The Secret Year

The Secret Year

4.0 46
by Jennifer R. Hubbard

ISBN-10: 0670011533

ISBN-13: 2900670011536

Pub. Date: 01/07/2010

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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 package. Colt definitely didn't come from Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. But it never mattered to them. Until Julia dies in an accident right

…  See more details below


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 package. Colt definitely didn't come from Black Mountain, and no one would have understood why they were together. But it never mattered to them. Until Julia dies in an accident right before her senoir year, and 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. Things get worse after the journal she kept 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.

Combining the intrigue of forbidden romance with the tension of strict class divisions, Jennifer R. Hubbard creates an unforgettable debut novel about love, loss, and the freedom that comes with figuring out who you really are.

Read More

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Secret Year (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Sixteen years old Colt relaxes in his room when he gets a call from Syd who tells him that Julia Vernon died in a car accident. Neither Syd nor their friends knew that Colt and Julia were secretly seeing one another for the past year. They hid their relationship because she was from the Black Mountain country club wealthy set and he was from the dirt poor flats. Both of them enjoyed sex and being with each other every Friday night, but had to ignore one another in school. Her brother gives Colt Julia's diary because almost every entry involves him, and how much she wanted to be with him; yet also relished being part of the in-crowd even though that meant her public boyfriend was Austen who she did not like. Colt reads the diary and wonders who Julia really was and how will he move on without her as he struggles to get on with his life while grieving in silence. First love can prove disconcerting under ideal conditions, but when social, economic, race, religious difference also are part of the relationship, it can prove extremely difficult. Colt and Julia had a tough time of it due to the social class differences between them. Readers get to know Julia through the mindset of people like Colt but mostly via her dairy; she was a troubled teen unable to break down her feelings for Colt from her need for social acceptance by her peers. Colt is disturbed by how much he cared for Julia as he has to still conceal his feelings especially his grief as the other man and still find a way to move on. The Secret Year is a strong teen relationship drama. Harriet Klausner
StalkinTheBooks More than 1 year ago
The premise for this book is what hooked me, and I read it quickly, but it just didn't quite live up to my expectations and I really wanted to love it. First off, I think the book was a little to short, its just under 200 pages and there's so much going on with Colt emotionally, that I wish it could have been longer. Since everything is told from Colt's POV, I felt more emotionally connected to him. The author writes Colt in such an honest and masculine way that even when Colt is being a jerk, he still comes across as a likable guy dealing with a personal lose. Julia was hard for me to relate to, I thought she came across as selfish and shallow. I could never quite understand why she kept doing some of the things she did. She would say one thing and then do something else, part of this might have to do with the fact that you only ever hear her voice through the journal. I think I might have been able to relate or at least like Julia more, if I could have seen her and Colt's relationship before the accident, instead of getting all of it through Colt's memories and Julia's journal entries. I really enjoyed the way that Jennifer wrote Colt's relationship with his family, it was very realistic. Most teenage boys keep a lot to themselves, so it didn't surprise me that his parents were oblivious to what was going on with him. I also really liked all the scenes with Colt and his brother, you could tell that they were close, but never really completely open with each other. Some of Colt's friends seemed rather cliche' but Syd, Kirby and Michael were definitely well round character dealing with their own personal issues. I liked how each one of them brought out a different emotional trigger in Colt, that would make him think of Julia. Overall I thought the novel was pretty good, the premise was pretty original and I think that Colt is a very realistic male character. If it wasn't for Julia being so unlikable I think I might have given it a higher rating.
The_Book_Vixen More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Sourcerella More than 1 year ago
The concept of the book is really interesting, making it a read that I didn't want to put down. I received an advanced copy of this book a few months ago and I couldn't wait for the book to be published so I could recommend it to friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wouldnt recommend this for younger kids but i would if you were 15-16 because this a really good book pretty strong language though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book. I wish that it was a little longer and more detailed and like maybe had some chapters told from julias point of view. But it definately was a good book and i would recommend it. Also i didnt really like how the book ended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
