Magan: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

book cover for cracked up to be by courtney summers

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Length of Book: 214 pages
Type of Book: YA
Format: Library Book
Release Date: December 28, 2008

I read this book because: I like books that tackle big issues. This one hinted at something BIG and suspenseful that happened and I was really intrigued.
Synopsis: Parker Fadley is a former perfectionist.  After an unspeakable event occurs and Parker’s life crumbles, her parents put her on suicide watch, her former friends keep close tabs on her, and her guidance counselor threatens to take away her graduation rights.  What is it that made Parker’s world turn upside down?


This was my very first Courtney Summers novel. I was super intrigued by the summaries on all of her books – she appears to tackle huge issues in a very tactful way for teenagers. This particular book was my first to read because there was an element of suspense. We are introduced to Parker at the height of all the confusion – her life has gone to crap, her parents tiptoe around her, her guidance counselor and principal are on her case, and she meets the new boy at school.  The catch is that Summers strings us along with subtle hints and slowly pieces the entire story together.

I immediately lusted over wanted to be Parker Fadley. She was a strong, witty, takes-no-crap kind of girl. Her sarcasm left me in fits of laughter, even though I knew that deep down it was just a cover up for whatever she was hiding.  When new-boy-Jake is introduced, he becomes yet another source of tension. Parker is trying to force him away with all the abrasiveness she can muster, but something continues to pull them together. Jake is intrigued by Parker because he can’t figure her out. I was definitely rooting for Jake because I found that Chris (Parker’s ex-boyfriend-that’s-still-in-love-with-her) had serious issues since he was in a relationship yet still confessed his undying love to Parker.  I also couldn’t figure out why Chris and Parker had ever broken up, so I assumed that the unspeakable-suspenseful-truth had something to do with him.

Overall, I really enjoyed Summers’ writing. She’s clever and funny in all the right places. I do wish the story had progressed a bit faster so that the ending wouldn’t have been so abrupt. Once I finally figured out what happened, the story ended ten pages later leaving me with a few too many unanswered questions. I am all about using my own imagination and filling in the gaps of the story, but I really felt like this needed a bit more. I would have been happier if the book were a little longer.  Although this book wasn’t a best-book-of-all-time kind of read for me, I will still definitely be picking up more of Summers’ writing.

Are you a fan of Laurie Halse Anderson‘s books?  If so, then I highly recommend you check out Courtney Summers. And vice versa. I’ve read a number of Anderson’s books – Speak, Wintergirls, Twisted, and Prom.  You can’t go wrong with any of those if you’re looking to read something similar to Summers’.

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4 thoughts on “Magan: Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

  1. Ashley says:

    I agree that this book could have used a little something more at the end. This was my second Summers book. I read her more recent novel, Fall for Anything first and it was AMAZING. I loved it so much. I still need to read Some Girls Are, but I’m highly looking forward to it. CS is pretty much awesome. 🙂

  2. Magan says:

    Ashley, I haven’t read Fall for Anything yet. I can’t wait to do so! I’m really in love with CS’s writing. Check out Some Girls Are FOR SURE…I loved that one. 🙂

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