Parker Frost is nearing the end of her high school career, and her dreams are nearly in reach. She’s already been accepted to Stanford, and now she’s the finalist for a full-ride scholarship that could pay for her schooling. The scholarship is funded by a wealthy family in her small town whose son disappeared and was presumed died in the nearby lake, along with his girlfriend, 10 years earlier.
Parker works as an assistant for the senior English teacher and is given the assignment to mail the journals of the group of seniors from 10 years before; every year the teacher has the seniors write in journals, which he keeps for a decade and then sends to them. When Parker sees the name of the dead “golden girl” on an envelope, she can’t help but be curious about what the girl wrote right before she died. Parker is usually the quintessential good girl, abiding by all the rules and doing just what her mother wants, but she finally gives in to her curiosity and opens the package and even reads the journal. Naturally, this leads to a whole series of unexpected events, and Parker has to figure out what happened to the girl: Could she possibly still be alive? Maybe she could bring some closure and happiness to a few people.
Of course, as Parker learns more about Julianna’s past, involving her best friend as well as a guy she has avoided getting involved with for several years, and what could have been/could be, she ends up wondering about her own plans for the future and even just what she wants for the last weeks of her high school career.
Golden is a solid book about a young woman finding her own way in life, the possibilities of true love and dating, and following your heart. It pulls together a mystery and a couple of love stories, all ringing true and real. Oh, and it just so happens to incorporate the poetry of Robert Frost. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rated: Moderate, for two uses of strong language and other moderate and mild language. There are only mild sexual references; the dead couple are presumed to have been having sex, but there are no details about their physical relationship; the main character has some kissing scenes. There are also brief references to the dead couple’s drinking at parties.