Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Colt was with Julia for a year, but nobody else knew about it. Julia lived on Black Mountain Road in a mansion - with servants - and had a country-club boyfriend to complete the picture. But Colt definitely did not come from Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. It never mattered to them, but when Julia dies in an accident right before her senior year, Colt is suddenly the only who knows their secret. He tries to pretend that his life is the same as ever, but he's haunted by memories of Julia. It gets even worse after the journal she kept about their romance falls into her hands. Colt searches every entry for answers: Did Julia really love him? Was he somehow to blame for her death? But the ultimate question - one nobody can answer - is how he's supposed to get over someone who was never really his to begin with.

Combining the forbidden romance of Romeo and Juliet with the tension and turf wars of The Outsiders, Jennifer R. Hubbard creates an unforgettable debut novel about love, loss, adn the freedom that comes with figuring out who you really are. (Taken from back cover)

I thought that The Secret Year was very good. It was short, but I was able to get sucked into the story really easily. I liked that it was an unconventional love story, mainly because the love interest wasn't alive for the book. We see Julia in flashbacks and read her thoughts and feelings in her diary, but the reader is still kept at a distance, which I liked. I was able to learn about Julia, while still recognizing that she was absent from the story. I also like the Romeo and Juliet theme and how the two groups (rich and poor) were always at each other throats. Though I'm not sure what town has such a difference in wealth and income, but it made for a good book.

As for the characters: I really liked Colt. It was different reading a "romance" from a boy's point-of-view, but I enjoyed the differences. Colt wasn't as sappy as you'd expect a girl to be, but you could still feel his pain and grief. He was a smart aleck, but it made the book so funny. Julia, the other main characters even though she's technically not alive, was on the fence for me. I started out liking her and being intrigued by her actions. But by the end, I thought she was mean and actually kind of selfish. There were times that she treated Colt like crap, and I think he deserved much better. Overall, though, I enjoyed The Secret Year, and thought that it put a unique twist on the Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story theme.

8 out of 10.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I'm almost done this one. I'm kind of on the fence with Julia too. She just I dunno, she's lacking. :/