Thursday, June 27, 2013

ARC Review: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Goodreads summary:

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 review:

Well, it's no secret that I love Jennifer Echols.  (Haha.  See what I did there?  Like the title?  Okay, never mind.  Bad pun.)  I don't read tons of contemporary books, but hers have always been a favorite of mine because they're so raw and real.  Dirty Little Secret is no exception.  Jennifer Echols has done it again!

I was especially excited for this book because it's about country music, my absolute favorite music genre ever.  I'm from the South, so I've grown up listening to country music.  And it was so so so fun to read a book about it.  I mean, how often do you read a YA book about country music?  It gives this book a unique feel, which I loved.  It's hard to make contemporary books unique, but this one definitely is.

I really loved Bailey's character.  She's very tough and independent.  I loved her journey as she slowly began to forgive herself and her family and learned to start opening up her heart again.  Sam was so great as the love interest.  I was afraid he'd be a clichéd bad boy, but instead, he's so genuine and sweet and adorable.  I think I've found another book boyfriend. :) Oh, and he names his band Redneck Death Wish.  Love it.

The minor characters were also fantastic.  Like Charlotte, Sam's ex.  She surprised me by being a character who is truly hurting and trying to find her way, and I ended up loving her character arc.  I also love the way Echols makes all her character stick out with their quirks - for example, Bailey has a habit of rubbing her eyes a lot.  Little characterizations like this made each of the characters unique.

And the writing is amazing.  One of my favorite scenes is when Bailey performs for the first time with Sam and his band.  Echols captures the feel of this scene perfectly - the crowd's raw excitement, the sound of all the instruments, and Bailey's surprise at how much she's enjoying herself.  This book just totally represents the spirit of country music.

I would absolutely recommend this book.  Whether you like country music or not, you'll end up being sucked into Bailey's story.  Dirty Little Secret is a wonderfully original YA contemporary and the perfect summer read.

Favorite quote:

"I like doing things that make me uncomfortable.  I try not to have a comfort zone."

* I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  9 out of 10 (4.5 stars)

~ The Bookworm

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