Author: Jessi Kirby
Published: May 8th 2012
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Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only 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 him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
Last year was pretty good for Jessi Kirby as far as I could see, because so many of my blogging friends adored her novel Golden. I heard nothing short of amazing about that book and everyone was speechless over her well-crafted characters and character-driven plot. I had high expectations for this author’s work, I’m not going to lie. Luckily, it wasn’t disappointment what was waiting ahead of me.
“I can't promise the universe is gonna tell you what to do with your life up there. But if you can keep quiet and listen close enough, for long enough, it may whisper something you need to hear.”
Our main character is Honor who has just lost her brother. We meet her during the service and she is in no way in a good place. While I didn’t know her at all, and perhaps that was the reason I wasn’t as emotional as I could have been, her grief was still hard to read about. You see, Finn wasn’t just Honor’s brother, but her best friend, confidant and her only nuclear family member left. Soon she finds herself on a road trip to California to fulfill Finn’s one last wish and she does it in the company of Rusty—Finn’s ex best friend.
The novel is fairly short—with 235 pages it managed to make me laugh out loud so many times, even though the content was pretty devastating in many ways. Honor has to let go of her grief, become an independent person and is on the verge of starting her life fresh, but in order to do that, she has to close these wounds that hurt her so badly. Rusty is in the same position and together they discover the world like they have never seen it. Their adventures, memories and chemistry made this road trip fun to follow. Watching them re-kindle the friendship they once had was beautiful.
While you may think it seems likely for these two to hit the road to Romanceville, it wasn’t exactly so. Yes, they do have a spark between them, but the maybes of a romance don’t overshadow the true value of this story which is a truly inspirational adventure. There were so many times during the two nights that took me to read this book when I wanted to pack my bag, start the car, invite a few friends and start crafting our own little adventure.
My only criticism is that I wish the ending would have been more wrapped up and gave us a more clear idea where the future will take Honor and Rusty. I would like to think that what Honor said about Rusty going back to all of those things will take place, but you know what? I don’t mind if he doesn’t. So I guess I’m not all that sad about this ending? I don’t know. I’m getting a little confused over here myself. *HELP!!* I’m not a fan of open endings, but I guess it suited this particular story.
It’s the kind of book that foremost makes you think about life, friends, dreams, adventures—all kinds of stuff really. Makes you inspired! I didn’t perhaps fully form such big emotional connections with Honor and Rusty, but they did make me laugh out loud so many times and I’ll take away a bunch of good things from this novel. Jessi Kirby has found a secure place among some of my favorite authors and I can’t wait to check out her other two novels. Good thing I have Golden waiting on my shelf already in all its golden glory :)
Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5.0