The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 7th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3.95/5 stars)
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend.When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal she left behind. But he is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.
Review: The one thing I love the most about The Secret Year is that it is told in a guy’s POV. I have a strange liking for books told in guy’s POV. No joke. Beautiful Creatures, Flash Burnout, Going Bovine, etc! Needless to say, I was very excited to read this book.
Colt’s voice drew me in from the very first line; his anguish and emotions were very realistic. Hubbard has written a thought-provoking, heartbreaking and hopeful novel. How do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with? That was the question that stayed in my mind the whole time I was reading this book.
I admit I was expecting Colt to discover something unexpected, something that would alter this life, but it did not come. But please don’t let what I just said deter you from reading this book. I still enjoyed the book, Hubbard did a great job writing from a guy’s POV. Colt’s dilemmas feel real to the reader, and I must say it was so easy for me to get lost in the characters.
The part that irked me the most was that Julia just did not seem convincing enough. The ‘love’ Colt and Julia shared was not strong enough to convince me. I found myself disliking Julia because she was only using Colt. Julia disgusted me. I do understand that sometimes it’s hard to breakup with your boyfriend but still I’m appalled by Julia.
Another tiny thing that irked me was that the book was too short! I need more characterization. It was like Hubbard was in a hurry to get to the end. I wished the characters were given a chance to develop more. While some people had problems with the ending, I found it a good closure. If it had been a traditional “happy” ending, it would have ruined the book for me.
This is a book I will hand over to anyone who is grieving and wants a book that they can relate to. You don’t have to actually have a secret affair to be able to relate to Colt. But I must emphasis, The Secret Year is much more than just a grief story; it is about embracing the past, accepting reality, moving on and letting go. You will enjoy this book if you liked Hold Still by Nina LaCour, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott.