The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. It's been on my "to read" list for a LONG time.
Julia is from the rich, privileged world on Black Mountain.
Colt lives in the working class flats.
On the outside, it appears as if they have noting in common, but a late-night chance encounter at a local bridge leads to a one-year love affair. A secret love affair hidden from friends, family, and especially Julia's boyfriend Austin.
But a tragic car accident on Labor Day kills Julia and leaves Colt to mourn, come to grips with his guilt, and try to get over her. It's not easy because, just like his relationship with Julia, he has keep his sadness, confusion, and guilt private. And things become more complicated when he is given Julia's diary, which covers their year together in graphic detail.
All Colt wants to do is move on, but reading Julia's words opens old wounds and haunts him. But, more than that, makes him realize that she wasn't really his girlfriend in the first place.
This book was worth the wait. I thought the characters were strong and well-written. The story, which alternated between present tense, Colt's memories, and Julia's point-of-view via her private journal, was well-crafted, painting a portrait of grief, passion, and a harsh class war that was both palpable and touching.
The Secret Year was an impressive debut novel, and I look forward to reading future books by Jennifer Hubbard.
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