Sunday, 1 September 2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (review)

Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Ebook bought from

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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…

Check out my review after the jump!

If it weren’t for the fact that I’d already read and liked a novel by Jennifer Echols (Such a Rush) AND that this one was reviewed favourably by Clear Eyes, Full Shelves (here’s a link) I probably wouldn’t have bothered picking up Dirty Little Secret. The title and the cover are pretty much everything I hate about trashy fiction, don’t you think they look cheap? And whilst I’m definitely not against reading something lighter when it comes for free (hello local library), actually PAYING for it goes against all my better judgement. Fortunately I knew (thanks to CEFS and my previous Echols experience), that Dirty Little Secret was worth checking out. Plus my new favourite place to shop for eBooks, Hive, was offering this gem of a novel for only £2.99! That’s a bargain right there.

So. What’s the verdict? Is Dirty Little Secret as guilty of being trash as the cover suggests? The verdict is not guilty my friends. Dirty Little Secret (DLS from now on, my typing fingers are tired), is a great coming-of-age novel, with some of my favourite elements. They are, in no particular order:

Country music
Feli knows of my addiction to Nashville, the brilliant TV show starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere and featuring some gorgeous country tunes. She even bought me the soundtrack for my birthday, even though she HATES country music. That’s friendship ladies and gents. DLS is suffused with the spirit of Nashville (the city, not the show), from the slightly seedy, to the traditional, to the new and exciting. I learnt some more names to add to my country music playlists and had that nice feeling of recognition when a song I knew already was mentioned. Bailey has perfect pitch, which apart from making me insanely envious, also made her musical successes more plausible.

Flawed characters
Bailey is so full of anger at the beginning of this novel, and whilst a lot of it is justified, the way she channels it is not. But that’s what YA fiction is all about, taking a flawed almost-grown person and seeing them grow and change and become an adult. Sam wears his flaws on his sleeve too; his unabashed hunger for success sometimes made me wince but the more you learn about him, the more you understand his motivation.

A Happy Ending
Come on, it’s the summer holidays and one of my ‘summer reads’ was a Margaret Atwood novel, I needed a little sunshine in my life!

Have you read Dirty Little Secret? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I listened to Miranda Lambert whilst writing this review, that’s how committed I am to my source material. This is my favourite one of her’s so far:

Apologies for the video - all of them had either terrible photos or Comic Sans.

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