The Secret Year
Jennifer R. Hubbard
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one - not even Julia's boyfriend - knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place? (Goodreads)
The bit about being like Romeo and Juliet meets The Outsiders is a perfect description of this novel. The Outsiders has been one of my favorite books ever since I read it several years ago.
Colt lives in the flats and Julia on Black Mountain. They are from two different worlds, him from a home where money is hard to come by and her from one where it is abundant - shiny cars, big houses, country clubs, and parties. One night they meet and things take off, leading them to spending a secret year together - until Julia dies tragically one night.
Colt is trying to learn how to deal with the death of Julia. I could not imagine being in his situation. He couldn't very well talk to anyone about it or grieve publicly since the relationship he had with Julia was a secret. This was a very pain-filled read and most certainly not a light one emotionally. Some parts were hard reading - like the ones that described how he felt about Julia or about how he felt like he was less than her.
All in all, I enjoyed this very much even though it was hard to read. I highly recommend this and I don't think you will be disappointed.