Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret
Jennifer Echols

Rating: B+
Release Date: 07/16/13
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…

My thoughts on the book:
I hadn't read any Jennifer Echols books prior to Dirty Little Secret, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Echols takes the reader through a very accurate portrayal of the music industry (I used to be a working musician before I went to college), and created sympathetic and well-developed characters. The plot had me hooked, and Echols' writing is simply beautiful. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good, realistic contemporary read. 

Bailey reminded me of myself at her age. I wanted to be a musician so badly. I even lived in LA awhile, recorded several demos, and worked in music, but I refused to be the person they wanted me to be. Therefore, I had to give it up and go to college, and I'm glad I did. Bailey, however, did not give up and she kept fighting for what she loved. Like her, I also poured all of my pain into my music. It was nice to see someone not compromise, but at the same time fight to make it without losing herself. It had to kill her that the music executives wanted her sister, but not her. She was strong, though, and I admired her for that. Sam was a swoon-worthy, yet infuriating character. He was a bit manipulative, but most people in the industry are to an extent. You learn to give people what they want, so it's not even really your fault if you are manipulative. Therefore, I could relate to Sam somewhat and could see through his bad points. The other characters, like Bailey and Sam, were well-developed, flawed, yet easy to connect to. I cared about every character in this novel, but most of all, I was rooting for Bailey. 

The plot was realistic and kept me interested. The pacing was spot-on, and the writing was phenomenal. Echols' portrayal of the music industry was one of the most realistic portrayals I have ever read. Everyone always tries to ignore the terrible and destructive things that music execs do, and I'm glad that someone actually brought to attention how cold-hearted and thoughtless these corporations really are. Also, she illustrated the problem with stage parents and how parents are willing to break up their family and destroy their children just to gain their 15 minutes... even if those 15 minutes actually belong to the child and the parents are trying to live vicariously through them. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the entertainment industry and who loves realistic YA contemporary literature. This is a fantastic book that should be read by everyone. 

Pre-order Dirty Little Secret

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