Publication Date/Version: January 2010/Hardcover
Age Group: 12 and up
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
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 picture. But Colt definitely didn't come form Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. It never mattered to them, but when Julia dies in an accident right before her senior year, 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. It gets even worse after the journal she keeps 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.
Colt and Julia were together, but no one else knew. Colt lived in the poor area of town, while Julia lived on Black Mountain with the rest of the rich kids. To top it off, Julia already had a boyfriend. One night, Julia is killed in a car accident. Her brother finds her journal and gives it to Colt. Colt must now try to get over Julia and get on with the rest of his life.
My overall impression of this book was blah. I'd heard so many great reviews, raving about the book and all of its wonderfulness, so I expected it to blow me away. For me, it turned out to be flat and pretty boring. The story could have been exciting, but it wasn't, and the characters were hard to connect with.
Colt was an okay character, nothing too bad about him, but nothing great either. It makes reading hard when you don't enjoy the main character very much. I couldn't stand Julia. She was a stuck-up, spoiled brat. She kept saying should would break up with her boyfriend, but she never had the guts to. Like everyone else, she didn't want to be seen with a "poor kid." I was sick of her by the end of the story.
What initially intrigued me about The Secret Year was the plot. It seemed like a really awesome idea. I was left disappointed. The journal was interesting, but Julia mainly talked about her real boyfriend and how she was going to leave him. It drove me crazy. Colt and Julia's relationship was the most exciting part, but even that left me unsatisfied. I didn't get any emotions out of this story. For me, it wasn't worth the read.
Overall: Flat characters and plot. Blah.
My Advice: Skip it. If you must read it, get it from the library. I don't believe it's worth the money.
Cover: It's a pretty cool cover. I like the font and picture. It's a bit too dark for my tastes, but it works.