Today, I have my review of Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols for its tour! There’s also a giveaway for five copies of Dirty Little Secrets! So check out what I think about Jennifer Echols’ upcoming novel!
Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Date of Publication: July 16, 2013
Genre: mature YA
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…
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to MTV Books and Edelweiss for granting me an eARC of this novel! Moreover, thanks to Shane of Itching for Books Blog Tours for letting me be part of this tour. Still, this in no way affected my views and these are my honest opinions.
When Bailey’s younger sister Julie got a development contract with a record company and their parents pretty much acted like they only have one child, Bailey started rebelling and acting up. When her parents got fed up with her, they shipped her off to live with her grandpa for the summer, helping him out with his guitar shop. Bailey isn’t supposed to play music anymore, as her parents will take away her college tuition, but music is Bailey’s life. Playing the fiddle is her life. Her grandpa gets her a mall gig, playing for different impersonators and there she meets Johnny Cash’s son. Or rather, Johnny Cash’s impersonator’s son, Sam. Sam seems to be with her on every level and he asks her to be part of his band. Bailey doesn’t want to but she really wants to. There starts Bailey and Sam’s interactions and Bailey’s ploys to get to play the fiddle even if she’s not allowed to.
Disclaimer: I like this novel. But there were elements in it that I didn’t like. So I’ll just get in the way those before spazzing for the parts I love. First, I hate Bailey’s parents. Who does that? You raise two kids to play and love music and then just because one of them gets a deal, you will forbid the other to play. Because the record company said so? What the frak. I don’t know if there are actual parents like Bailey’s but gah, I wanted to kill them, especially her overbearing mother. But I guess that’s part of the plot but still, they pissed me off.
I pretty much liked everything about this novel except for the parents and the love interest, Sam. At first, he was charming as hell and I felt like I will surely love him. But as I peeled more layers, what I saw underneath was not so pleasant. He’s handsome and hot, plays guitar, with a voice that will make you see stars and hearts, donates to the church and has manners. But then he’s also a lying manipulative player. I get it, he has issues too, boatloads of it, but I don’t think it’s an excuse to use people even if you’re as ambitious as him. He has redeeming qualities too though after seeing his actions, I just can’t see past all of it and love him unconditionally. He’s like the boy who cried wolf and I don’t know if I should believe him. Sure, he’s a real person, people like him exist in real life, but I guess I just want someone better for Bailey. Some readers love him though so I guess if you end up loving Sam, you will love this book. But as for me, Bailey and Sam’s relationship didn’t feel believable and organic and everything was wrapped up too fast and too nicely for my taste. I do admit though that there were moments that made me OH SO GIDDY because he’s sweet.
Now that I got everything I didn’t like about the novel, I’ll tell you all about what I like about it. I like Bailey. I actually love her. Sure, I know nothing about country music and I don’t even know there were bluegrass festivals but she made me care for her plight, for her music, for her. I just want her to tell her parents “suckers” and succeed and smile and let go. I wanted her to get everything she deserves for all her efforts and hard work. Sure, she rebelled but I would have rebelled too if I was in her situation. She has her flaws too, which makes her a dimensional character to root for. Because she has insecurities and doubts about herself. But I like her attitude and how she says what she wants and tells people the actual deal, not backing out. Sure, she can sound selfish at times but she knows it herself.
Additionally, her grandpa was very supportive all the way and I remember my grandma in him. She would tell me not to do stupid stuff but when I do, she’ll still there to support and help and laugh about it with me. Ms. Lottie dished out advice like it’s her business and I appreciate her for it. Don’t you just love nosy adults who give you advice that you hate but you totally need? Surely, you hate them at the moment but in retrospect, they pretty much drive us to do the right thing. Charlotte and Ace, Sam’s bandmates, also had their own story, which I enjoyed more than the main loveline. Ace is my type of guy. I was swooning and laughing and grinning at him and his minimal expressions and logical thinking. Lastly, though it wasn’t shown as much, I completely love and adore Bailey and Julie’s relationship as sisters. They truly love each other and know each other well.
Though the themes were universal and thus, easy to relate to , I don’t think I have come across a novel focusing on a violinist and on country music before. So on that front, I’d say Dirty Little Secret is a fresh outing in the mature YA landscape. Moreover, Dirty Little Secret was an engaging read! I read this in one sitting, literally, while lounged out in our sofa. Like country music, Dirty Little Secret was written with a mellow tone yet chock-full of emotions. My heart really went out to Bailey and I had a craving to listen to some country music.
Truth be told, this is my first Jennifer Echols novel. I almost begged Shane to let me join this tour because I’ve heard nothing but praises for Such A Rush and I want to sample Echols’ writing. Sadly, Dirty Little Secret didn’t make me a fan of hers though I like what I’ve read enough that I still want to read Such A Rush. Maybe this novel isn’t just the perfect fit for me but maybe it will be yours! If you’re game for a mature music-themed YA, do try it!
About Jennifer Echols
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.
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