Honor still can’t believe that her big brother Finn has been killed in Iraq. When his last letter arrives afterwards with special concert tickets, she heads off in his vintage Impala on a cross-country adventure with a few more twists than either could have planned.
Orphaned as young children, Finn and Honor were raised by Aunt Gina to do the right thing, so his enlistment as a Marine rather than taking a football scholarship wasn’t that surprising. Somehow, he and best buddy got crosswise during their senior year, and Rusty stopped coming over to help rebuild the ‘Pala.
Surprising when Rusty shows up for the funeral and won’t let Honor drive alone from Texas to California, along for the journey while she misses university orientation to carry out her brother’s last wish - to tell their favorite singer about him at her final concert.
Off across the dry flats of West Texas, into New Mexico and an improbable scuba dive to look at the stars, trying to get cool as they drive the unairconditioned Impala across the Arizona desert, car troubles cause an unscheduled stop in Sedona to get parts. As they drive and as they wait, there’s more than enough time for Rusty to tell Honor about his argument with Finn, but he seems determined not to talk about it.
Are they going to get to California in time for the concert? Can Honor get to the university before classes start? Can they start to imagine a world without her smiling big brother in it?
This journey In Honor of the plans that Finn made for their future will linger in memory long after the final page is turned.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Honor’s brother Finn loses his life while fighting in Iraq leaving Honor an orphan. After the funeral Honor opens the last letter that she received from him and inside finds two tickets (a late graduation gift) to Kyra Kelley’s last concert. Finn knows this is one of her favorite singers and she believes that he wanted her to take this one last trip before she starts college.
So instead of heading off to orientation, Honor lies to her Aunt Gina who is her guardian and prepares to head to California. As she is getting ready to leave Finn’s friend from school arrives drunk and reeking of alcohol and gets into the passenger seat ready to leave with her.
When Finn decided to go and fight in Iraq instead of using his full ride scholarship to go to college Rusty gets mad and doesn’t speak to him again. They both received scholarships and were supposed to go together. When Rusty shows up Honor is surprised but reluctantly lets him go with her to California.
As they take their road trip many feelings and emotions are opened up as they work through memories of Finn. Some truths come out that Honor never knew before and it rocks her to her core. There are many uplifting fun moments mixed in with the emotional ones as they cross the country but can either one of them cope with the truths that have been shed and how do they go on with their lives without Finn?
Ages 14 and up 235 pages
Recommended by: Joleen Waltman, Librarian, Idaho USA