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.