Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

When I received a review copy of Cracked Up to Be, I wasn’t sure when I would have time to read it.  Between school reading, Cybils reading, and reading up on Dublin (for my trip next week!), I placed the ARC on a pile and planned to read it next year.  But a few weeks ago I needed a break from my “required reading” and picked up Cracked Up to Be.  I was not disappointed!   


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 counselors 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.

-Via Courtney Summer’s website


The story takes place a few months after a terrible event, something Parker never wants to talk about again but that haunts her every waking and sleeping moment.  What bothers her the most is the fact that everyone else seems to have gotten over what happened and acts like there isn’t a huge void in their lives and school.  But Parker feels guilty about what happens and blames herself.

I found that I couldn’t put this book down.  Parker wasn’t always likable (in fact, I wanted to smack her upside the head a lot of the time), but I was dying to know what the tragic event was.  I read this in one sitting because I just needed to know!  Parker is constantly reminded if that horrible night, but she pushes the memories away so quickly that we only get a brief hint of what might have happened.  I keep making guesses, trying to pinpoint the exact event, but I was wrong in all of my predictions.  Courtney Summers has written an important, emotional, powerful book that you won’t want to put down.

In some ways, this reminded me of Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition by Laurie Halse Anderson. I didn’t find it to be quite as powerful as the first time I read Speak, but I think it tells just as important a story. This should be required reading for teens!

Cracked Up to Be will be released on 12/23.


Holiday Gifts for My Students

I have spent the past few hours working on personalized bookmarks to give to my students on Tuesday, as part of their holiday gift.


Each of my students will receive a bookmark with their name, our class and year, and embellished with ribbon (after I laminate them).  As I will also be giving each of them a book, I thought this was a personalized, meaningful gift they could use for the rest of the year.