Title: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pub. Date: January 7, 2010
Length: 192 Pages
Summary (from goodreads):
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
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 understand how someone could completely hate The Secret Year. Julia could seem like a total bitch because she is demanding of Colt to keep their relationship a secret, there's a lot of sneaking around, and the teens are participating in 'more adult' activities. It didn't seem that way to me. I love books from guy perspectives and 'after' books such as The Secret Year. Still, it just wasn't what I had expected it would be.
The Secret Year is one of those books you have to pay complete and total attention to; which means reading in a quiet place when you don't have much on your mind. Of course, I'm saying this because that happened to me. I had started writing the review, basically saying how much I wanted to love this book and how sad I was that I didn't, when I decided to give it another chance. So, I locked myself in my room and read the whole book straight through. Overall, I did enjoy this book; but it was hard to understand at times.
The characters. Oh, how I loved the characters. Colt and Julia were together for a year, a whole year no one else knew about, a year that started as a physical desire and turned into something much more. With Julia gone, Colt has to deal with the emotion and grief her death provoked alone and hidden from the outside world. I just loved Colt. His personality got to me (I admit I developed some sort of a crush on him) and I found myself living inside his head time and time again. Though Julia was dead from the start, she exists within her letters and Colt's memories; where we get to know and understand her. Besides Colt, she is the star of the novel. I really liked her because although she was rich and popular, she wasn't shallow and stupid; instead she wrote brilliant poetry, was really smart, real, and strong.
The plot of The Secret Year was beautiful and Hubbard's writing was great, but (I'm very sad to say) it didn't outshine the flaws of the story. I found myself disappointed with the ending, as well as a little confused. Despite this, I'm eagerly looking forward to her next novel.