Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

 Before, Parker was perfect. Before, Parker was head cheerleader and girlfriend to the most popular guy in school. Before, Parker was a teacher’s pet and was getting good grades.

Now she shows up at school drunk, skips class and the school has her on suicide watch.  The only thing she wants to do is disappear, she definitely doesn’t want to talk about it. Blaming herself for something horrible that’s happened, Parker tries her best to prove that she’s not feeling anything at all, and just wants to stay out of everyone’s way until she graduates. But the past has a habit of catching up with you.

Cracked up to be is a haunting story of a girl’s self-destruction. Courtney Summers gives the reader a character that is broken and heartbreaking, yet completely loveable. While some may find her bad attitude frustrating, I found Parker’s dark humour and frailness compelling. I also especially enjoyed Summers’ commentary on some of the pressure of being popular. “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.” There is a lot of dialogue which makes the story move quickly. Summers also does a brilliant job of using repeating flashbacks to give the reader a bit more of the ‘incident’ each time. Overall, I thought this was a really great story with some surprises, poignant observations and beautiful characters. 

You might enjoy Cracked up to be if you like books with: a lot of dialogue, fast moving plots, a very central main character, real life elements, serious issues, suspense

Other books by Courtney Summers: Some Girls Are

If you liked Cracked up to be you might also enjoy: Crash into me by Albert Borris, Beautiful by Amy Reed, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Black Tuesday by Susan Colebank

Author’s website found here.

Rathing: W4/4   C4/4   P4/4   O3.5/4   PP3/4   CR2.5/4

Grade: S

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