June 15, 2011

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:51 pm by suebe2

The Secret Year
by Jennifer R. Hubbard
AR 4.3

When Colt and Julia get together, they don’t tell anyone.  She’s from the mountain (think the rich right side of the tracks) and he’s not.  Really not.  His yard is junk cars and a shooting range.  Besides she already has a shiny parent-approved, country club boy friend.

Colt and Julia’s relationship is on the sly, hot and heavy.  They talk, actually quite a bit, and Colt’s sense of humor is one of the things that Julia loves about him.  But Colt is going to need a lot more than a sense of humor to get by when Julia is killed in a car accident the night she promised to break up with said country-club stud.

Then Colt faces a new challenge.  How do you mourn someone that you weren’t technically dating?

Then Julia’s brother slips Colt a surprise — letters that Julia wrote to Colt, but never shared with him.  Doling them out a few at a time, Colt gets to see their relationship from Julia’s unguarded perspective.  He hopes to find the answers to why she refused to break up with her boyfriend and go public.  He longs to know that what they had was something more . . . but you can’t ask a notebook questions.  You can only get what it gives you.

A lot like people.

Then Julia’s brother let’s loose with another surprise.  He publishes one of this sister’s poems and now everyone knows about Julia and Colt. The reaction is immediate and it is strong.

To escape the turmoil for a few days, Colt visits his brother in college. While there, he finally tells someone his side of the story and gets some helpful advice from his brother, who knows first hand what the price is when you live life pretending one thing when what you feel is something very different.

Hubbard’s book is unique in many ways.  There are a lot of young adult books that deal with relationships from the female perspective.  This is one of the few that shows things from the boy’s point of view.

Don’t let the AR level fool you — this is not an elementary school story. Sexual situations occur off camera but the narrator is a teen age guy — references to same are there.  Face it, this is realistic fiction.

In spite of the male narrator, the book may still appeal more to female readers.  It is a very character centered story and while there is action it isn’t the focus of the book.

An excellent fast paced read.



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