Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books (May 8th, 2012)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardback: 288 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
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?
Review:In Honor blew me away. I had high expectations for this book, but wow, it was even better than I had expected. Honor has suffered a devastating loss. Her brother Finn died while serving in Iraq. After learning of his death she received the last letter he sent to her. He gave her concert tickets and said to tell the pop star that he had a crush on her. Honor doesn't really have much of a plan but she knows she wants to make Finn's last wish come true. As she's leaving she runs into Finn's best friend, Rusty. Rusty is a little rough around the edges and it's obvious that his strategy for coping is to turn to a bottle, but Honor agrees that he can go with her on the adventure.
Now, I knew immediately who Rusty reminded me of. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind and I was head-over-heals in LOVE from the beginning. (Yes, he was messy and drunk, but you'll see!). Anyway, he was a football player, rugged cowboy, can be caring, and is mostly drunk ....a lot. So people, who is he?? Any guesses? TIM RIGGINS! Yes, it's true. (Just look up Friday Night Lights and find the super hotty with the longish hair). And once that image was in my mind, I was a goner! Jessi Kirby did confirm that she is a Riggins fan so for the purpose of my own imagination, that is who Rusty shall be. :)
I am also a sucker for a good road trip and this one delivers, plus some! Honor and Rusty were hilarious. Honor is very strong-willed and she has a long history of knowing Rusty and his antics. She wasn't going to put up with his crap and he knew it. Each of their "not-planned" stops brought so much to the story. It gave a nice opportunity to really learn more about each character.
Even though we don't meet Finn, I felt as if I knew him just as well as Honor or Rusty. Honor has so many great memories and I think that Finn is the big brother every girl would want. He was so protective of Honor, even if she didn't know it. She even found out a lot about him after he was gone.
Jessi Kirby has so much talent. Seriously! If you expect this story to be dark or depressing, it is not at all. She presented this story in a way that allows the reader to understand the characters, the emotions, and the hope that a new adventure and outlook can bring. Plus, Rusty brought a lot of funny moments to the story as he soon realized that Honor was no longer the little girl he once knew. Their history and slight flirtations really brought a great spark to this book.
In Honor is full of intense emotion. I did cry (a few times) during this story. I felt so invested in these characters from the first page. It was shocking really. They were able to break my heart and then have me cracking up a few pages later.
If anything, this book shows that grief comes in all forms and no one way is right. Some people need privacy while others need to see the world. Honor showed a level of courage and strength that I think most people only dream of possessing.
In Honor took me on an unexpected adventure. Jessi Kirby brought attention to a difficult, yet common, subject and showed how friends can come together in different ways to help each other heal. This was an uplifting, emotional journey that I won't soon forget.
Recommended: If you enjoy contemporary at all, read this. It is about loss but it is so much more than that. I think everyone will enjoy it.