Young Adult Contemporary
Simon & Schuster/May 8, 2012
Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq thee 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?
I love a good road trip book. It speaks to my needs of adventure and my love of driving in those wide open spaces the Chicks sing about. Bonus points for driving an Impala on the trip. Supernatural fans would appreciate that! The two characters on this road trip are brought together by grief and loss. Not the best beginning for any trip but it works this time around.
Honor hasn't had the easiest of lives. She was orphaned at an early age, raised by her aunt, she only had her older brother Finn as family. When Finn dies Honor loses something beyond her sibling. All sense of normalcy is gone. She's drifting and doesn't know how to find her way back to anything close to normal. Then she reads the letter from Finn and finds at least something she can do, a direction she can go even if it is to California.
The trip begins as a stowaway of sorts comes along for the ride and it's all Honor can do to keep her cool. Rusty likes his alcohol and tries to drown his sorrows but ends up heading to California with Honor. It's good he does since it's not a trip Honor did a lot of planning for. At the beginning of the trip, Honor's focus is completely on the destination - Kyra Kelly's concert. Rusty, well, he acts like he had nothing better to do which it turns out has some truth to it but he also has his reasons for going with.
The trip from Texas to California is long and not always the most scenic. It gives these two a lot of time to think. Even though the story is told from Honor POV, we still see what Rusty is going through although it's not as profound as the changes we see in Honor. Both characters tend to act close to what you'd expect of them given what we know of them. There are a few major coincidences on this road trip where it felt like a Lifetime movie. The setups a little too perfect.
The pacing was surprisingly slow at times given the short time frame Honor has to get to California if she wants to make the concert. The stops the duo made along the way are more like a type of spiritual guidance rather than simple rest stops and bathroom breaks. I liked how each significant event of the trip can be seen as stages of Honor and Rusty's lives before and after Finn's death.
In Honor is a tender, sweet and emotional story about loss and how each individual deals with that loss. I will admit to tearing up at one point - Kirby does well in bringing out some strong emotions in her characters. I do wish the pacing had been a bit quicker but otherwise, a very enjoyable story.