Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

In Honor
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Source: Conference

A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.

Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Let's get this straight; I do not like road trips. At all. In my case they're hot, there's to many people and not enough to look at and I just want to get where we're going right now. But I love road trip books. I love how the journey to the destination changes the characters. This book was no exception. It was a road trip book but it was also a beautiful story of growing and mourning and doing one last thing for the person you love with someone who loved them just as much.

With her parents gone Finn was the one Honor relied on and when he died she not only lost her brother she lost her best friend. The one person who was always there for her suddenly wasn't and it was at a time in her life when everything was already changing and there was a lot of decisions that had to be made that she didn't know if she still wanted to make. So when she reads his last letter to her right after his funeral and he asks her to drive from Texas to California to see their favorite singer in concert she decides that's exactly what she's going to do. It's the perfect way to put off figuring out how she's going to spend the rest of her life without him there. Rusty, her brothers sort of ex best friend passing out drunk in her passenger seat was not part of the plan.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. They were so real to me that it felt like their story was happening somewhere and I was just getting a small glimpse of it. Honor was so strong even when she didn't think she was and I admired her for not letting the grief consume her. Rusty was great. He was so lost especially now that his best friend was gone and he had a lot of guilt about it. Making sure his best friends baby sister was safe on this crazy road trip of hers was his way of not only remembering him but trying to fix everything. Rusty and Honor were so great together. They had so much past and unresolved things between them and it was great seeing how that played out and the trouble they got into. Even though Finn was already dead when the book started Rusty and Honor remembering him made it feel like he was still alive and it made me cry a little.

This is one of my favorite contemporaries of the year and even though I've turned the last page the characters will still stick with me. I know if it was a movie it would be one that I could watch over and over and recite the lines without ever getting tired of it. It was such a beautifully written story about where life-and your '67 Chevy Impala-take you, even though it might not be where you expect. I loved it from beginning to end.


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