Thursday, August 16, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Won in a giveaway (Thanks Tara!)
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?
In Honor is Jessi Kirby's sophomore novel, but the first book I've read by her - and I was honestly blown away. There is nothing I love more than beautiful writing and well-done characters, and there is just the right amount of both these things in this novel. I fell in love with this incredible story, and I am afraid I won't be able to do it justice with my review, but I'll certainly try.
The best part of In Honor is the writing. Jessi Kirby did a fantastic job in this respect, especially when it came to her choice of words and turns of phrase. It is always a pleasure when books read beautifully - which really just means that the tone, the phrasing and the rhythm just work well. I read it at a slower pace than I would normally do, simply because I was squeezing every single bit of enjoyment and pleasure I could out of it. With her words, I could picture moments and setting vividly in my mind; with her words, I wanted to become a part of the story.
The one thing that appeals to me most about this story is the road trip that Honor and Rusty go on. I love road trips; if I had a car and I had a schedule that was less constrictive, I'd be taking road trips all the times. What makes this trip even sweeter is how Honor didn't plan for it at all, and didn't even intend for Rusty to come along. I loved the spontaneity and the rush from not knowing what would happen next.
I also loved the relationships highlighted in this book - specifically between Honor and her brother Finn, Rusty and Finn (though we don't hear too much about them) and Honor and Rusty. I love how each of these relationships receive their own share of attention - how Finn protects and cares about Honor and seeing her happy, how Honor looks up to Finn and relies on him, how Rusty and Finn are the best of friends, how Honor and Rusty are not friends, but eventually find their way back to that kind of relationship again (and maybe a little more, which I totally approve of). These characters are strongly defined by their relationships with one another, and this actually gives a fresh sort of insight into who they are.
But, apart from each other, these characters are real and quirky and flawed. Little things, like what the Impala was named or what songs they liked to listen to, these things showed off their individual personalities. And we see, throughout the course of the story, just what each of them (Honor & Rusty) are trying to overcome and struggling to accept. (Just to throw this out there - I wouldn't mind having a Rusty in my life!)
Though I enjoyed this book, I'm sure I could understand why some people would be on the fence about it The story is paced well to me, but it might be a bit slow to other people. Everything - emotional punches, unforgettable moments - happens in the span of a few days, but most of the things that happen are more internal experiences than actual action. If you're looking to have an emotional experience, In Honor is perfect for just that.
In Honor was an incredibly written book - and I'm happy that I finally got to experience for myself the absolute beauty of Jessi Kirby's writing. As I'm a fan of real characters and lovely writing, there is no doubt in my mind that I'll be reading anything Jessi Kirby writes in the future. If you're looking to experience an emotional journey alongside some amazing characters, In Honor is a great choice. (Plus, you know, road trip! And Rusty!)