Parker Fadley is the former queen bee, former head cheerleader, former straight-A student. She’s also the current self-made social leper. Something Parker did left her feeling unworthy of the world around her.
Courtney Summers has taken teen angst to a new level with “Cracked Up To Be.” Parker’s misunderstood (by others AND by herself) pain is heartbreaking to read. Either she committed some mortal sin completely under the radar of those around her, or she has misconceived how terrible her actions truly were. Clear perception is difficult for everyone, but it’s especially difficult as a teen – what with raging hormones and forced expectations coming from every direction and all that.
Whatever the case, Parker’s parents, friends and teachers are desperate to help her, but Parker is desperate to seclude herself.
The full story of That Fateful Night unfolds as Parker slowly faces her memories. Summers uses flashbacks that are triggered by current events – one of my favorite ways of telling a story from a character’s past. We get peeks at Parker’s wrongdoing as Parker herself starts to face what happened.
“Cracked Up To Be” is honest. It’s sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes romantic, and sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious (though in a cynical, snarky way).
It’s a great story and is easy to related to even if we’re more often fortunate enough to never experience what Parker did. Her story isn’t difficult to imagine happening to us all, and Summers does a great job of writing for the masses.