March 10

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard



ISBN-13: 9780670011537
Publisher: Viking Children’s Books
Date: January 2010
Page Count: 192
Reading Level: Ages 14-17

4/5 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?

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. It came out early 2010, and since that was before my reading habit kicked in, I hadn’t heard too much about it. But the clearance table at my local bookstore convinced it was a book I needed to buy, considering it was only $3.00. Those are my kind of deals.

Anyway…coming in at just under 200 pages, I wondered just how deep this story could become if it was supposed to be about a tragic story of Colt and Julia’s secret relationship. But my suspicions were laid to rest once I let the story consume me. Colt was from the Flatts and Julia, from Black Mountain. Both places hate the other. Blackwater was an upper class rich community that looked down at the people from the Flatts. The people from the Flatt’s saw Blackwater people as stuck-up, and always getting what they want.

But when Colt and Julia get together, it doesn’t matter where they are from. They continue to met in secret, sharing everything about themselves… and they have a lot of sex too…let’s not forget about that. But their relationship was more than just the physical; they were able to be themselves around each other when they couldn’t around their friends. For one year, they their relationship a secret. And then Julia dies in an unfortunate car accident.

We all know losing someone is hard, but to lose someone whom has been your secret obsession for a year is so much worse. You can’t grieve openly, or have others console you. You have to go at it alone, and that’s just what Colt did after her death.

Jennifer Hubbard played out the emotions of Colt perfectly. The story is told from his point of view and she nailed Colt’s teenage voice perfectly.

It’s a heartbreaking story. You’re taken on a journey through Colt’s relationship with Julia and the time they shared together and we’re pulled through the grief he felt from her death. The Secret Year is a wonderfully told. If you haven’t picked up this quick read, I’d recommend you do so.


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