3.86 (9,895 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.86 (9,895 ratings by Goodreads)
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Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from "an author to watch" (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she's about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap-one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery-she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High-perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna's journal tells a different story-one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane's jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna's journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live-and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 25mm | 376g
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • United States
  • English
  • f-c jacket (spfx: metallic stock with matte finish, 2 hits of opaque white, emboss, and spot gloss)
  • 1442452161
  • 9781442452169
  • 354,451

Review quote

"Golden shimmers and shines-what a treasure." -- Lisa Schroeder, author of I Heart You, You Haunt Me "The protagonist is a well-drawn and sympathetic character. Her struggles to find herself will resonate with many teans, and the faltering romance will draw readers in. Sure to be popular." * School Library Journal * "The novel is rich in its characterizations, deep in its reflections about teenage
life, and compelling as a mystery." * Booklist, *Starred Review * "Kirby's third novel is inspirational and contemplative in its mood and tone. Multifaceted characters and dashes of mystery and romance come together in a successful mediation on the value of taking an active role in one's life." * Publisher's Weekly *
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About Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby is the author of Moonglass, which was an ABA New Voices selection in 2011; In Honor; and Golden. When she's not writing, she works as a middle school librarian. She lives with her husband and two children in Crystal Cove, California. Visit her at
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Rating details

9,895 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 33% (3,232)
4 34% (3,378)
3 23% (2,257)
2 7% (712)
1 3% (316)

