 ... I can't feel sympathy for someone who did that. I disliked her even more. I can't sympathize with someone who cries out for attention, gets the attention, now she's pissed she's got the attention, but she'll be even more pissed when she doesn't get the attention. What's with the finger snaps? I picture a mental ward when I read that. I picture her in the corner snapping her fingers for no reason. Maybe the author wants us to have strong feelings for Parker. If that's the case, I went the opposite way from most people. Would I recommend? I'm on the fence.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    Buddy read with a poop. I've heard this book is heartbreaking and wow I'm here for some pain!!!! always count on Courtney Summers if you want good pain!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    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 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 every move, they all wonder the same question. "What happened?" She's no longer perfect- she's broken, lost and fierce. My main concern for Cracked Up To Be was how on earth would I come to terms of somewhat acquaintances with Parker. She's rude, arrogant and completely rebellious. And a mouth full of snark. And an absolute pain in the butt. However what kept me engaged with Parker's story was my curiosity to know what big 'something' happened on the night when she changed. Trust me people when I say that it is 100% worth waiting for. Nonetheless, that is not to say that Parker was insufferable- I was entertained by her bold attitude and her intentions behind everything she does. Courtney Summers has me awed by her way of creating a seemingly frustrating character into a someone to feel for and love in the end. Parker is flawed but that's what made me want to hug her in the end- she's that kind of bitch that we all adore to pieces. What I also appreciated was the love interest. Usually, in the typical genre of contemporaries, the love interest is the solution to emo girls' problems. For Cracked Up To Be, this was not the case at all. Jake was the sweet, farcical boy that Courtney Summers slowly incorporated into a sub-plot for extra swoons. This was an implausible contrast to the darker side of this novel- the balance was commendable and really took Cracked Up To Be to the next level. There's no wasted drama here. I still find myself savouring the craftiness of Courtney Summer's writing. If writing was a sport, Summers would be a ninja. The flashbacks aren't random or irrelevant. They are so carefully calculated that it feels like we are uncovering the traumatic night with Parker herself. The flashbacks came longer each time and more revealing and intense. And in the end, I could finally realise why Parker was acting the loud bitch she was. Courtney Summers' debut is intrusive, real and downright fabulous. Being my first one by her, I will definitely be looking out for her other works. Everything in this novel was so raw, no matter how frustrating Parker could get at times. This book in three words? Real, raw and wonderful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    kari

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Blech! An unpleasant protagonist about whom I could never find a way to care or make any connection. This is a girl who witnesses something terrible which she refuses to tell anyone about and then manages to make this all about herself. Really, that's what she does. Going from the most popular cheerleader, A+ student to a drunk, sloppy nobody who still manages to keep everyone's attention did NOT make me feel anything about her other than disgust. There are two boys, one her ex, Chris, and one new Blech! An unpleasant protagonist about whom I could never find a way to care or make any connection. This is a girl who witnesses something terrible which she refuses to tell anyone about and then manages to make this all about herself. Really, that's what she does. Going from the most popular cheerleader, A+ student to a drunk, sloppy nobody who still manages to keep everyone's attention did NOT make me feel anything about her other than disgust. There are two boys, one her ex, Chris, and one new guy, Jake and I could never figure out what about her attracted either of them. I get that she and Chris have a history so that makes a bit of sense. Even Jake says he doesn't know why he is attracted to her since she is about as mean as a person can be with no thought of anyone but herself. Their start-and-stop romance didn't ring true because I can't imagine any boy would put up with Parker's crap, particularly a boy who barely knows her. She simply isn't so fabulous that she gives any reason to stick around. On page 207 Parker thinks; "I am a bad person." Well, I know I'm supposed to be feeling sorry for her that she's such a mess, by her own choices, but honestly all I'm left feeling is that yes, Parker you ARE a bad person. Parker witnesses her best friend, being attacked and kidnapped, at a party and she does NOTHING. Not then. And not when the friend is missing. She never tells what she saw or knows because she feels guilty and she SHOULD feel guilty. Her meanness started a chain of events leading to her friend's death. And she does nothing. Not a thing. First, when she sees her friend being attacked, she could have grabbed a tree branch and whacked the guy or screamed or jumped on the guy and pulled him off, but she didn't. At the very least, she could have run back inside and screamed that her friend was being attacked. She didn't do that either.She went back to the party and didn't mention what she saw. When her friend doesn't arrive home, she doesn't tell the police what she saw or what she knows. And then self-destructs, making sure she remains the center of