I just finished reading The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard for an Around the World Tour.
From the back cover:
How do you get over someone who was never yours to begin with?
More than anything else in the notebook, I had wanted to read this entry, the last one. I wanted to know what Julia thought about the last time we saw each other. I wanted to know if it ate away at her the way it did at me.
If she'd broken up with Austin, would she still have needed me? If she could see or talk to me anytime, instead of squeezing our whole relationship into Friday nights and unsigned notes and secret phone calls, would she still have wanted me?
And would I have wanted her?
When I first saw that this was a story told from a male point-of-view, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it--I tend to not like emotional stories told from guys. But The Secret Year was a pleasant surprise.
There were two main characters in the story--Colten, who is the narrator, and Julia, who we learn more about and read from the pages of the diary. Their secret romance is very Romeo-and-Juliet-like. And while I felt that Colt was down-to-earth and real, I found myself disliking Julia and thought that she was just using Colt and didn't really feel that stongly about him. Even when the pages in her diaries said otherwise, I felt that at some points she looked down on him. And as much as I didn't like Julia's boyfriend, I didn't like the fact that she was cheating on him.
There were other smaller sub-plots in the story: Colt's older brother reveals a deep, dark secret, and the two worlds between the Black Mountain kids and the flats kids collided in a huge brawl. But the main one was the secret affair between Colt and Julia. I will say that the end was a slight let-down. I expected there to be a bigger reveal on the last page of Julia's diary. But overall, it was a promising debut novel from Jennifer Hubbard.
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.