5*..... I've read this a few times. I can't get enough. Once I got a Nook I sold half of my hard copies. I couldn't sell this one. It still sits in my bookcase and occasionally gets read and reread. I actually bought it because it was on the sale shelf at Wal-Mart and the cover caught my attention. I read the back and thought it wasn't for me and put it back. I thought about it while I shopped and decided to go back and get it, so glad I did. I love Colt's character, he's awesome. If you're looking for a great quick read, this is your book.
ThePassionPlay More than 1 year ago
The only negative thing I can say about this story is that some parts weren't very detailed; I felt that, at times, the main character and others weren't very verbal (other than to swear or curse). I understand the book is called The "Secret" Year, and that it is told in first person, but it wouldn't have hurt for Hubbard to allow the characters to say or reveal a bit more than they did, without giving anything away. On that note, I also feel that this is the kind of book that should be told in multiple first person, rather than just one. Now THAT would have really set this book off! Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed the story. Other than it was a quick read, I could actually envision the characters and what was happening. I feel like it's been a while since I've read a book and was able to do that without having to seriously try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was really funny, but I wish it was longer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a great book like a this generation version of "The OutSiders" but with a twist... love
Michelle423 More than 1 year ago
Colt is from the wrong side of the track or in this case low side of the hill. Julia is from the high class upper hill. When these two meet for the first time they instantly had a connection. It was a connection no one knew it existed for a whole year. Unfortunately Julia died unexpectedly and Colt is forced to deal with his grief in silence. Colt ends up with Julia¿s journal full of entries of their experiences together. He had no idea what those entries would do to him. He relieved each moment they shared only turning into an obsession with the dead girl, Julia. Where¿s the sense in reliving these moments if it doesn¿t bring her back . This story tells a compelling story of a young man trying to deal with his emotions. It was well written and different from the other YA books I have read. My only wish was this book could¿ve used more pages to the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
murphyslibrary More than 1 year ago
from Murphy's Library - rated 3 and a half there Colt and Julia meets one day, around the bridge close to Colt's house. She's the rich girl from school, he's just the ordinary teenager she usually ignores at school. But for some reason, she sees something different on him that night. They talk-and they have fun together, and soon they can't stop seeing each other. But Julia has a boyfriend-a rich kid, like her, someone her family knows and likes-, and Colt agrees with no string attached, he's perfectly fine with that. He knows there's no room for him on her family, and he can't really see Julia on his family either, so they're doing well with their deal. Nobody knows, not even their best friends, and they keep doing this for an entire year. And then Julia dies in a car accident, she's with her best friend, on her way home after a party. Colt hears the news, and he's in shock. She won't meet him at the bridge every Friday night anymore. They won't talk about nothing and everything. She won't pretend to ignore him at school anymore. There's just this empty hole on his chest. And he can't talk to anyone about it. Until one day when, at school, Michael, Julia's brother, comes to talk to him. At first, he's not sure exactly what are Michael intentions, but soon the boy starts to talk: he's found a journal between Julia's belongings, a journal with letters she wrote to Colt. He starts to relive his relationship with Julia through her letters-and finds out what she thought about them and what they were through. Would Colt ever get over her? I read The Secret Year in a couple of hours, and I finished it with a smile in my lips. At first I thought I wouldn't like it, because this kind of story always brings a moral-that cliché that we're going to be fine, we're going to get over and move on, Colt would probably meet another girl and fall in love with her and be happy. I kinda avoid reading this kind of story, because I loved someone who died in a stupid way like that, he was just starting his life and everything was taken away from him. It's been almost 6 years now, but still hurts-and, to be honest, I think it will hurt forever. Some days it hurts more, some days less, and that's it: life goes on. I don't think Colt would ever get over Julia. What they had was just theirs, their relationship was something they kept to both of them, and they were fine with that-most part of the time, at least. But they didn't have the chance to move forward, and she'll always be special to him, some way. Of course, I think he'd fall for another girl and try to be happy, but no one can ever replace Julia on his heart, because of the "what if".
Abby_Cadabbys More than 1 year ago