attention. Oh, her thoughts are that she's trying to disappear. You know what, if you're trying to disappear, you blend, you make sure you aren't noticeable. Not breaking the dress code, flunking classes and showing up for class drunk. Yeah, not so invisible. By the end of this book, I could NOT STAND Parker and I sincerely hoped that Jake would never come back and waste one more minute of his time with her. I can't imagine why anyone would waste their time on her. I get that she is/was a perfectionist and that's how she went about her life. She believed as long as she got the results she wanted, that it didn't matter how she behaved or whom she hurt. But here's the thing. To make this work, to see how horribly she's suffering, Parker needed to be a better person before this happened. I needed to see the difference in her before and after. Since there is no clear picture of her before, I can't do that and the glimpses of the before that we get aren't positive. She was mean, start to finish. My advice is skip this one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    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 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 she treats others. Something not easy when you're a teenager. Take this book and read it with a grain of salt.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Booknut

    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 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 thoughts, mind and unravelling of a girl whose sole mission in life was to ruin it for herself - drowning her past of perfection and popularity in demons, delinquent behaviour and a flippancy that at first glance seems like a facade, but is really her. 100% broken and 100% knowledgeable of the fact. Machiavellian principals have been utilised in books for years. The word 'Machiavellian' means cunning, scheming - the end justifying the means. Our main protagonist, Parker, tends to be a little Machiavellian in nature. Manipulating the sessions with her school counsellor, she is quite like the hero of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - you don't know whether she is insane or not. Is it an act? And why she is so satisfied by the distress she causes others? When they believe her lies? One moment she is arguing that, no, she didn't do such-and-such, but the next moment she is neither confirming nor denying the accusation - smirking and perfectly calm, perhaps snapping her fingers quickly...a bad habit of hers. Parker is refreshingly, beautifully damaged. Courtney Summers' creation of a main character so devoid of the natural feelings we associate with human beings, is breathtaking. Parker's way of speaking in a blunt, cutting manner that somehow not only inflicts pain but sounds genuine - almost like she is sorry to be telling the truth and what she thinks, but she's going to anyway and screw you - is the hook that pulls you in. I've read many books where the main protagonist is 'insane' or 'depressed'...maybe even 'suicidal'. But those attempts at recreating reality pale in comparison to this book. Parker is raw, real and her obsessive compulsive nature contains so many facets that there is no way of writing her off as fake, stereotypical and exaggerated. Parker is the real deal. Books - good books at least - manage to evoke a response from the readers, normally an emotional one. This book was unique in the way it made me laugh sadly. Not 'laughing and crying'. No. More like laughing with a twinge of sadness for Parker who is just so wrapped up in this game she plays, with herself and others, that she can't even find herself any longer. The jokes were great. But Courtney Summers never lets you forget that this is not a story about a highschool girl with issues, who goes to prom, has boy issues and got drunk a few times. This is a story about a girl whose search - whose drive - for perfection drove her to the brink and when she fell, no one caught her. Instead, she picked herself up - broken, shattered and traumatised - and hid herself; letting the wounds scab over. But the people around her wouldn't let the wounds scab. They would send her to therapy, ask questions, make her 'do' things, talk, go to school complete tests...the scabs get ripped off so many times the skin becomes raw. So she pushed them away. They come on more. Raw, in pain and drowning, the girl does the only thing she can. She pretends the wounds don't exist. She puts on a show. The show is so good that those around her are no longer certain that the wounds are there - they begin to think she's playing up, wanting attention. The girl is appeased. She is content. Now her wounds are left alone. Now she can lose herself without the fear of being found. I know I'm ranting a little, but bear with me! This book was amazing. And the reason I get so excited about discussing it, is I have always been fascinated with authors who can so accurately see into the human mind - especially a mind in trauma. Courtney Summers' representation of Parker is spot on. Perfect down to her very last flaw. You don't see Parker as a 'character' - like you would, with say, Becky the snotty cheerleader who dislikes Parker intensely. And this is Courtney's genius. You see the rest of these characters as silly, fake and two-dimensional. Exactly like Parker sees them. You become immersed in Parker's mind. You become Parker. And when a book has the ability to do that, it needs to be recognised for the sheer effort that must have gone into it. That said, I'm sure people could find flaws. Some of the plot bits are silly. Parker is petty - about her former position as head cheerleader - and her finger snapping is annoying, her tendencies aggravating. But this is what makes it real. Parkers is screwed up. So