Simon & Schuster, 2012
Right before she's supposed to leave for college, Honor's world is turned upside down when she found out her brother, Finn, was killed overseas. Days later, his last letter arrives - but Honor leaves it unopened until after the funeral. Inside, she finds a hand-written letter, and tickets to the Kyra Kelley farewell concert. On an impulse, Honor decides to pretend to leave for college as planned, but head west to California and the concert -- it feels like a fitting tribute to Finn's life, better than the military funeral. Everything starts out fine, but before she can even leave the driveway, Honor has an unexpected companion: Finn's ex-best friend Rusty. Drunk and hungover, Rusty climbs in the passenger seat and falls asleep, leaving Honor no choice but to take him with her.
The next few days are jam-packed with unexpected adventures (and misadventures!), fights, taunts, reminiscing and confessing. Honor and Rusty are both dealing with the heartbreak of losing best friend and brother, and dealing with all the hurt existing between the two of them from the falling out that Finn and Rusty had when Finn enlisted. Along the way, healing slowly starts happening. Slowly being the key word, and not without many setbacks and new bruises in the process. Driving cross-country, in her brother's old Impala, with the now very-grown-up-and-handsome Rusty, Honor is forced to "grow up" and come to terms with her own responsibilities and life.
In Honor is a story that's tough to read at times - Honor's sadness is raw and real, compounded by the ongoing tension (and chemistry) between herself and Rusty. And Rusty is his own colorful, sometimes mysterious, character - even though he was a smart alecky jerk at times, I really liked him. And the adventures that Honor and Rusty have were enough to make me want to take a little road trip myself -- though I am definitely glad to not have the same incentive. Jessi Kirby's debut Moonglass was amazing, and this follow-up offering has cemented her as a favorite contemp author. Looking forward to seeing what else she writes!
Book provided by my public library.