Friday, December 7, 2012

Book review: In Honor

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

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?

I've been waiting to read this one for a long time. I read and liked Kirby's Moonglass, and have heard amazing, amazing things about this book. I actually won the book in a giveaway through Goodreads and then never received it.

While Pat and I were getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving, I got the email that In Honor had come in at the library. Perfect timing! I was able to read this whole (short) book in just a few nights.

In Honor is about Honor, whose brother just died in Iraq and who sets out on a mission/quest/road trip and is accompanied by her brother Finn's former best friend Rusty. Thoughts:

1. Kirby did a wonderful job portraying grief. I thought it was so realistic. How it comes and goes. How sometimes you can remember the one you've lost happily and think of the good times and then the next moment your grief hits you like a bowling ball to the stomach. And also the guilt you feel when you realize you've been happy for a few minutes when you should have been grieving.

2. I loved how nature was such a part of Honor's grieving process. She watches the stars and the sunrise and climbs into mountains and has a lot of time for introspection.

3. In my review of Moonglass, I mentioned that I think Kirby's biggest strength is her ability to write great characters. I think that holds true for In Honor, too. I loved Rusty and Honor, the two main characters, but once again, the people who most stick out to me are the minor characters, like Rusty's mom's boyfriend Bru, who I loved. Also his mom, who was wonderful, and a boy Honor meets serendipitously at a campsite during the roadtrip. I love how Kirby uses "minor" characters to bring about change in the main characters -- because I don't know about you, but I know some of the most random people in my life have caused huge changes to who I am, have made me think the most, and sometimes have changed the entire trajectory of my life.

4. Okay, I have to say it: The book is kind of predictable. Some things, you know they're coming probably as soon as you read that description above. And also, some things that happen are just too convenient and probably wouldn't have worked out so easily in real life. But there are lots of small moments and characters along the way that make this story really beautiful and worth reading.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads. I really did like it, and it's definitely worth the read, but probably not one I'll remember forever, and I probably won't read it again unless I'm looking to write grief realistically myself. (must remember this one!)

Oh, and it's probably also worth mentioning -- Kirby reportedly based Rusty off the character Tim Riggins from the show Friday Night Lights. Just FYI. :)

Have any of you read In Honor? What did you think?


Shoshanah said...

Isn't it annoying when those goodreads books never come? Luckily I've received more than have been lost, but it is such a let down to win a book you're excepted for and then to never have it show up.

Danavee said...

I like a quick read! I love your book reviews!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Great blog Abbey!!

AlexCarolyn said...

I totally want to read this. It's funny, but that's not the first time I'm heard that a character has been based off of Tim Riggins--obviously I'm not the only one totally obsessed with him! :)


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