Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review: The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard

The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Publisher: Speak
Publication date: December 23rd 2012.
My rating: 2 stars


Colt and Julia were secretly together for a year, and no one ever knew, not even Julia's boyfriend. Why would they-they were from two different crowds. Julia lived in her country club world and Colt . . . didn't. Then Julia dies in a car accident. Colt is devastated but can't mourn openly, and he's tormented that he may have played a part in her death. And when Julia's journal ends up in his hands, he is forced to relive their year together-just when he is trying to forget. The problem is, how do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?

The Secret Year was a book that had been on my wish list for quite some time so when a friend gave me her book to borrow I was quite ecstatic. But what happened is what’s happening to me with a lot of books lately, I have really high expectations set, once I read the blurb I get really excited thinking this is a totally me book, it’s a book I keep thinking of buying but put off, a lot of my friends had really enjoyed the book so that sets the bar even higher. But once reading The Secret Year all my hopes were dashed, oh why book why did you have to let me down?
The Secret Year was told from Colt’s perspective (yes I was actually jumping up for joy, a male pov throughout the whole book; I hadn’t read one in so long and I was hoping it would be achy and intense like Adam’s pov in Where She Went). Colt and Julia had been secretly seeing each other for the last year; they had kept it a secret because Julia and Colt were from completely different backgrounds, backgrounds of people who didn’t really get along. Julia was from a privileged background; she lived in a huge house in black mountain neighbourhood and hung out with the popular rich kids at school. Whereas Colt was from the rundown neighbourhood in the flats. Julia and Colt ended up together one day after a chance meeting and ever since haven’t been able to stay away from each other. But to not draw attention to themselves at school they act like they don’t know one another. The only chance they get to meet is on Fridays, everything is like a huge build-up until that day. That day where they can stop pretending and just be together, where they belong, without people gawking at them like Julia’s boyfriend Austin. But then suddenly everything is just taken away in the blink of an eye, Julia’s pronounced dead after a car accident, as their relationship was a secret between two of them Colt can’t even say a proper goodbye at her funeral, mourn her properly or even tell anyone about it, it’s eating him up inside. When his friends bring her up, he has to remain closed off, show no emotion, even though he’s aching and raw with the hurt. But then Julia’s brother Michael hands him a diary, it’s full with lots of entries that Julia had written to him over the course of their relationship. Can Colt cope with her diary? Can he bring himself to read the entries, and finally bring closure to a secret year that was the most intense of his life?
I’m usually one to stay well away from emotional books, I just can’t cope, afterwards I’m always a snotty mess with puffy eyes, so I was expecting The Secret Year to be a huge emotional rollercoaster.  To be honest I did not shed a single tear. Julia’s diary entries were at times heart wrenching and torturous to read, but this book didn’t really move me in the slightest. I expected to feel some sort of emotion but I didn’t.
I found some of the characters especially Colt lacked depth; he kept on flitting from one person to the other. The blurb strongly gave me the impression that it would be solely based on their secret relationship, but by the middle of the story it kind of fizzled out and the story went down a completely different tangent. One I really didn’t like or could particularly care less about. As the story progressed I found myself further and further drawn away from Colt. The second half of the book really was pointless and just exuded a lot of sighing and eye rolling.
Even though it pains me to say The Secret Year was a bitter disappointment; I guess I went into it thinking it would evoke some sort of emotions in me, but throughout the book I didn’t feel emotionally involved with the book or any of the characters. This book didn’t even produce the urge of a sniffle. I kept hoping the book would give me something? Anything. The lesson I’ve learnt from reading this book is don’t set my hopes too high because when they’re shattered into a million pieces, all I’m left with is a huge feeling of disappointment and utter annoyance afterwards.



23 comments:

  1. ah.. sometimes it's better to go into a book without expecting anything at all.. thanks for your honest review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  2. Yes this happens more often than I wish. I get so excited about the book and I can't wait to have it and then it turns out to me massive disappointment. Too bad this happened with this book. Great review Jasprit :)

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  3. What a shame! The secret relationship plot sounds familiar but it's a shame that the death interrupts that and the story takes a different route. I now exactly what you mean about thinking you're going to love a book only to find you don't!

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  4. So sorry you didn' like it. The premise definitely sounds like it's going to be a very emotional ride so it's a bummer it wasn't anything like that. I bet I'd share a tear or two since I'm easy to make emotional. Not a single Grey's Anatomy episode goes by that I don't cry lol. Sucks that you drifted so far from Colt and that the story took on another route completely. I hope you haven't lost hope in male POV-s (especially since you liked Adam's so much) and will give onea go soon:)

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  5. Aw, that's a shame it didn't live up to expectations - the blurb does make it sound interesting, and I do like a male POV, but it sounds like it all tails off a bit in the actual book. Hope your next read is better! I've had a couple lately that haven't been as good as I hoped - I'm trying to abandon all expectations!

