Book Review: The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. HubbardTitle: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Genre: Young Adult
Source: library
Published: January 7, 2010 by Viking Juvenile

Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend.When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal she left behind. But he is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

My Thoughts:

Colt and Julia couldn’t have been more opposite thanks to their social differences. Julia’s the rich girl who has everything she wants; the friends, a car, the country-club boyfriend. Everything except true happiness. Colt is just the poor boy living on the wrong side of the tracks. Yet, they had been in a “relationship” for the past year, up until Julia was killed in a car accident. Romeo and Juliet - meet The Outsiders.

Julia was killed on Labor Day on her way home from a party. I didn’t get to see her that night. I used to meet her on Friday nights…..We’d meet on the banks of the river, clutch at each other in the backseat of her car, steam up her windows…We did all that for a year, and nobody else knew.

After Julia’s death, Colt is left to grieve alone and secretly because his relationship with Julia was not known. In fact, Julia had a boyfriend - Austin. Colt and Julia’s was the type of relationship that didn’t have strings. Colt detached himself emotionally from Julia, that is until she died. Up until that point, Colt was completely disconnected in the relationship. To him, it was just sex…at least that’s what he thought.

Following Julia’s death, Colt went through a roller coaster of emotions. Michael, Julia’s brother, gives Colt a notebook. It’s Julia’s journal where she penned letters addressed to a C.M., letting go of her emotions and feelings. This notebook has such an effect on Colt. He learns things about Julia that he never knew. He doesn't devour the notebook; instead he takes it in very slowly, absorbing each memory and emotion from a different point of view, through Julia's eyes.

I had been anticipating the release of The Secret Year since last year. Hubbard did a wonderful job telling the story from the male POV. I like that even though Julia is dead from the very beginning, I still got a sneak peek at her side of things. The story isn’t completely one-sided which gives it depth. The unique premise caught my attention and I had to read this book. Affairs happen all the time but the only time we think about them is when they become not-so-secret, which makes The Secret Year believable.

I love the cover of this book! The girl and the guy kissing at the bottom of the book, being secretive. The girl has her eyes open just a bit, like she’s looking at him, watching his reaction. You can barely see the guy's face. His eyes are hidden by his wispy hair. It’s almost like he’s just an illusion. Another thing I liked about this book is the multiple meanings behind the title. Every time I read a book, one of my main goals is to figure out the meaning behind the title. Authors go to great lengths to capture the essence of their book in one short sentence. Or sometimes even just a single word. And when an author nails the title right on the head, especially when there is more than one meaning behind it, I truly appreciate that.

The Secret Year was a great, fast-paced read at just under 200 pages. I was so excited to get this book in my hot, little hands. The Secret Year is a great debut novel. When I was done reading the book, I was glad I read it but at the same time I didn’t want it to end. I can’t wait to see what Hubbard comes up with next.

Brianna’s Rating:
5 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. I'll have to look into this one. Sound like an excellent book. Thanks for the review :)

  2. Thanks for the great review. I haven't heard of this one before but I think I'll have to check it out now.

  3. I really loved this book...glad you did too. I liked that it had a different perspective (the guys) not often seen in YA.

  4. I can't wait to read this! :]

  5. Wow, nice review. Sounds like you really liked it. Even better you were able to get it from your library! :)

  6. Shantal, Trillian - I highly recommend this book. It totally lived up to my expectations!

    Karen - It is nice to read a book from a guy's POV from time to time :)

    Robby - Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did :)

    FV - Yes, totally liked it. I liked it so much that I will buy a copy for my personal shelves.

  7. Would you recommend it for teens? I'm always on the lookout for stuff for my 16yo son to read but so much YA is from the female POV.


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