Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Review Source: Edelweiss
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)My Thoughts:
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…
I knew I had to read this one when I first heard about the concept. Country music plus a New Adult character definitely equals a win for me. I love how Jennifer Echols writes books that are different from others that are out there: they somehow feel different and unique, which I really like.
Our main character here, Bailey, is someone who is relatable and easy to empathize with. She’s been dealt a crap hand by her family, and yet she still wants to make them proud, even when she hates her parents and what they are doing. I didn’t always agree with Bailey’s decisions, but ultimately I liked the duality of her character. She was willing to stand up for herself and go after what she wanted, and yet she was still was a great big sister and always cared about her sister more than she did about her own success.
The love interest in this book, Sam, is an incredibly interesting character, in that he’s swoony and appealing, and yet you kind of hate him at the same time. He’s manipulative and is willing to step on anyone to get a record deal and be famous, but he also has his moments where you see he can be a very good guy. I loved that he was completely flawed, but in a different way than most New Adult ‘bad boy player’ love interests. Sam had his own tragic backstory, but it was layered in organically and he never used it as an excuse for how he behaved. I felt like Sam’s transformation was more than a little convenient, in that it happened way too quickly, but on the other hand I can forgive it, because ‘Dirty Little Secret’ is one of those books that you can actually picture in the real world. I can see that Sam had the capacity to change, and that was enough for me to enjoy the book and the way it ended.
I really enjoyed this book, and my favourite parts were the music, with the performances and Bailey describing what it felt like to play music and perform. Jennifer Echols did a fabulous job of describing how much Bailey loved it. This book offers a fascinating look into Nashville’s music scene, what people are willing to do for fame, and how some people can connect on such a deep level, even when they would rather remain closed off. ‘Dirty Little Secret’ was a great read, and I will definitely continue to read books by Echols in the future.
Find Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.