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  6. It's a shame you didn't enjoy it but I agree I am finding books that I've been so excited to read turn out to be a flop. The synopsis really does pull you in and even reading your review I'm kind of intrigued by it. Hope your next read is better for you!

    Georgie
    www.whatshereads.co.uk
    @whatgeorgiedid

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  7. So I'm still hopeful that this book and I will get along. It's too bad it didn't really hit the spot for you, Jas. I think I'm still interested in reading it though. The summary (in your own words) attracted me. On to the next book?

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  8. Oh no, Jasprit! First The Knife of Never Letting Go and now this one? :( I hope you pick up some good books soon, dear! I hate when you're hoping for an emotional investment from a novel and feel so apathetic the whole time. Plus, it's even worse when all the reviews are boasting of how great this book is and you just couldn't connect. *sigh* I really hope your next novel is a lot better, Jasprit!(:

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  9. I'm sorry this didn't work for you, Jasprit. I totally understand about what you mean about being excited for a book and then it finally disappointing you.
    I'm not sure this book is for me. I can tell that the lack of depth in the characters would bother me.
    Thanks for the honest review, Jasprit.

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  10. Awww how disappointing Jasprit! It's always such a let down when books you've been wanting to read for a long time don't end up being everything you want them to be. Especially in the character department. I have to be connected to the characters, and it's just too bad that Colt never quite grabs hold of you. I think I'll be passing on this one, but lovely review my friend!

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  11. Aw, I'm sorry this one was such a let-down. It does sound like an awesome premise! I'm curious about this second half...sounds pretty random.

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  12. Oh no! I'm sorry this book didn't work out for you. It looks like The Secret Year didn't do the best job of bringing out the feels, or have a good connection with the reader and the main character. It's a shame that you felt further and further away from Colt as the story progressed. I'll have to skip this one for sure, thanks for the honest review, Jasprit! Superb review as always.

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  13. It happens to all of us when our expectations are to high and the book can't measure up. Thanks for the honest review. This doesn't sound like one I would read anyway, I am tired of all the drama in reads lately. I need more fun.

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  14. Oh no, I'm sorry this disappointed you, Jasprit! I can totally see how it would seem perfect for you, what with the gorgeous cover and such an excellent blurb, but I guess you never know.
    I myself wouldn't have picked it up anyway, you know I tend to avoid these reads, but I wish you didn't have to waste your time.

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  15. Jasprit, this is PRECISELY the way I felt after reading Where She Went, unfortunately. It was the same exact situation, and I ended with the same result, sadly.

    But anyways, high expectations have caused me disappoint upon disappointment (not only with Where She Went, unfortunately), so I can only empathize with you. When I read the synopsis, I thought this book sounded superb, and I'm not even that much of a contemp fan! Yet, it seems like this one was lacking in execution. It sucks that you couldn't really get a grip on Cole, and that he didn't have much depth. And it's so strange that the book goes off on this random tangent for half of the book. If this is being marketed as being centered upon the journal, then why wouldn't it just stay that way? It seems to set people up for a lot of disappointment.

    Lovely review, Jasprit, and thanks for such honest thoughts. I'm going to have to skip this one, it seems. I hope your next read is better! <3

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  16. Awww...thats too bad Jasprit. I hate having high expectations and then getting them knocked down, cause the book is just not that great. I do love the sound of the premise, but it seems the book was mostly pointless. Sorry you couldn't connect to the characters, or that it didn't evoke any emotions! Hopefully, you're next read will be much better! Thanks for the honest review, Jasprit! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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  17. If I pick up a book I know it's going to emotional, I want it to be one. So it's a shame that you expected more of it. I know I won't be reading this one, so thanks for the great review! :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  18. The book sounds interesting, despite the fact that you didn't enjoy it. Considering I don't have as high expectations I might enjoy it... haven't read an emotional book for quite some time so it will be a good change. thanks for sharing your review!

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  19. Ouch, a shame you didn't like it.

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  20. I don't usually do that well with emotional books, either. Too bad about it not working out for you, either, since it'd been so long on your wishlist.

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  21. Based on the blurb, The Secret Year sounds amazing. But I would be disappointed if that were only half the story and it went in a different direction at midway.
    Sorry you were so disappointed, Jasprit!

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  22. Oh dear. Lacking in depth and no tears for a book like this means that it's not worth the trouble to me. I'm sorry you were disappointed by this one, Jasprit--and bitterly disappointed, too! Doesn't sound like the book for me, either.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  23. Oh man, I hate that. Sorry you were disappointed :( I tend to have that lately as well. I'll get excited for it more and more and BANG, my expectations are crushed with sadness. I would hate going into a book expecting emotion and connection and it lacking it deeply. Thanks for warning me of this one, Jasprit!

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