The other night I sat down to read a chapter or two of Cracked Up to Be before bed, and ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. That’s how much this book pulled me in. Parker was a puzzle and I had to solve her, and the only way to do that was to read until the very last page.
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.
The book starts mid-way through Parker’s senior year. She is skating on very thin ice according to her teachers, the principal, her parents, and her friends. (I use the word ‘friends’ loosely.) There’s something obviously going on with her. She’s aware of her surroundings and smart enough to manipulate everyone she comes into contact with, but it’s like a game to her. She wants to become invisible, but unfortunately, the people in her life won’t leave her alone.
The new kid, Jake, was interesting. He knew Parker wasn’t friendly, but he kept coming back for more. I’m not sure why, and I don’t think he figured it out either. He was just drawn to Parker, and she kind of let him hang around her… sometimes. I don’t think even Parker knew what she was doing with Jake because she kept switching back and forth on him.
Eventually everything comes out, but what you learn about Parker and her life before that is like a giant scream for help. Something happened to her that caused her to go from overly obsessed about perfection to just doing enough to graduate and get out of there. The thing is, though, Parker is obviously a smart girl. So, what happened? Well… you’ll have to read to find out, but it’s not good. Very much not good.
Overall, I enjoyed the mystery involved in this by trying to fit the pieces together before Courtney let us in on the secret. I wanted Parker to get help and I wanted to yell at her ‘authority figures’ to smarten up and get her the help she needs. This is definitely a book that will stay with me and I hope you check it out.