Today, I’m going to do something a little different. Instead of writing a book review, I am going to share a booktalk that I made for my YA genre class. A booktalk is basically a book trailer for a book, where you try to “sell” the book using certain strategic devices. I attempted a playlist booktalk, using three songs to represent a certain aspect of the book in order to capture potential readers’ attentions. I hope you enjoy!
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Seventeen-year-old Colt Morrissey is keeping a huge secret. For the past year, he’s been secretly dating Julia Vernon, the most popular girl in the school. Then one night, Julia is tragically killed in a car accident. Now, Colt’s left alone to cope with Julia’s death, while also carrying the secret of their relationship. When Julia’s brother gives Colt a secret notebook filled with letters to him from Julia, Colt relives their year together through Julia’s eyes. As Colt grieves, he also wrestles with the secret and the idea of going public about his past with Julia. And while Colt realizes that he has to move on and continue living his life, he’s not sure how to do that. How can Colt let go of someone who was never really his to begin with?
Secret by The Pierces:
This song highlights Colt’s guilt and grief about living with the burden of their relationship after Julia’s death.
You Are Not Alone by Michael Jackson:
This song represents what Julia’s notebook means to Colt. Through her letters, Colt feels closer to Julia and is able to better understand their year together. The notebook both haunts him and brings him closure.
Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World:
This song reveals Colt’s conflicting feelings towards Julia and her death. While he misses her and regrets never saying goodbye to her, he also feels guilty about her death. He wonders if he could have prevented her tragic end.
Readalikes to try if you enjoyed The Secret Year:
Willow by Julia Hoban— Sixteen-year-old Willow, who was driving the car that killed both of her parents, copes with the pain and guilt by cutting herself, until she meets a smart and sensitive boy who is determined to help her stop.
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen—Halley’s junior year of high school includes the death of her best friend Scarlett’s boyfriend, the discovery that Scarlett is pregnant, and Halley’s own first serious relationship.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman—While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weighs whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.
* All readalike annotations provided by the Library of Congress Catalog in Publication (CIP)*