Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ARC Review: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
288 Pages

From the author of the “real page-turner” (SeventeenSuch 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…

Jennifer Echols' Dirty Little Secret proves to be an extremely entertaining, albeit enraging read. As impossible as it is to put down, there were some character actions that did nothing but infuriate me. It's a very good book, with an interesting plot that has a pretty original concept. Echols shows us yet again how wonderful she is at storytelling with this musical tale. 

Since her parents and younger sister, Julie, kicked her off to the side so that Julie could pursue her music career, Bailey's life has been on a downward spiral. The final straw is when her boyfriend crashes his car. After that her parents send her off to live with her granddad, who sets her up with a gig playing with tribute groups. When Sam, the son of an impersonator, sees Bailey's talent for the fiddle, he begs her to join his band and worms his way into her heart. But the secrets she's keeping just might break everything she has in her grasp.

It's undeniable that Echols is an excellent writer. Her stories are compelling with realistically flawed main characters. Dirty Little Secret is no different in that respect. The difference is: I usually love Echols male leads and in this case, I wanted to poke out his eyeballs with a fork. The musical themes of the book were amazingly done. It was so cool to read about how this girl worked her way into the business, rather than what we usually see--where the characters are already thriving. I loved all of the lingo, and descriptions of the pitch, instruments, the gigs, etc. The descriptions were excellent and nothing stood out negatively for me. This was the first time I'd read a plot like this and I loved it. The setting was so well done, and besides a few minor things, very realistic. Echols writes a steady plot that will hook its readers immediately. This author has a serious knack for writing engaging, addicting stories!

What I didn't like about this book: Sam. Actually, I didn't really like any of the minor characters, but Sam is the worst. The other minor characters have semi-understandable motives, but Sam was just despicable. He behaves cruelly towards Bailey and never redeemed himself, at least in my eyes. His transformation into a "good guy" happened too quickly and he wasn't forced to truly deal with the consequences of his actions. It infuriated me that when Bailey finally stood up for herself, she caved back in so easily. Bailey's parents were the other characters that I wanted to take a shank to. How someone could do what they did to their child is unbelievable. It made me sick to my stomach, and I wish we could've seen a bigger confrontation between them and Bailey. Bailey deserved nothing more than to shove their actions against her in their faces.

Jennifer Echols is still an author I love, even if Dirty Little Secret didn't go as well as I had initially hoped. She has so much talent, which can be seen even with the faults shown in this novel. I sincerely look forward to reading her future work. Fair warning, this novel does have some sexual content, mentions drug and recreational underage alcohol use that makes this a good reader for older teens and new adults.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.


  1. I am exactly like you! I usually love JE's books but Dirty Little Secret infuriated me, mainly because of the horrible love interest. Sam was horrible. I felt he was too pushy and too self centered and wanted to take advantage of Bailey's position. I also couldn't really believe in the 180 degree turn he had at the end.

    great review, I even gave it the same rating,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  2. Yeah, I want to smack Sam around myself. He was infuriating the way Grayson was in Such a Rush, but not nearly as likeable. Great review!


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