Wow. What a wonderful book.-----“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary OliverHave you ever gone into a book knowing it was going to change you somehow? Not necessarily in some huge way, but maybe it made you think about a specific topic in a way you never had before. Perhaps it became one of your favorite books that you always refer to and recommend. That’s what happened with Golden by Jessi Kirby. I had never read anything by Kirby before, so I went into Golden completely unprepared for the story, her writing, et cetera.I’m going to focus on characters in this review, because really, Parker basically ran the show. There weren’t very many outside forces deciding what would happen (maybe except for Kat. I’ll get to her in a second.). We got to read Julianna’s journal when Parker wanted to read it. We went into the woods when Parker decided she wanted to explore. We talked to people (or didn’t talk to people) depending on--you guessed it!--Parker. That’s not to say there wasn’t a plot--there was. But there were some pretty amazing characters in the story and I can’t help myself from gushing about them.Parker Frost was seventeen and one of those people who never took chances. She stayed on the straight and narrow at the urging of her mother. Parker has amazing character development in this story. I remember noticing how rational she was at the beginning compared to the end. By the end of the book she was taking chances because they felt right or her instincts were telling her to go ahead. I loved Parker for how emotionally and mentally strong she was. She wasn’t perfect, but she was able to change the path of her life when she realized it wasn’t working out for her anymore. She’s one of those characters that you feel sort of proud of by the end of the book.Kat, Parker’s best friend, is a wonderful example of the type if person you want to be friends with. I loved how much trust she put into Parker. Even when she knew she was being lied to it wasn’t a big deal because, to her, Parker was just not ready to explain yet. I did get annoyed with Kat for a little bit of the book, but things straightened out and I loved her again.I loved basically all the characters in Golden. Parker, who was brave and afraid at the same time, and above all--strong. Kat, who put every ounce of trust and faith she could into her friends. Trevor, who was loyal and funny and completely golden-hearted. Gah, I can’t help but gush over all these characters and the story itself. It was so, so good. Through the entire book I felt so torn with my feelings. On one hand I was sad for everything that happened, but on the other I still felt hopeful that the future could be better. I think that’s one of Golden’s greatest strengths: there’s always hope. Even during the saddest parts of the story there’s a little voice in the back of your head saying “This can’t be it.”What can I say? I loved Golden so much. It’s one of those books you can’t really explain in a 500-word review. I have so much to say and no idea how to tell you guys any of it. I loved reading every page of Golden and hope you all will give it a try. It’s totally worth it. You’ll love it (I hope!).