Review: Cracked Up to Be

Title: Cracked Up to Be
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 4, 2020 (originally December 23, 2008)
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


Parker Fadley was a perfect student, the captain of the cheerleading team and on the honor roll. In her senior year, she stopped doing her school work and started drinking at school. Her boyfriend has broken up with her, but wants her back, and a new boy at school wants to date her. Parker can’t stand the attention, and she’s on constant suicide watch by the school administration. Something really bad happened before Parker’s senior year, and she feels like she’s to blame.

Parker started out as an unlikeable character. There was an author’s note at the beginning that said it was difficult to get this book published because Parker was so unlikeable. Parker broke the rules and didn’t listen to advice. She didn’t even do things she really wanted to at times, because she felt like she didn’t deserve it. Once I found out what happened, I could understand where Parker was coming from and why she behaved the way she did. Her feelings were valid, and this is the only way her story could be told.

There were some triggers in this book, including alcohol abuse, rape, suicide, and the death of an animal. The death of the animal was really upsetting to me. I find it so hard to read about the death or abuse of animals. It’s the one thing that usually makes me stop reading a book. This one wasn’t a major part of the plot, but I don’t like reading that in any story. The other triggering topics were major parts of the plot and affected the way the story played out so they needed to be there, but the death of the animal was upsetting to me.

I liked this story, but it was a heavy read with only a little optimism at the end.

What to read next:

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Have you read Cracked Up to Be? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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