Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Title: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: January 7, 2010
Date Read: January 28 - February 1, 2011
Rating: 3/5 stars

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

Hmm. This is a hard review to write. Let's start with the positives. I found the novel fairly realistic in the emotional and social context, such as how Colt didn't expect Julia's death to mean that much to him until it consumed him and how it affected his other relationships. However I didn't feel the rivalry between the Black Mountains and flats was that good, in fact it reminded me of Grease more than Romeo & Juliet. While the book was a good premise, it didn't seem to have any plot direction, with a focus more on realism and naturalism (two theatre terms describing a show in which the audience is simply being shown a snippet of real life rather than being taught a moral or lesson). I really liked how Colt had many different romantic relationships rather than just the one with Julia because many people do try to move on after such an experience, and as shown with Colt, sort of fail at that. I didn't really understand why Colt's brothers' plot line was present because it didn't really add that much other than being "pro-gay"? I dunno. I'd prefer if novels had less of "coming-out-as-gay" stories and more "realistic-portrayal-of-awesome" instead. 

Favourite Quote: "It wasn't enough for either of us anymore; we'd outgrown her backsteat."

Recommended: All Unquiet Things (Anna Jarzab), 13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher), Love You Hate You Miss You (Elizabeth Scott), Romiette and Julio (Sharon M. Draper). 

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