March 15, 2011

REVIEW! The Secret Year.

The Secret Year
Jennifer Hubbard


How do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?

Julia and Colt were together for a year, but nobody knew of their secret love. Then Julia dies, and Colt's life spirals out of control. He is haunted by her memory, and things only intensify when her journal falls into his hands. Can Colt bring himself  to read Julia's diary? Or will he live without answers to his burning questions about a romance that changed him forever?

My rating: 4 stars.


Blown away by Colt's insight. 

When I'm introduced to a male main character and point of view, I expect wry humor and blunt sexual encounters.  But this is not the case in The Secret Year.  Colt isn't a dark, brooding teenager.  He's not a nerd or a freak.  He is simply a boy, and I love that about him - that there's nothing special, that he's typical. It makes him all the more real.

The plot focuses less on Julia's letters and more on Colt coming to terms with her passing, which is both unexpected yet all right.  I don't feel like I missed much by not hearing about each and every note she wrote. Again, it made her all the more real.  She isn't the token dead girl or wispy, alluring ghost.  She's simply Julia, a girl caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with many faults and imperfections. It's not that she or Colt possesses any magnificent powers or quirks.  It's that they share a connection with one another that abruptly ends forever.

After her passing, Colt tries to get involved with other girls. This is the one inconsistency for me. Neither Syd nor Kirby (the two girls he attempts to date) are characterized much, save for a handful of personality traits. I feel like I don't know them enough, so his relationships with the two of them seem too spontaneous and developing from nothing. I would rather have gotten to know them better so that they didn't just seem like two girls Colt dates.

The writing is nicely descriptive, creating perfect balance between dialogue and description. It's not that the descriptions are mind-numbingly beautiful, but that they make you, as the reader, think. Hubbard phrases simple gestures and sights in the loveliest ways. If I'd gotten to know the characters better, this would be a solid five-star.


  1. Wow! Still sounds like a great book. This has just been one of those books that has been sitting around on my to-read list that I have yet to get a copy of. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

  2. This sounds so good. I had not heard about it before. I am going to have look into getting this at my library.

  3. This does sound really good. I am curious to read from a boys POV and this might be a good place to start!

  4. I agree with you assessment of Kirby and the other girl. They didn't seem fleshed out enough. I did enjoy this book though,I really loved the voice. Great review.

  5. Oh yay! This is next on my TBR pile. :)


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