This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.
Maybe my expectations for Golden were too high. It was perfectly pleasant, but also quite predictable. The set-up was great; Parker discovers and reads the journal of a high school student who, along with her boyfriend, disappeared during a storm a decade earlier. Parker becomes consumed with uncovering what happened to Julianna and Shane, even as her overbearing mother pressures her to prepare a speech for a looming scholarship competition.
Can you love a book if you don't love the main characters? This was my main problem with Golden. Parker was just not that interesting and came across as quite bland. Yes, she's a "good girl," but where was her personality? Her most notable characteristic is her desire to solve the mystery of Julianna and Shane. On the other hand, her best friend, Kat, has all of the cliched characteristics of the snarky best friend. And then there's Parker's crush, Trevor. I liked him well enough, but I don't know if he was necessary to the story, beyond, "Oh, hey, Parker needs a love interest." This was ultimately a journey of self-discovery, and I don't think a guy is ALWAYS necessary for that process. Just sayin'.
The mystery element was fun. At times, it overshadowed Parker's story, but it held my interest, so I don't think that's necessarily a flaw. The outcomes of both Julianna's and Shane's story, and of Parker's own story, were not terribly surprising, but they were still quite moving.
Note - I was provided with an ARC by the publisher for review.