Review of Cracked Up to Be

Emotional, riveting, intense debut novel!

Cracked Up To Be

Courtney Summers

February 4, 2020

St. Martin’s Griffin

Blurb: A reissue of New York Times bestselling author Courtney Summers’s award-winning debut!

The high price of perfection is one ‘Perfect’ Parker Fadley always believed she was willing to pay until the devastating events at a party during junior year fractures the lives of her family and friends. A terrible thing has happened and only Parker knows it’s her fault. If being a perfect daughter, student, friend and girlfriend couldn’t keep her from making an unforgivable mistake, Parker hopes becoming a perfect mess will at least keep her loved ones from discovering the truth–until the arrival of a curious new student and the unexpected return of an old enemy threaten her tenuous grip on control. Parker will do anything to keep her secret from surfacing . . . but this time the cost might be more than she can afford.

The book featuring the unforgettable character that started it all, now with a new foreword from the author.

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Purchase links: Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Note: Cracked Up To Be is a re-issue of Courtney Summers’ 2008 debut novel.

Two years ago when I read Courtney Summers’ novel Sadie (see my review here) I said “it’s like you’re watching a horrific accident occurring in real-time. You know that events can only worsen, but you can’t look away.” Cracked Up To Be is a lot like that, but instead the main character of Parker is the train wreck.

Parker is mean and manipulative. It takes pages to warm up to her character as Summers slowly scratches Parker’s surface and allows the reader to glimpse this actually fragile teenager. While I didn’t hate her by the end of the novel, I still wasn’t certain that I liked her. I understood her to some degree but as for “liking?” As I’ve previously mentioned in reviews, it’s not a prerequisite for liking a novel to like the main character and that’s true here.

Just as Summers slowly revealed Parker’s real character, she also reveals the actual occurrences that preceded the beginning of the book. The party that ultimately resulted in suicide attempts, rape, and a missing girl. While it’s not a psychological thriller in the respect of someone’s life physically being threatened, it is from the perspective of someone’s mental state being threatened.

Cracked Up To Be is character-driven and is about a character who will stay in your mind for a long while after the final page.

One last word. I always avoid spoilers in my reviews. There’s nothing worse than someone telling you what happens. However, something does happen in Cracked Up To Be that left me extremely upset, the crying kind of upset. As you probably know these are referred to as triggers so I am placing this spoilerish trigger below my rating. If you follow my blog, you might already know what it is. Whether the author needed it to happen in the story to make it a stronger story, I don’t know. I don’t think so.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



4 out of 5 butterflies

Spoilerish Trigger warning: Animal violence.

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