Review: The Secret Year by Jennifer R Hubbard

Title: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Obtained: borrowed from library
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Format: hardback
Rating: 3/5
Read for: 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge

Blurb (from dust jacket)

Colt was with Julia for a year, but nobody else knew about it. Julia lived on Black Mountain Road in a mansion–with servants–and had a country-club boyfriend to complete the package. Colt definitely didn’t come from Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. But it never mattered to them. Until Julia dies in an accident right before her senior year, and Colt is suddenly the only one who knows their secret. He tries to pretend that his life is the same as ever, but he’s haunted by memories of Julia. Things get worse after the journal she kept about their romance falls into his hands. Colt searches every entry for answers: Did Julia really love him? Was he somehow to blame for her death? But the ultimate question–one nobody can answer–is how he’s supposed to get over someone who was never really his to begin with.

My Thoughts

I first saw a review for this over at The Story Siren. Kristi raved about it, and the premise sounded interesting, so I added it to my list of books to eventually get around to reading.
This was one of those books that the premise sounded more interesting than the book itself. At roughly 200 pages long, it was a lot shorter than I was expecting when I requested it from the library, and I breezed through it quickly.
I was expecting a reflection of Colt’s relationship with Julia, but instead what I got was vague reminiscing and a lot about Colt’s new relationships. Whether Colt was to blame for her death was never in question–Julia died from a car accident, and really it was no one’s fault. Did Julia love him? Colt asks himself that maybe once or twice, but it’s definitely not something that he mulls over during the novel. He seems more focused on jumping between reliving his secret affair with Julia (which involves lots of sex) and his new flings, first with his best friend, then with Julia’s brother’s ex-girlfriend, neither of which hang around.
We hardly see any entries in Julia’s diary. Although it was supposed to be written about their fling, it was filled with all kinds of things, including Julia’s promises to break up with her rich boyfriend, Austin. We hardly get to see any entries, and when we do they’re short blurbs, not entire entries, and they leave the reader wanting more, to see more of what was in Julia’s head.
I was a little disappointed in the book. I went into it expecting something great, and came out of it with a lot less. It was good for a quick read, but it lacked the substance that I had expected. Overall, an okay book.


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