Plot without spoilers...Since her parents split up, seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has tried to be everything her mom wants her to be: A-student, college-bound good-girl. Then, the chance discovery of a decade-old journal written by Julianna Farnetti, who died tragically when she was the same age Parker is now, makes Parker think more closely about her own life. From cutting class to considering kissing Trevor Collins, Parker begins to wonder what lies down poet Robert Frost's proverbial "road not taken." But does she have the courage to change course?
Of literary interest...Early in the process of writing Golden, Jessi made a comment about the challenges of writing an epistolary novel. So, when I opened this book, I expected a journal format. What I discovered instead was an exploration of the way individuals write their lives--from Julianna's end-of-year journal, to Parker's eternally draft-form scholarship speech, to her father's life-changing experience of second-novel writer's block, to the iconography of paintings and even the swirls of a tattoo. I must also mention, as I have before with her other novels, Jessi's amazing talent for writing natural settings from rivers both glorious and dangerous, to trees, bountiful with leaves or barren as skeletons.
Finally, just gotta say...Jessi incorporates lines by the poet Robert Frost not just into chapter titles, but into the guts of the novel itself: An exploration of writing about the road not taken, in art, in love, in life. A gorgeous story.
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