Author: Jessi Kirby
Release Date: May 8, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Overall: 4.5 Stars
A devastating loss leads to an unexpected road trip in this novel from the author of Moonglass, whose voice Sarah Dessen says “is fresh and wise, all at once.”
Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.
Honor 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 Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
I have always had a fondness for novels featuring road trips in them, and Jessi Kirby's In Honor was no exception. Within the very first chapter, Jessi Kirby had already reduced me to tears. The overwhelming emotions her characters feel bursts straight from the pages with Kirby's poignant writing style, instantly hooking readers. My feelings were constantly mirroring Honor's... when she laughed, I laughed and when she cried, I cried too.
Ever since her parents died when she was a little girl, Honor has always relied on her older brother Finn, her protector, best friend and the one constant in her life who has always been there for her... until his sudden death. Devastated and feeling lost in the world, Honor opens Finn's first – and final – letter he ever sent while serving in Iraq and sets off on a road trip from Texas to California in the hopes of fulfilling his last request. Unexpectedly joining her is Rusty, Finn's estranged best friend who had gone off to college to play football while Finn suddenly decided to enlist instead.
Rusty and Honor were grief-stricken in their own ways, but despite the initial tension, their trip together gave them a chance to learn from each other and become stronger individuals. As they reminisced and told their favourite memories of Finn, he also becomes entangled in your heart. And with Rusty's sometimes brutal honesty, he helps Honor to see a side of her brother she didn't know... one that brings a shocking revelation by the end of the novel that made my heart break all over again.
In Honor was a heartfelt novel which truly showed the meaning of love and sacrifice. It was not only a journey of self-discovery, healing and remembering loved ones... but also showed that life can be short and it's important to be open to new experiences, to be a little spontaneous and not have everything planned out. With a touch of romance and an emotional storyline, Jessi Kirby's In Honor is a contemporary novel I'm sure you won't want to miss, one that will make you simply glad to be along for the ride.