**Find this and other reviews @ The Demon Librarian**A moving, romantic & beautifully written storyI've read books that have rocked my socks off. Books that pull out all the emotional stops, and books that have me hanging breathless on the edge of my seat, desperate to know what happens next. And then there are those books that strike such a deep and personal chord within me, that when it's all over and I've turned the last page, I don't know whether to applaud because it was so damn good, or cry because I can't process all the feels. And just to be clear, I am not a crier by nature. Sure, my eyes have been known to well up when I'm reading, and I've had to swallow past the lump in my throat quite a few times. I've even felt that painful ache in my chest like someone just used my heart for a punching bag. But actual tears? No, those are a very rare occurrence.GOLDEN got to me, though. It knocked down all my tough-girl walls and stirred up a whole hornet's nest of memories and feelings inside of me.Parker Frost is a good girl who has spent her whole life staying on the right side of the line. She studies hard, gets excellent grades, and is in the running for a highly competitive scholarship which, if she wins it, will allow her to attend the college of her dreams. A scholarship, incidentally, that is offered by the families of the town's golden children who attended Parker's school and whom both died in a tragic car accident ten years ago. Everyone knows the story of Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz; their smiling faces are forever immortalized on a billboard in town. But when Parker stumbles across Julianna's journal, she discovers there is more to Julianna and Shane's story than anyone realizes, and it's a mystery she is determined to unravel. This is not a characteristic choice for her. As her (amazing) friend Kat points out, Parker doesn't do crazy or unexpected things.Until now.I connected with Parker right away, because I've been her. I was a good girl too, once upon a time, and like her, I spent years playing it safe, following the rules, and carrying the weight of parental expectations on my shoulders. My entire life was mapped out for me by the time I was thirteen, and it never even occurred to me to question it. Sure, I had my doubts, but I was young, not entirely sure of what I wanted, and I didn't have the confidence I do now to speak my mind. Plus, there was that ever-present specter of failure looming over me. It's easy for people to throw around sayings like "Seize the day!" but actually doing it is scary as hell. It has to be done though. We all have to take the leap at some point, and really, I think that's what GOLDEN is all about. It's more than a book about a girl named Parker discovering the truth about another girl's life and death. It's a reminder, to all of us, that we only have one life and by damn, we need to claim it and make it OURS.There are really two stories in GOLDEN - Parker's and Julianna's - and both wove a spell around my heart. The romantic in me sighed many a time, and while the book doesn't contain any hot and heavy scenes, there is a steady-burning fire between the main characters that provides more than enough heat. I particularly loved the dance between Trevor and Parker, and I loved Trevor, period. He more than earned a spot on my book boyfriend list :)Jessi Kirby is a magician with words, and I wish I had her gift so I could convey how truly beautiful her book is. All I can really say is that it inspired and moved me, and I didn't want it to end. Don't take my word for it, though. Get your hands on a copy of GOLDEN and experience it for yourselves.5 Stars ★★★★★ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.