Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Age: Young Adult
Rating: 4.7/5
Species: Human
Interest: Cute Cover/ Completely Contemp Challenge/ Southern/ Summer
Source: Bought

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? (Summary from goodreads.com)

Okay, first things first, if this book is not at least half of a love letter to Taylor Swift, then I don't own her three albums, have a freaky obsession with her or strive to absorb all of her shinning loveable-ness every time I see pictures or videos of her online. Seriously man, the country star in this book is named Kyra Kelly, but all of her actions and songs scream Taylor Swift. (Kirby goes as far as describing "Mean" and "Never Grow Up" as well as hinting at "Fearless". Then again a lot of country songs have a plethora of the same themes, but I am sure with every fiber of my being it's Taylor.) If In Honor is ever made into a movie I will be horrendously upset if Taylor doesn't play Kyra, because she is perfection for this part.

Aside from me loving the whole Taylor Swift vibe from the novel, it was an honestly enjoyable read.This is the first book featuring a serviceman and their family that I've ever read. I don't have an aversion to them, I've just never gotten around to reading one before now. I can't comment on the accuracy of a military funeral, and am not really all that qualified in diagnosing depression, but I am an expert on avoidance and desperation. So, while I couldn't relate to the dept of Honor's absolute devastation towards losing her brother, I fully understand her need to keep moving on to stop thinking about it.  In Honor is a bit of an odd duck in that respect. Everyone deals with grief differently, but in novels, the grief is usually pushed aside for convenience's sake or for the plot. While Honor didn't dwell on her brother's death every single second, there were a few extremely bittersweet points where Honor thought "he should be here" or "he should be doing this" and I felt every bit as cheated as Honor did. It's a rare book that makes me cry over character deaths of characters I never even knew, so bravo Kirby on that front.

I totally wasn't expecting the reason behind Finn's enlistment. Nope, nope, nope, I could not have expected it, and when I learned it I could not deal with it. My heart broke for Honor, Finn, Rusty for everyone in this entire situation all over again. If someone had done that for me? I can't even imagine.

Honor, as a character, was a sweet down-home southern girl. Okay, so maybe she had a bit of an attitude (which was adorable, since I <3 spunky short girls forever) and she did snap some. However, Rusty had about... one or two times where he deserved it. Plus, under the circumstances? I'm calling her totally entitled to an outburst. I just loved Honor's vibe, she might have been totally uncertain and worried about what was going on, but there were a couple of moments where, she just exuded this feeling of comfort from the pages. I really loved that about her.

Rusty.. Let's see, hot, southern and a bad boy. It's a wonder I didn't jump into those pages myself. True, there were a few times I just wanted to yell at him for what he was doing, but when it mattered, he did the right or at least the good thing. I would have liked to see a little more from both characters, like what their lives were like before this massive hole of grief opened up over their heads. Maybe even a little bit more of character development beyond, my brother/ best friend is dead, so let's go on this crazy last hoorah in his memory. Don't get me wrong. I loved the plot and the road trip, but a dash less serendipity wouldn't have hurt the book at all.

Rusty and Honor together had spectacular chemistry. Every time they were together, when drunk, when scared, when annoyed, when being absolutely ridiculous was perfect.This is the one and only instance where I'm conflicted between wanting sooooo much more romance, but knowing I wouldn't have liked the story as much had there been. Just a kiss, just the promise of this good, solid romance did the book more of a service than a sweaty make-out in the back of the Paula ever could have. The reason is, Finn. I think Honor and Rusty were in no shape for a healthy relationship yet. However, I love, love, love the promise that there could be in the future, once they get themselves sorted out. There was no rush to get together, just an acknowledgement that they had an attraction worth exploring, someday. That was the most real and down-to-earth part of the book for me.

I'm not going to lie, it's the road trip and the cover that sold me on this book. It turned out much better than I thought it would. If you're looking for a short, bittersweet (emphasis on the sweet) and meaningful summer read, this is the book for you. Sweet southern comfort, adventure and compassion make for an unforgettable summer read. Take it to the beach or on the open road, you will not be disappointed. I am certainly one of Jessi Kirby's lifelong fans now, I can't wait to get my hands on Moonglass next!

Teaser Lines: “Suspended as we were, with no horizon line or landscape or anything else to draw a separation between the water and the sky, I pictured us up there with the stars. Another story written in tiny lights. We were a constellation put in the sky-- two people holding hands, floating peacefully above everything else, in a beautiful, perfect moment.”

Songs you should listen to when reading this book:

1. "Just a Dream"- Carrie Underwood (This is more a relationship song, but I believe it fits as well.)
2. "Mean"- Taylor Swift
3. "Never Grow Up"- Taylor Swift
4. "Fearless"- Taylor Swift
5. "What Was I Thinkin'" - Dierks Bently
6. "Sideways"- Dierks Bently
7. "Enchanted"- Taylor Swift
8. "The Best Day"- Taylor Swift (Not a perfect fit, but it makes me think of Finn and Honor)
9. "Lessons Learned"- Carrie Underwood

Happy Reading,

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