Our customer reviews

Parker Frost should totally concentrate on writing her Valedictorian speech, but after getting her hands on the journal of town legend Julianna Farnetti she can't help herself to dive deeper into the mystery surrounding the love story that ended in tragedy so many years ago. Together with her longtime crush Trevor and her best friend Kat she's set on finding out what happened to the famous couple and maybe even finding love herself. Jessi Kirby used a quote by Marie Oliver as the book's overall theme. Living your life to its fullest extends, making new memories every day, never having to look back in regret of the things you didn't do. What a brilliant quote for GOLDEN! I read GOLDEN with fascination and was so delighted about the prospect of Parker and Trevor's love story. They took their time, and missed their chances and it took them till the very end of GOLDEN to reveal their true feelings. There is something about Jessi Kirby's book that is so deep and moving you never want to let it go, to treasure it. Whereas the overall story worked for me, the romance between Parker and Trevor wouldn't be enough to make this book a favourite of mine. Their romance was missing something in the end. It took so much time to establish their love story and when I started to get in the mood and was waiting for them to have their big and super special moment the story was just over. Whereas the second love story of the two lovers from years ago was obscure and perfectly rewarding. A tragedy and unforgettable tale of epic love all the same. 4/5 **** GOLDEN - A glowing and pensive read about first love and last chances! Buy GOLDEN and get two love stories in one book, one from the past and another for the present. No need to pick one over the other, you can root for both to get their happy ending. GOLDEN has a bunch of characters that I'd love to see again in a companion novel or more
by MissPageTurner
My Take: From the opening: . . . our worlds are sometimes balanced on choices we make and the secrets we keep. Parker Frost is 17-years-old, a girl who has always done what was expected of her and at the beginning of this novel, it is all starting to pay off. She has been chosen as a finalist for the Cruz-Farnetti scholarship, which will give her a free ride to the Stanford pre-med program. Her father, a writer and professor, has always insisted that they are distant relatives of Robert Frost, and excerpts of his poetry appear throughout the novel. Her mother, disappointed in her own life, has been the main force in Parker's life so far. She wants her daughter to make better, more logical, choices than she herself made, and she takes no pains to hide her disappointment whenever she feels Parker isn't measuring up. The Cruz-Farnetti scholarship was founded after the death of a "golden couple" - Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz - in a car accident ten years before. Although their bodies were never found, the Jeep they were in was found half-submerged and they are presumed dead. Parker works a teaching assistant for a well-liked teacher named Mr. Kinney. One of Mr. Kinney's senior projects calls for the students to keep a journal of their life, hopes, and ambitions, and hand it in to him at the end of the year. He then seals the unread journals to send back to the students ten years later. When Parker goes through the lot of journals to be sent back this year, she comes across Julianna's journal. Against her normal nature, she decides to keep the journal for a while and to read it herself. As she reads, she comes across quite a few surprises. Her friend Kat has been urging her to do "something bold" just once before she goes off to college, and the journal provides the impetus for her. When she finally shares the journal with Kat, they both decide to find answers. When Kat shares the discovery with Trevor, the boy who has had a crush on Kat since forever, all three find themselves on a road trip that may change not only their own destinies, but others as well. I don't know how to sum up this story. The synopsis does not do it justice, although the title does. This book IS golden - it shimmers with emotion, and hopes, and longings. As I opened the pages and began reading, I was totally immersed in Parker's story. She is a reflection of all of us who strived to do our best to succeed in high school and beyond. She's like all soon-to-be-adults - seeking and questioning and wondering. Coupled with Julianna's tragic story, the reader is rooting and hoping and sometimes even finding a tear or two rolling down as they continue to read. I'm not a huge Nicholas Sparks fan, but this story pulled those kinds of emotional heartstrings without being overly dramatic or sentimental. This is a perfect read for any age. I believe it's billed as "New Adult", but this older adult loved it. An emotional, heart-tugging read with a bit of mystery and romance. Highly recommended. QUOTES: Kat will end up staying here because the mess that is her mom will make her feel like she has to. Where my mom drives me insane with her never-ending sermons on how important it is that I achieve more and do better than she did, Kat's seems to wonder why her daughter should ever want or deserve anything beyond a job that barely pays the bills, an endless string of guys she hopes will, and the resulting need to find comfort in a bottle when they don't. She meant I should do something unexpected that would leave me with something I could keep and remember. An experience instead of a goal. And I get what she means. She's right about me not having very many of those to show for four years of high school. But it seems to me that the experiences that stay with you, the things you'll always remember, aren't the ones you can force, or go looking for. I've always thought of those things as the ones that somehow find you. True love, meant to be, fate, destiny, serendipity, kismet. They're all his romantic words. Words saved for movies and books and fiction. Not for real life. In real life parents get divorced and people live unfulfilled lives and love goes unrequited and there are no second chances or do-overs or perfect moments. BLOGGERS: Have you reviewed this book? If so, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section; I will also add your link to the body of my review. Writing: 4.5 out of 5 stars Plot: 4 out of 5 stars Characters: 4 out of 5 stars Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars BOOK RATING: 4.4 out of 5 stars Sensitive Reader: Some profanity, an F-bomb dropped here and there. Book Club Recommendation: more
by Julie Smith
I really enjoyed this one. It was much deeper than I expected, because of the title and the cover, I was expecting more of a beach read, but that is okay. I liked what I got. Parker is a main character that I can relate to. She is smart, driven, and doesn't really step out of line much, and she has the best friend that urges her to let go a little more, but still supports her all the way. This could have been me for the most part in school, so it definitely brings back memories. Watching her connect with Juliana was great, and I loved that mystery and even though I knew the ending to her story because it is one of the first things we learned, I didn't know how she got there, and if there might be more to it than it seems. And Parker goes on that emotional and revealing journey through the pages and discovers a lot about herself and her life through it. And even learns to let loose. She begins to questions what choices she made and what choices were made by her well-meaning but still controlling mom. The chemistry and banter with Trevor was nice, and I was always anxious to see if it would develop into more as the story went on. I loved his flirtatious nature, and his patience. That there is more to him than a pretty face--he is counted on for getting them out of binds, and as support for a roadtrip that is the final catalyst to change so much for Parker. The journey to Parker growing as a character was awesome to read about. Her friendship with Kat brought her out more and more, and she found herself in the pages of the journal, as well as her quest to find out more about Juliana, Shane and Orion. I went through the gambit of emotions with her, from joy, acceptance, guilt, heart fluttering at a romance in the pages, and then the splitting of the heart when other desires are made know, to crushing disappointment, loss and pain. Ms. Kirby, the author writes gorgeously and at a sweet pace. There were plenty of surprises and always something to keep me turning the pages. I loved the ending, how it all came together, and at first I thought there would be no possible way that would happen, but sure enough, I loved it. It matched the story and themes. Bottom Line: Emotional journey of more
by Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
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