I finished reading The Secret Year last week so I'm a little late on posting my review but I guess better late than never, right?
Colt Morrissey has been seeing popular girl Julia Vernon for a year, however, their relationship has been kept a secret because they come from different parts of town and she has a boyfriend.
Colt's world is rocked when he finds out that Julia was in a car accident that took her life. Now Colt must deal with her death alone because nobody thought they even knew each other. Later, Colt is given letters Julia wrote to him in diary format during the time of their relationship.
Colt learns a few things about Julia over the next few weeks and also starts to understand her hesitation when it came to breaking up with her boyfriend so she could be with Colt. He also befriends Kirby, but is really over Julia enough to move on?
I've seen other reviews that say The Secret Year is a cross between Romeo and Juliet and The Outsiders and I would have to agree with it..to a point. Colt and Julia's relationship is secret, but only because they choose for it to be since they find it easier. As for The Outsiders, the whole "socs" and "greasers" thing is just substituted with Black Mountain kids and those from the Flats. The social standing takes on a more visual aspect because where they live determines their rank on the social ladder.
I liked the fact that Colt was a more mature male voice and the writing was very well done. The grief and the guilt he felt over losing Julia was real and if you've ever lost someone you know those two things tend to go hand-in-hand and no matter what the circumstance is, there's always a "what if.." hovering in your mind. They were passionate about each other and it came across well from Colt's memories and Julia's letters. I also liked how a few things came full circle and some of the characters were better able to understand others' actions.
This was also book #2 of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge