Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Secret Year Review

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: January 7, 2010

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?


The Secret Year was a well written and emotional debut. From the first page I was pulled in and Colt’s raw and personal narration kept me hooked. I didn’t know much about the plot of The Secret Year when I started reading it, other than it involved cheating. I haven’t read any books directly involving cheating so this was an interesting read. Although this involved the aftermath of the cheating, Colt still had flashbacks of his time with Julia and the whole novel followed Colt as he was dealing with Julia’s death. I liked hearing Colt’s perspective on things and the Romeo and Juliet-esque factor really added a lot to the book. Julia was from the mountains while Colt was from the flats. The only characters that were really developed at all were Colt and Julia. Julia through her diary entries and Colt as the narrator. I really liked the fact that Colt had Julia’s diary because that opened up a lot of new doors for the reader to better understand their relationship and Julia’s feelings. Kirby was a character I liked and didn’t like. She pulled Colt in really fast and then threw him away just as quick when she realized he still was pining for Julia. I think anyone would have a tough time getting over such a tragic loss of someone so close to them. I’ve never lost a close family member or friend through a car accident (thankfully!), but I could really relate to Colt’s thoughts about the accident. Wanting to know what Julia’s last thought was. Wondering if she felt any pain. All those questions that could never be answered.

The plot was original as well. Although the main plot line was Colt dealing with Julia’s death and his recovery, there were also smaller sub plots that kept the book going. Colt’s brother tells a secret that nearly tears apart their already fragile family. Colt’s father is a drunkard and is mostly passed out all the time. Colt’s confused relationships with Syd- friend or more than that? The ongoing fight between the Mountain kids and the kids from the Flats… so much was going on and it all fit together perfectly in such a small amount of pages. I finished the book in about a day, not only because it was short, but it was really hard to put down. Jennifer R. Hubbard’s writing style is unique and emotional and she puts a lot of thought behind her characters and power in the plot. I would definitely recommend reading The Secret Year and I’m planning on buying a copy when it’s released next month. This isn’t a book to read when you’re looking for a light, fun read. It’s filled with emotion and a tangled plot line, but everyone should definitely read it.

Also, I really like the cover- it’s so emotional and dark. I don’t know if it’s just on the ARC, but I don’t really like how the boys hair blends into the black cover. Since his hair is covering most of his face, it looks like just his nose is floating there. Kind of weird. Hopefully it will be better defined on the final copy. I really like the red title, though, it really stands out against the backdrop.

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  1. Eee! i can't wait to read it! everytime i see a review on this book, i want it more lol

  2. Ooh, this sounds really good. I hadn't read much about it until now. Very nice review!


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