I went into Golden with high, I mean HIGH expectations. I expected to be swept off my feet, bawl my eyes out and just feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest… none of that happened. Now let me explain…I loved the main character Parker. I thought she was one of the most realistic and raw characters I have seen in a book in quite some time. Her emotions and actions were just so true for that time in her life. She was irrational at times but it led her to a good place and the struggle she had with finding herself I think is something that a lot of people will relate to. The coming of age aspect of this novel was done exceptionally well. I also really enjoyed her best friend, Kat. Their relationship was done very well in my opinion. Kat had such honest emotions with the fact that Parker would be leaving for university and she would be remaining in town. The friendship between Parker and Kat was probably one of my favorite things about Golden.The plot, for me, was so predictable. I just seen everything that was going to happen coming well before it did. I’m not sure why… and I’m not sure if I was supposed to but it really kept me from loving the story. I obviously won’t go into the details because these are major plot points that we are talking about but… ah, it frustrates me that I wasn’t surprised. The story about Julianna and Shane is just heart wrenching. It’s a really, really sad part of the book. I didn’t openly cry but I felt this ache in my chest the more Parker read Julianna’s diary. To think that someone so young had her fire snuffed out… oh, it’s just so sad.My other love for Golden was the writing. I adore Jessi Kirby’s writing style. She brings you entirely into the story and carries you along with it. It’s like music. Between her writing and the characters Golden was saved for me.Now don’t mistake that this isn’t a wonderful story, it is. And I did like it but I think my high expectations crushed this one for me, which is unfortunate. I wanted to love this. It’s well worth the read, especially if you love contemporary. And believe me … there are a ton of AMAZING reviews for this. Take mine with a grain of salt.