"The Secret Year" by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Colt and Julia dated each other secretly for a year and no one knew, not their friends, their family and certainly not Julia's boyfriend. They were from two different worlds and they knew no one would understand. But to them it didn't matter, they just wanted to be together.

But then Julia dies in an accident and Colt's world changes dramatically. Unable to mourn openly, he's haunted by the fact that he may have a had a part in her death. When a journal of Julia's is discovered by Colt, he relives the year he spent with her while trying to move on. But how can he get over her all on his own?

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard is a country club girl meets boy from wrong side of the tracks love story for teens but with a very serious twist. Julia and Colt feel an undeniable attraction to each other that goes beyond where they come from and what people expect of them. But the only way they can be together is secretly, or so they choose it to be that way. They ignore each other at school and meet secretly on the weekends when Julia can get away from her boyfriend. But Colt's life falls into a turmoil that no one can understand or help with when Julia passes away and he mourns while unable to tell anyone about their relationship.

This was an interesting book. The concept of the book drew me in right away and the character of Colt had a quality to him that I really appreciated in a young adult novel. Unfortunately for me, the other characters fell flat. It did feel like it breezed through the story and much more detail could have been provided. However, I do feel the plot and the character of Colt were enough to make up for that. I know it's rare to have a male teenager as the main character of a book so that is a big selling point for this book.

One thing I've noticed in my recent foray into the young adult genre is that there is a lot more sexual content than I was expecting! I don't know if it wasn't this way when I was a teenager or if I just wasn't reading those books, but it seems a bit different to me (and I'm not that old!) Either way, there is some sexual content in this book, which to me personally wasn't really needed. It's not graphic but is dealt with casually. Fans of young adult books can let me know if this is common to the genre.

If you're into young adult books then this would be a good one to pick up. But if you're like me and just starting to explore the genre, I wouldn't recommend this book as a must-read right away. It has its bright spots but is lacking overall.


  1. First love can prove disconcerting under ideal conditions, but when social, economic, race, religious difference also are part of the relationship, it can prove extremely difficult. Colt and Julia had a tough time of it due to the social class differences between them. Readers get to know Julia through the mindset of people like Colt but mostly via her dairy; she was a troubled teen unable to break down her feelings for Colt from her need for social acceptance by her peers. Colt is disturbed by how much he cared for Julia as he has to still conceal his feelings especially his grief as the other man and still find a way to move on. The Secret Year is a strong teen relationship drama.

  2. Thank you for your comment Italia. While I get that this is what the author is trying to get across, I just feel like it didn't come through strong enough. Perhaps this is a difference between young adult and adult genres.


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