November 10, 2011

Book Review:The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Title: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one - not even Julia's boyfriend - knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

My Thoughts

I had been wanting to read this book for a very long time, but just bought.  Then when I did buy it it sat on my shelf for a long while before I finally picked it up.  I'm glad I finally did.  I enjoyed the book.  I was very intrigued by the concept.  The idea of having a secret love that no one knows of and then one dies was fascinating.  I wanted to know how it played out. How do you grieve in that situation?  How do you let that person and move on?  I really wanted to know.

Colt was a great main character.  I really liked him.  His personality balanced Julia's.  I found her to be a little harder to like. She seemed confused and unable to make a decision, and because of this she didn't always treat Colt right.  That bothered me.  But this is all part of the story.  It's exactly that that Colt is trying to figure out and comes to terms with.  Who was Julia really?  What was there relationship? It was a such a strong struggle that I really felt for him.  Sometimes I wanted him to just put her journal away and not read it any more because I didn't want him to read something that might hurt him. Then there were times that Colt was so confused about what to believe that I wanted to take the journal out of his hands just so he could move on and let it all become part of of past.

The question of the book seems to be - how can you move on after losing someone when you find out they might not be all you thought they were.  That's what Colt, and several other minor characters, are dealing with as well.  Because Colt is only in high school he's at an age that causes him to not always handle his grief over Julia well.  He makes some bad choices that make things worse.  I felt for him and kept reading because I wanted to know if he made through ok, and if he did, how did it do it? It really was my like of Colt that made this book strong.

On thought I kept having while reading it - it reminded me a lot of some Jon Green books I've read. And that's a compliment! It just had the same feel.

For the Boys? For older YA boys yes they might like it.  Although the narrator is a boy, the content my be deemed to "girly" by some boys.

Final Thought: Very interesting concept carried out well
Best Stick-with-you image: Eating Thanksgiving dinner
Best for readers who: are ok with a "thinking" book.  This book doesn't have any action.
Best for ages: 14+ for sure.  Very much upper YA

I have to share the paperback cover for this book. When I saw this cover I loved it so much.  I liked it a whole lot better than the hardcover.  Now that I've read the book I'm not sure.  They both fit, but it's much more of a toss up as to which one I like better.

1 comment:

  1. It's been awhile since I read this. I really enjoyed it and reading from Colt's POV. Thanks for the review.