Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Review: The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Released: January 7th, 2010
Grade rating: D
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?
I was really excited to read The Secret Year, but unfortunately, it just wasn't the book for me. I found it quite difficult to get through, and struggled to form any kind of attachment to the characters. The premise is fantastic, and I can't fault that at all. It's unusual and intriguing, and is the reason I bought the book in the first place. To live with any kind of secret is difficult, but to have a whole year that essentially only exists to two people is unimaginable.
Hubbard definitely had the idea for a brilliant story, but I personally didn't gel with any of it. I didn't see why Colt and Julia liked each other as, besides sex, they didn't really interact a lot. Their relationship was very much on the physical side, and I didn't think it was enough to explain why these two very different people felt so strongly towards each other. Their chemistry was lacking, and I didn't particularly like either one of them.
The whole time I was reading this book, I was just waiting for it to go somewhere, for something to happen. I found the pacing too slow, and the story never really got going. I expected Julia's notes to be more interesting, but all she talked about was her boyfriend that she didn't really like, and schools she wanted to go to in the future. There were no revelatory bombshells in her words, which was a shame, as I think that would have turned the book around.
This is a great example of how reading is subjective. I've read nothing but good reviews of The Secret Year, and I really hope my own dislike of the book won't put anyone off giving it a try. Hubbard has her ideas in the right place, and I think she'll only get better as she continues writing. I'll definitely give her next book a chance, and hopefully I'll like it a bit more than this one.