Howdy, friends! Today we are so, so THRILLED to be kicking off the blog tour for Jessi Kirby’s GOLDEN. You may remember me fawning over this amazing new book by Jessi, but just in case you need a refresher, here’s my Golden review. I’m so, so excited to get to share an excerpt with you.
About Golden by Jessi Kirby:
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.
(— Summary borrowed from Goodreads)
Excerpt from Golden:
The name on the next envelope snaps me back like a rubber band. I stare. Breathe. Stare some more.
I look around, chilled. That can’t be right. But it’s right there in front of me, written in black ink with big loopy pen strokes just as gorgeous as she was. My first impulse is to see if anyone else saw. The clock ticks away the seconds on the wall. In one row of stacks are a couple of younger girls whispering and trying to look like they’re looking for books to check out. Ms. Moore’s keeping tabs on them from behind her computer, and the library TA, a tragically nerdy boy named Jake, shoves a book back onto the shelf then straightens out the ones around it for the millionth time. None of them look at me, but I’m nervous all of a sudden because right now it feels like I’m holding in my hands something I shouldn’t be. Like I’ve just brushed my fingers over a ghost. And by all accounts and definitions, I have.
Every town has its stories. Stories that have been told so many times by so many different people they’ve worked themselves into the collective consciousness as truth. Julianna Farnetti is one of Summit Lakes’. Shane Cruz is the other. And theirs–it’s a story of perfection lost on an icy road. They were one of those golden couples, the kind everyone adores and envies at the same time. Meant to be together forever. Teenage dream realized.
And both of them are frozen in time on a billboard at the edge of town for everyone to see. From behind a thick layer of plexiglass that’s replaced every few years, they smile their senior portrait smiles like they don’t know people have stopped looking for them. Somewhere along the line, the words on the billboard changed from MISSING to IN LOVING MEMORY OF, and I can remember thinking how sad that was, but it was bound to happen. Their parents buried empty coffins.
And still, we have the plaque in the gym, with a picture of Shane and Julianna together, his graduation gown arms wrapped tight around her shoulders and her cap crooked on top of her curly blond hair, both of them laughing like life was about to begin. His family started the scholarship in their name. Hers left town. And still, after ten years, they smile those frozen smiles that never age. Trapped behind the glass and the stories we’ve come up with for what happened to them.
I glance down again, read the name to be sure. Here in my hand is Julianna Farnetti’s senior journal. Pages she wrote before all of that, when the world was still at her perfect fingertips. When Mr. Kinney told her to capture herself in words she could read later.
(— Excerpt shared from pages 13-15 of Golden)
About Jessi Kirby:
Jessi Kirby is a former English teacher and librarian. She lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and two kids, where she writes stories and runs the beach every day. Well, almost every day.
(— About shared from Jessi’s Goodreads Author Page)
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