. Athena's Books: The Secret Year...for Star-Crossed Lovers
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Secret Year...for Star-Crossed Lovers

Totally YA Tuesday: Book Review for The Secret Year

Finally, a real, full review! Not a mini-review where I just post excerpts and summaries, but one I have been inspired to write about.

Have I ever told you my library at school is the most awesome ever? Sometime in January I made a phenomenal list of 2008 and 2009 books I thought the library should add to their collection, and now one month later, they are here. It feels like Christmas. I grabbed about 4 or 5 of them, and I've already read two. So this week, I am a fan of Jennifer R. Hubbard, author of The Secret Year. This is a quick read with an engaging plot and a male protagonist (which I love, by the way). It's not quick as in an easy read, but I mean quick as in if you are a book lover or a bibliophile, then you won't want to put it down. And at 192 pages, The Secret Year is on the shorter side compared to all those 300+ page books out there. To tell you the truth, I read it in about a day during my conference period, lunch, and class down time. You have to understand, I was hungry for reading what I love to read. I've been bombarded with stuff I don't want to read and other work. So I just ravished this book.

Book Review:

I love the back cover statement...How do you get over someone who was never yours to begin with? Hmmm...reminds me of a semi-boyfriend situation many have faced. You know, going out sometimes on the weekends, with this one particular guy, but then being ignored during the week because you and him just don't mix in the right circles. Or maybe you do, but you have both agreed it's better this way. Yeah right. Even if there is a mutual"agreement" there's always one who wishes things were different. Maybe both wish things were different, but to admit that would be to change what little you do have. Neither one is honest with each other and things just can't go on like that, so things end. That's basically what happens here, but to a much higher degree because one of them dies. This is not a spoiler or a secret because the book jacket tells you and Colt says it from the beginning--Julia was killed on Labor Day on her way fome from a party.

I was intrigued with the story line, and I believed it would be a book many girls would like, especially with the spectacular cover. So it was part of that Christmas in February batch of books. Honestly, I didn't know if I wanted to read it. I was like "What else could possibly happen? Do I want to get into something that can't possibly end on a good note?" But of course, I could not resist the cover, and I absolutely love the male point of view. For a female author to take on the male voice? Luuuuuv it. One of these days...I won't bore you again with my writing aspirations. But one of these days I will use the male POV.

So who wants more? Colt or Julia? Can't say, but possibly both and neither is willing to admit it. But she's dead. How can she admit it? A-ha...therein lies the intrigue. Colt has her journal. A journal where she wrote letters to him, but yet never intended for him to read. Talk about messing with your head! I mean, Colt's head. It's bad enough their relationship was a big secret and he can't even grieve properly because it's not his place to sob all over the coffin at the funeral home. That's a role for Austin, Julia's real boyfriend, or the one she keeps for her upper class, snob circle of friends. She never allowed Colt to enter this social circle, but she sure let him into her heart and other places I won't mention.

Now, he's got to deal with page after page of "Oh, Colt I love being with you in our secret spot and I can't stand Austin and I want to break up him and I will but I haven't yet." Some of the entries are pretty steamy and reading her words along with his actual memory of those nights with her, keep Colt tied to Julia even after her death. Even when he thinks he's done with her, Julia stills has a hold on him. A secret year with an unatainable girl and a year later when he tries to deal with her death and her words. You get both of this simultaneously. And, when you have moved on because you think Colt has moved on, it all comes back again. Another girl has no chance while he's still hooked by Julia. But can you blame him? Poor guy. Actually another girl does have the chance, but she wants too much from him. Let the guy grieve for God's sake. Doesn't that bring more intimicy when you let someone share how they feel no matter what it's about? If I were the new girl, I'd think it would be worth sticking it out.

One of Julia's letters:

All I want is to be back with you, standing thigh-deep in the river, feeding you my tongue.

Wow...how can Colt ever forget when she puts it like that?

Colt's version:

Julia's mouth was hot and the river was cold and her satin dress was so smooth it didn't even seem to be there.

Colt's description of another girl:

Kirby smiled and looked back at me. I leaned forward and put my mouth on hers. Kissing her was like diving into black water.

The black water? Very reminiscint of his first night with Julia. He thought those feeling were over, but a whole other year brings unexpected things.

Does the secret year become public? Does Colt get over Julia? Does the book have a happy ending or one of those endings that is not so happy, but still so very good and better than if it would have been happy? Will Colt ever find another love of his life, but a real one? Read it.

And there is one more secret...the last Friday he saw her. On Monday she dies. What happened in between?


Book Synopsis from Amazon:

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?


Elisabeth Marie said...

Must be really "steamy" journal entries. My library has only ordered it for the adult section. =/

minnie said...

yep...steamy is the right word-but i think Colt's descriptions and use of words are just as steamy as the Julia's diary entries