When she meets Rudy Golden, Jillian is a shy but sarcastic fourteen-year-old floundering in her wealthy St. Louis neighborhood. With parents more concerned about appearances than the emotional upbringing of their daughter, Jillian envelops herself in the warm and opulent life of the Golden family. Both girls enter high school with brave faces, but when they find themselves thrust into a pressurized world of fierce competition, high expectations and complicated relationships, Jillian uses their friendship to find her strength as an individual while Rudy begins to self-destruct. When their plans for college threaten to tear them apart, Jillian makes a decision that she’ll agonize over for the rest of her life.
GOLDEN reminds me of the 1988 movie “Beaches,” in the sense that is about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship. It’s a coming of age story about two friends who meet right-before starting high school and spans through their high school years.
There’s a lot to like here: The unpretentious prosey, melancholic writing. The full cast of characters who feel real. The familiar, yet unfamiliar setting. Growing together. Growing apart. Funny moments. Serious moments. Heartbreaking situations.
Overall, GOLDEN is an excellent read. And the end… wow.