Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Review: The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard


Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Format: Hardcover
Released: January 7th, 2010
Grade rating: D


Amazon summary:

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?

Review:

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.

19 comments:

Raíla said...

Great review! Liked that you were so honest! I'm giving it a try when I can.

The Book Bug said...

Great review! I might still read it, when I have some cash.

Yan said...

I whole-heartily agree with you. I've had trouble expressing my thoughts into words though it seems you didn't :P

LovesSam said...

Great honest review, don't you just hate it when you dislike a book everyone seems to love!! yep, a great example of differing tastes, like me with The Dark Divine *sigh* I so want to read this now to see if I agree

...MY NAME IS ELENI AND I AM A BOOKAHOLIC... said...

Great review! I agree with everything you said :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Thanks for the honest review, Jen! I'm looking forward to seeing if I agree with you or not!

Andrea said...

There seems to be a trend of YA books with secret teenage relationships and then someone dies.

jody sparks said...

I'm reading this right now and I'm completely enthralled! But I love to see when a book I love is kind of "meh" for others. It reminds me that not everyone will love or hate or be "meh" on my writing and that's comforting.

And hey, how about the cover? I was like yeah, it's nothing special, but then I touched it and was like, oooooooh, I love this cover!!

Lauren said...

Wonderful review - I admire how you're able to review a book you didn't enjoy in such a gracious way.

I've been quite intrigued by this, but mainly because I assumed there would be more to the story.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

You know it's kind of nice to see a different review thrown into the mix now and then. I haven't read this yet, but I have only heard good things about it. Thanks for your honesty :)

Michelle said...

I read this entire review nodding my head. I could not agree more. Like you mentioned, the premise is amazing but there was just a lot missing for me.

Jami said...

This if the first review of this book I have read that hasn't praised it. It does bother me in stories when the relationship just seems physical. I appreciate your honesty. I'm going to read it to see how I like it. Thank for the review :)

Khy said...

OMG FINALLY! I don't love this book either. I liked it, but I definitely am not as ga-ga over it as everyone else (which is why I have been putting off writing my review. heh). I agree with the whole review. :D

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I really admire the way you review, too. Thanks for this interesting and intriguing review!

Lauren said...

Great review. It's great that you were so honest. While I did like this novel somewhat when I read it, I did think it could've been a whole lot better.

The Book Owl said...

Good review. I completely agree. It didn't see what all the hype was about

I Heart Monster said...

Great review. First negative one I've read.

Becky said...

To be honest, I've read lots of reviews of this and even though some people have said great things about it. I have a feeling I just won't like it. Sounds like it is lacking in character development. Thanks for an honest review.

Anonymous said...

haha i loveddd the book!!