Friday, July 12, 2013

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Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Series: n/a
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

Dirty Little Secret is only my second Jennifer Echols book -- I loved Such a Rush when I read it last year -- but I think I've already noticed a pattern.  Ms. Echols likes to write about troubled teens who fall in love despite the odds as they work together to see their hopes and dreams come to fruition.  At least, that's what I've gleaned from the two books I've read from her.  I do have several others on my Kindle or on my shelf, but I haven't had time to read them yet in order to further research this theory.  They all sound like great summer reads, though, so maybe I'll be able to make time for them soon.

All theorizing aside, I liked this book.  There are aspects that are certainly relatable:  the sibling rivalry, the over-bearing parents, the hopes for self-actualization.  But then there was that one big issue -- the one that's grated on pretty much every reviewer -- that bothered me.  But then I remember that Grayson in Such a Rush did a pretty despicable thing, and I forgave him for that, so I'm willing to overlook Sam's inappropriate behavior, especially after he made his own (would-be) sacrifice for Bailey's sake.

Another issue I had was that everything in this story happened within the span of a week or so.  Bailey joins the band and falls in love with Sam in record time.  I admit that at that age, everything is all about immediate gratification, which is partly why I could overlook Sam's behavior.  But at the same time, this is the girl who's been feeling nothing for the last year.  The timeline just seemed rushed to me.

At 18, I don't think I would have let my family push my dreams to the wayside.  I felt sympathetic toward Bailey because I know what it's like to have a younger sister who's everything you're not.  Not that we get to see much of Julie until the end of the book, but as Bailey divulges the details of her ostracism from her family, we do get to see a little of how Julie fits into Bailey's current behavior.  I wish we could have seen more interactions with Julie during the book to see that it wasn't really sibling rivalry at all.  Julie's concern for her sister is tangible there at the end, and it pretty much erased all of the nasty thoughts I'd had about her during the course of the novel.  Especially after both girls took matters -- and their futures -- into their own hands.

I really enjoyed the story overall.  It was fun and evocative, and it held my interest, even when I didn't always agree with the characters' actions.  I loved the band dynamic and all the drama that surrounded it.  My husband was in a rock band when we met, and this story made me a little nostalgic for those days.  Because there wasn't always drama, just like in this book...when the performance starts, everything else just fades away.  I think the author really captured the essence of being young and in a band and trying to make it big.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

About the author:

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

Find Jennifer:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. I definitely loved the band, even with their issues, and wish that there had been more interaction with Julie (who I was certainly vilifying throughout the book). I enjoyed reading this overall, but I really wished Bailey would have grown a back bone sooner and as much as I was rooting for their relationship to work out, I did have some issues with Sam. The super quick time-span of the book was weird, too. Great review!

  2. Wait... hold up. Your husband was in a rock band when you two met? Mine too!!!! Okay, see, it's hard to deny it... we're totally bloggy soulmates. I swear, the extent of our similarities is mindblowing sometimes. Just mindblowing, I tell you! :P

    As for this book... I'll be reading it asap. It's next on my pile. :)

  3. I agree with you, I had issues with some of the characters' behavior (especially Sam), but in the end I was able to forgive it and just focus on the music and the feeling of young people trying to make it in a band. On that front it was a total success. I do wish there had been more Julie-Bailey interactions too, though. So glad you enjoyed this, and lovely review!

  4. I'm glad the positive outweighed the negative! I think I would have a problem with his mysterious bad behavior and with the unrealistic timeline (I hate when books start to be TOO unrealistic). And unfortunately, there are a lot of books out there that have a troubled teen fall in love with odds stacked against's become a nasty trope, but when done well, is still great. Love your review!

  5. I've read a lot of negative reviews for this one so I removed it from my TBR list, but you made me put it back! XD I'm more excited for the band aspect than the romance, so no high expectations here.

    - Kazhy @ My Library in the Making

  6. SO excited for this one! I've been on a Jennifer Echols streak and just read Forget You, Going Too Far, and The One That I Want. Such A Rush was also my first book by her. I think we all feel sibling rivalry at one time or another. It would be hard to be pushed aside.

  7. I don't think she can do bad. But maybe a little too formula do really pull off great. Ive only read 2 of her books too & have many more to go before I get tired.

  8. I actually just won this! I haven't read any of her books yet, but I absolutely can't wait to read Dirty Little Secret now! Your review made it sound really awesome!


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