Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

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?

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Jessi Kirby’s sophomore novel, In Honor, is a quick, satisfying read, but it isn’t without depth. I actually ended up enjoying it more than Kirby’s first novel, Moonglass. Like her first novel, In Honor is contemporary YA, but I think I felt more kinship with Honor than with any of the characters in Moonglass

Honor is close to leaving home for college when her brother, serving overseas in the military, dies. Honor and her brother, Finn, are incredibly close and his death hits her hard. Finn is more than a brother to Honor, he’s one of her best friends, her confidante, and he helped raise her after the loss of their parents. I’m very close to my brother, so Honor’s pain resonated with me. In addition to Finn’s death being a terrible thing all on its own, Honor is dealing with the confusion and anger she feels over Finn joining the military in the first place. 

In Finn’s last letter to Honor, he sends tickets to the concert of one of her favorite performers and jokes that she should tell her about him. Honor takes this flip comment seriously and embarks on a road trip to tell celebrity idol about Finn, her real life idol. Along for the ride is Rusty, Finn’s estranged best friend.

Rusty is an interesting character. It’s clear from the start that he’s a good guy, but he’s dealing with some pretty intense demons… and he isn’t doing it in a healthy way. He’s the quintessential tortured bad boy with a heart of gold. Perhaps a bit cliche, but also familiar.

There weren’t any crazy plot twists within In Honor‘s pages, but it was  well told story about a girl dealing with intense grief and finding herself after her pillar of stability is lost. Featuring a road trip, a good looking guy, a colorful cast of characters, and neatly wrapped up ending, In Honor is definitely worth a read.

Simon & Schuster BFYR, May 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9781442433137, 240 pages.
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3 thoughts on “Review: In Honor by Jessi Kirby

  1. I loved In Honor! I think the imagery of Texas and the Arizona desert were beautiful. I love how Rusty fit right into the Tim Riggins persona (from Friday Night Lights). I really liked Moonglass, too.

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