don't expect her ways, her mind, her words or her life to make any sense. Don't expect to read a touching YA fiction story where the girl meets a guy who loves her for who she really is and they get together, complication comes, but they overcome it and they love each other forever. Because you will be sorely disappointed - both when reading the book, and in real life :) But what this book teaches you above all else is that perfection is subjective. We try so hard to find perfection. Every day. Whether it's how we look, how we talk, how someone views us or how well we do in something. No one - no one at all - can look you in the eye and tell you they don't. Because we all tend to find it sometimes. Even for a moment. A split second. Because that feeling we get when we catch a glimpse of that much-sought-after perfection is exhilarating! It really is. But is perfection worth the trauma we inflict on ourselves? The constant analysis of our days? Of ourselves? Why do we inflict that kind of torture on ourselves, searching for something we can never truly get fully because we are human and flawed. This book teaches you that getting TRUE perfection is not easy and very, very hard - as well as not worth it. But it also teaches you, through Parker's journey, that you shouldn't do the opposite. In other words, turn your life into a ruin and treat everyone like crap because hey - perfection is out of reach and you can do what you want! Not at all. You should be the best person you can be without losing yourself. Take each day as it comes. And don't fret over what you can't change. Cracked Up to Be was twisted, raw and eye-opening. I became good friends with Parker (well...as good a friends as anyone could possibly get with someone like her!). And I think her tale will touch others for years to come.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    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 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 writer and in no way would I be putting her down in mentioning her (*see my list of 5-star books). Dessen provides a very strict formula for her writing: girl has mother issues, girl is lonely/friendless-for-whatever-reason, girl meets boy, and girl finds her place in life. This works for Dessen. She’s one of those authors where you can depend on her to give you a path from A to B, which is why most people love her writing. You can depend on her to use that formula to bring readers a powerful, powerful message. And then you have authors like Melina Marchetta, Richelle Mead, Elizabeth Scott. Why do these authors have such a huge fan-base? Because they’re fantastic writers. They’re able to elicit emotions and thoughts that you wouldn’t bring to yourself without their help. They bring out tears and frustration and ultimate love for a wide margin of diverse characters and they make you care. You know they’re fantastic, but you don’t know what to expect from them. I went into Courtney Summers’ debut novel expecting a somewhat light read. Little did I know the emotional rollercoaster I was about to be taken on. Because when you have a writer like Summers, who writes like she’s a teenager herself...how are you going to find something more real? Summers gives you a book where there’s a broken mean girl, something you don’t find often enough in high school (but find more often in their third year of college). She gives you a story where you’re left wondering what it was that broke the girl who had been at the top of the world. Interesting enough, right? … And then, off she goes, and throws in the emotion. There’s one hell of a lot of emotion in CRACKED UP TO BE. I don’t know where it comes from. It hits you in the face and teases you, makes you cry, and then hits you in the face again. I won’t say a single thing about the plot of this book except for this: even the ending won’t blow you away as much as the emotion Summers writes with, and the ending is jaw-dropping. I want to focus entirely on this author’s writing for a second. She makes you care for a cold hearted bitch who thinks for nothing and nobody except for herself. She makes you want the best for her. Summers makes you see that things, as cliché as it may be, aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Don’t tell me you don’t want to reads a book like that. CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers Audience: 14+ Rating: 5/5 Recommend?: 100% yes.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Rebecca A. Rogers

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've heard nothing but praise for this book...and I felt let down. While there were some comical lines (and some did make me laugh out loud), I just couldn't connect with Parker. The only reason I continued reading this book was to find out what the big secret was, why Parker suddenly started drinking, attempted suicide, and pushed everyone away. CS drops flashback scenes here and there, but it didn't help much. I wasn't even remotely engrossed until after the first hundred pages. Then the flash I've heard nothing but praise for this book...and I felt let down. While there were some comical lines (and some did make me laugh out loud), I just couldn't connect with Parker. The only reason I continued reading this book was to find out what the big secret was, why Parker suddenly started drinking, attempted suicide, and pushed everyone away. CS drops flashback scenes here and there, but it didn't help much. I wasn't even remotely engrossed until after the first hundred pages. Then the flashback scenes became more intense, so I continued reading. Parker's friend Jessie has been missing for a year, which is the basis of Parker's problems. Even after knowing what happened the night Parker lost it (the night Jessie went missing), I