Cracked Up to Be
Published (re-release) February 4, 2020
About Cracked Up to Be
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.
I’m a fan of Courtney Summers’ writing and the often heartbreaking stories she boldly tells of girls who are angry and sad and recovering from trauma.
It’s interesting to me that there’s so much emphasis on the characters as unlikeable. I totally see why people classify them that way. And there’s one of her books where I really struggled with liking the main character, but it’s definitely not this one.
Parker’s clearly a mess and in the midst of a pretty sharp downward spiral. There’s a constant tug of war in her over punishing herself for her past mistakes and yet still wanting to be loved despite them, even though she doesn’t feel like she deserves it.
I’m often really moved by the community element in the stories I read, and the community around Parker in CRACKED UP TO BE definitely moved me. Her friends and teachers aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But they care about Parker, and in their sometimes weird, sometimes broken, sometimes imperfect ways, they continue to reach out to her and try to help her in her recovery. That really got to me. And in a way I thought it showed other sides of Parker than she wanted to show us in her version of her story.
I saw other readers comment that they were driven to know what had happened to Parker. It remains a mystery through most of the book, but it drove me forward. Her behavior convinced me that something terrible had happened, and I knew that either she would have to face it or be destroyed by it.
CRACKED UP TO BE is, at times, a difficult/dark read, but I spent every page rooting for Parker, hoping for her to find a breakthrough and be able to start healing. It’s a great book for fans of angsty stories like WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart and YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE by Rachel Lynn Solomon.
Recommended for Ages 16 up.
Most of the characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used pretty frequently. Some crude/sexual comments.
Romance/Sexual Content – Trigger Warning
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex. Brief, disjointed description of a rape. It’s more a snapshot description of the scene and then the realization that it’s a rape.
Parker and her friends attend a private Catholic school. One scene takes place in the school’s chapel.
Violent Content – Trigger Warning
A couple very brief, violent moments. See romantic content. Also at one point a boy starts to attack a girl. References to two suicide attempts.
Several scenes show teens drinking alcohol. There’s some reference to taking pills as part of a suicide attempt.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog. I received a free copy of CRACKED UP TO BE in exchange for my honest review.