Title: In Honor
Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: May 8th 2012
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
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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.My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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?
In my review of Jessi Kirby’s debut, Moonglass, I talked about how it seemed like she had written the book just for me, making everything exactly the way I like it. And she’s done it again with In Honor. In Honor is perfect in every way, and I think I might have loved it even more than Moonglass.
Like in Moonglass, Jessi Kirby’s writing is what makes everything work. I don’t even know what it is about her style that I love so much, but it’s so, so good. Jessi Kirby’s writing is vivid and beautiful, and I felt like I was there alongside Honor and Rusty the entire time. She really has a knack for balancing dark topics with some lighter moments: even though I felt Honor’s grief throughout the story, it was mainly a happy one, and I laughed more than I cried while reading. Any book that can make me laugh as well as cry, though, is a good one. (Even if I would have preferred not to have done either, since I read this on a plane and earned some stares when I was alternately laughing and crying.)
Books with road trips get an automatic bonus point from me, especially when they’re well-done, like in In Honor. Honor’s physical journey works perfectly with her emotional or spiritual one, and I loved reading about all the unusual things she got to do along the way. Road trip books like this one make me wish I wasn’t too boring to go on a trip like that.
I loved the romance in In Honor, and I loved it even more for not taking center stage. Both Honor and Rusty are characters I loved individually, so I really appreciated how the novel focuses on how they both heal, and help each other heal, instead of putting their individual growth second to their relationship. I always enjoy understated, bittersweet romances like this one, much more than melodramatic, unrealistic ones.
With vivid and evocative writing, dynamic characters you can’t help but love, and a story that I know will stay with me for a while, In Honor was everything I’d hoped it would be. Jessi Kirby is quickly turning into a new favorite author of mine, and I can’t wait to read her newest release, Golden!