I bought the book to read while on a flight, and I found it ok. Nothing too spectacular. Not really a page turner, there was nothing that happened that you couldn't figure out or find out within a page or two. I liked the style it was written in, and that it was a quick read.
StoryboundGirl More than 1 year ago
The basic premise of a boy and a girl from opposite worlds/classes/situations is nothing new, but the way this one plays out certainly is. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I surprised myself, even, with how much I felt for the main character, Colton. He's intense and desperate and sad, and he's also this regular teen boy living his life. He's not rich or popular or the best looking guy in school, and sex is a part of his life. Julie dies (not a spoiler!) and he's stuck with a hole in his life that no one knows exists. Except him. He's left with questions that will never be answered: Would Julia ever have dated him openly? Would their hook-up relationship have faded into nothing eventually? Colt doesn't know and now he never will, and neither will the reader. THE SECRET YEAR follows him as he comes to terms with the aftermath of Julia's death and what's been left behind, and figures out who he wants to be. This is a solid debut for Jennifer Hubbard, and I look forward to more books of hers in the future. See more of my reviews at StoryboundGirl {dot} com.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing book with an amazing story line! THis story definatley moved me in an unforgetable way. I would recommend this for teenagers. I am very particular with what i read and i need a book that keeps me on edge wondering whats gonna happen next, and this is definately one of those books! a great twist on a romance! The book had a good pace and never once got boring. It was amazing and i couldnt put it down until it was over. Although wasnt too happy with the ending. Please read you will enjoy it!
tesla93 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. It moves pretty quickly, and keeps you reading. It is a original story, and is not a repeat of other well known romances of young love. The writer really captures the emotions of all the characters without making it boring. I really enjoyed this book, and recommened it.
Sarah7498 More than 1 year ago
I understand how someone could completely hate The Secret Year. Julia could seem like a total b**** because she is demanding of Colt to keep their relationship a secret, there's a lot of sneaking around, and the teens are participating in 'more adult' activities. It didn't seem that way to me. I love books from guy perspectives and 'after' books such as The Secret Year. Still, it just wasn't what I had expected it would be. The Secret Year is one of those books you have to pay complete and total attention to; which means reading in a quiet place when you don't have much on your mind. Of course, I'm saying this because that happened to me. I had started writing the review, basically saying how much I wanted to love this book and how sad I was that I didn't, when I decided to give it another chance. So, I locked myself in my room and read the whole book straight through. Overall, I did enjoy this book; but it was hard to understand at times. The characters. Oh, how I loved the characters. Colt and Julia were together for a year, a whole year no one else knew about, a year that started as a physical desire and turned into something much more. With Julia gone, Colt has to deal with the emotion and grief her death provoked alone and hidden from the outside world. I just loved Colt. His personality got to me (I admit I developed some sort of a crush on him) and I found myself living inside his head time and time again. Though Julia was dead from the start, she exists within her letters and Colt's memories; where we get to know and understand her. Besides Colt, she is the star of the novel. I really liked her because although she was rich and popular, she wasn't shallow and stupid; instead she wrote brilliant poetry, was really smart, real, and strong. The plot of The Secret Year was beautiful and Hubbard's writing was great, but (I'm very sad to say) it didn't outshine the flaws of the story. I found myself disappointed with the ending, as well as a little confused. Despite this, I'm eagerly looking forward to her next novel.
SitHereandRead More than 1 year ago
SECRET YEAR, by Jennifer R. Hubbard goes in-depth with one boy's obsession with a girl he was secretly with for a year, not a single person knew about them together, so when she dies in a car accident he can't take her off his mind. I was impressed with the concept of this book, it was slow in some areas for me, and I'm usually one for happy endings that have a resolution, but this one ended kind of abruptly with some questions left unanswered. The main character Colt's obsession with Julia, the dead girl, seemed a little off to me, but at the same time it was kind of cute. And when Colt's best friend moves in on him, things get weird for him because he isn't over Julia yet, and it's his best friend! I found that I could relate to that and I'm sure a lot of other people could as well. When Kirby comes into play, it's unexpected that Colt starts to fall for her, especially since she is dating Julia's younger brother. Their relationship begins to develop, and eventually Kirby frees herself of a boyfriend and starts with Colt. I liked how their relationship developed but I would have liked to see a continuation of what happens with them. I think with just a few more pages or maybe an epilogue to finish up whats happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago