Golden by Jessi Kirby – one wild and precious life

goldenTitle: Golden

Author: Jessi Kirby

Genre: YA contemporary/mystery

Length: 278

Published by: Simon and Schuster

Source: received for review – thanks, Simon and Schuster!


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.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”


This book is really, really good. It’s about exploring. It’s about finding out who you are – not the person everyone else wants you to be. It’s about making your own choices. It’s about taking risks.

Everyone told me this book was great. And it’s contemporary YA, so I was inclined to believe them. And I was in no way disappointed.

Our main character is Parker Frost. And I related to her in lots of ways – she’s a perfectionist, and she does what she’s told. She doesn’t really do anything crazy or risky. She plays it safe. But then there’s her friend Kat (who I loved, by the way), who is always telling her to do something crazy.

To do something with her one wild and precious life.

And, SURPRISE! There’s parental involvement.

Yay for no Missing Parent Syndrome. Parker’s mum is really important in this story, because she’s always pushing Parker to do the right thing – especially to write her speech for the scholarship she’s applying for. And Parker’s mum is SCARY – Parker never disobeys her or does anything wrong. She does the right thing. Except then…she doesn’t. She starts doing exciting things because she wants to.

And that’s where this book got even better – it’s not just a contemporary, it has a mystery element as well.

Julianna and Shane were killed a long time ago, but then Parker find Julianna’s journal…and she starts reading it. And she starts having suspicions about what really happened the night they died.

Which is where the road trip comes in. Yay, road trip!

That element was kind of like an extended metaphor that worked so well with the rest of the novel. Parker’s seventeen, she’s got her whole life ahead of her – she has to decide what she wants to do with that life, what kind of person she wants to be. I really identified with that.

And the poetry!

At the beginning of every chapter is a few lines of poetry. Much of it was familiar to me (I know some of Robert Frost’s poems) but some of it was not. All of it fit the chapter, though, and added yet another element to the story.


And together, these elements wove to create a beautiful novel about discovering the road you want to take – and whether that will be the road less travelled by.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties



22 thoughts on “Golden by Jessi Kirby – one wild and precious life

  1. I’ve seen this book around a bit but never really been interested, your review just changed my mind! I love roadtrip novels and mysteries and working out who you’re trying to be and all that sorta stuff, sounds like a great read 🙂

  2. Melanie from YA Midnight Reads recommended this one to me, and I was looking for it today at Barnes & Nobles. I’ve heard some great things about Golden, and your review convinced me that I really do need this book in my life.

  3. Yay, I thought you’d like this one! 😀 I’m glad it wasn’t a disappointment. This was one of my favourite reads last year…and considering it’s a contemporary, that’s saying something! Besides, the cover (especially the hardback version) is so beautiful.

    • I thought I would too! We both have ESP, it seems 🙂 I love when books you wouldn’t normally like just catch you unaware. That was These Broken Stars for me. And yes, the cover is so beautiful!! Simon and Schuster are so lovely for sending me a hardback 🙂

  4. Yay! I really enjoyed this one too, especially with the mystery element in there as well, alongside some poetry interwoven too. Fantastic review 🙂

  5. Not just an ordinary contemporary, but one with MYSTERY?! Alright, that sounds up my street. I can’t stand contemporaries but I do have a week spot for the unknown. I love when things unfold in books! Fabulous review! x

  6. Pingback: This Week: Stacking the Shelves, Blogoversary and Dancing | The Loony Teen Writer

  7. As if I didn’t already need this book enough…thanks for a wonderful review, Em! This is definitely going on my priority list – it sounds even more amazing than I already thought it was! Also, I love that TPoBaW GIF. 🙂 ❤ That second GIF however…It makes me tear up. I really love The Outsiders. Both the book and the film. Fun fact: I actually got "Stay Gold" on the back of my year 12 jumper as my nickname last year. 🙂

  8. I absolutely loved this book too! How the girls stories entwined and how Parker’s life was seemingly a mirror imagine of Julianna’s in so many ways. Couldn’t agree more, Parker was incredible realistic and easily relatable. But the pressure her mother put on her, I’m sure most of the teens going through their exams at the moment can relate. Brilliant review poppet ❤ So glad you loved this one as much as I did too.

  9. THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN AMAZING CONTEMPORARY. I don’t read many contemporary books, so I have nothing to compare it too. But I love parental involvement in YA and EXPLORING, so I think this is a go for me!

  10. Why have I never properly read a review for this book? D: I’ve always kind of brushed it off because the cover makes the book seem like any other cliche contemporary. But wow, it actually sounds really unique! Lovely review Emily!

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