still don't feel for her. Everything was blown out of proportion. Parker blabbed to Jessie that Jessie's boyfriend, Evan, was cheating on her and that's when shit hit the fan. Jessie rebounded with some college guy at the party, but they disappeared. When Parker found them in the woods, Jessie was being raped. My problem with this is: why didn't Parker stop what was happening? Why didn't she say something--anything? Better yet, why did she lie to the police by saying she didn't know where Jessie was? Another problem that nagged at the back of my brain was the fact that Parker had an ex who still cared about her, and a guy who was falling for her. Yet she teeter-tottered between the two, like she couldn't make up her mind. Exes are exes for a reason. And the new guy couldn't be more awesome. Dude puts up with a LOT of smartass comments from Parker. So much so that I'm convinced any normal guy would've been uninterested after the basic "fuck off" hint. I hate to see strong protagonists just stand back and not do anything, not even try to make things better, especially when Parker had an assortment of individuals who still cared about her well-being. This was well-written, and the voice was definitely there, but as a whole, the book irritated me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paige Bookdragon

    History repeats itself. Fucking hell. This reminds me of the awesomeness of Some Boys. Synopsis 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 History repeats itself. Fucking hell. This reminds me of the awesomeness of Some Boys. Synopsis 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 her on suicide watch and her conselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there's a nice guy falling in love with her and he's making her feel things again when she'd really rather not be feeling anything at all. Nobody would have guessed she'd turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth. Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault. Review without any spoiler. This is my first Courtney Summers read and - I take that back. This is my first and a half Courtney Summers read. I started reading her This is Not a Test before and I was not mentally ready for her book yet so I put that one on hold. After a few months, I saw this book and I was instantly hooked with the blurb. I mean, read the blurb I painstakingly copied and pasted to this review and tell me if you're not fucking curious. So read I did and I was HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS IS SO BLOODY GOOD.WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ?! THIS CAN MAKE ANY MOTHERFUCKER BLOW HIS DIPSHIT MIND AWAY ASDFKFBU$C@!OLF&@$! Let me tell you about the main character who I loved very much. Meet PARKER. She used to be the perfect student. Now, she's the perfect bad ass. Well, according to the blurb, something bad happened and she knows it's her fault so naturally she gets all depressed big time and everyone is on her ass thinking she's suicidal. And what's so good about this heroine? She's so bitchy and funny that you just can't help but love her even though she's a queen bicth in the time of depression. On a serious note, I love reading realistic fiction because it portrays human emotion in scenarios in a way you can actually relate to. This book portays about the power of guilt ....and a lot of philosophical things I ain't gonna talk about because it will give away spoilers. So before I lose control of myself and bombard you with a shitload of spoilers, read the damn book.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Keertana

    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 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 they were two and a half months ago as my eyes read the words that conveyed her story to me. And, just as I was so many days previously, I am speechless. Cracked Up to Be, is not a perfect Courtney Summers novel in the way This is Not a Test is. Although I find myself unprepared to talk about this novel, that doesn't prevent me from admitting that I found the ending to be too abrupt, too devoid of the emotional punch I was looking for that marked the last line of Summers latest book. And yet, Cracked Up to Be is just as strong, raw, and powerful. Parker, the protagonist of our tale, is as "unlikable" as heroines come. Not only does she exude snark, but she genuinely despises people and wants to be left alone. Parker is rude, she is cruel, she is as mean as the most despicable villains of legend. And yet, Courtney Summers makes us sympathize, empathize, and only want the best for her. Just like the majority of the characters in this novel who never give up on Parker, doing their best to break through her tough defenses, we become just as invested and curious about her sudden fall from fame, her unexpected and self-imposed wall. It is Parker who makes Cracked Up to Be the successful novel it is. As the truth behind Parker's past slowly comes to light, the relationships with her parents and friends disintegrate and re-build only to fall apart, our hearts and brains are turned to mush and broken and stomped on and overturned again and again and again. While objectively Parker doesn't seem to be the type of protagonist we can relate to, we all have our bad days, our bad moments, and the times in our lives when we simply want to punish ourselves and reading Cracked Up to Be is a snarling reminder of the monster that lurks beneath the surface of us all. It is beautifully written and wonderfully rendered, so much so that I can only beg you to read it. Not for me, not for Parker, and not even for Courtney Summers, but for yourself. I sincerely doubt you'll regret it. You can read this review" and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.