Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols – Review

July 15, 2013 Review 3 ★★★★

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols – ReviewRelease Date: July 16, 2013
Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Pages: 288
Publisher: MTV Books
Source: Edelweiss
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: 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…
4 Stars

*Spoilers in Review – Unlike My Normal Reviews, The Emotions Evoked By This Story Require Spoilers*

I’m a big fan of music, particularly country music. So I knew I had to read this book.

It started off pretty slow. If I hadn’t read the publisher’s blurb, I would have been completely confused and in the dark about what was going on. It sounded as if Bailey’s sister had died – not gone off to pursue her career. But as things progressed in the novel, it became clearer what really happened until Bailey herself finally explained in explicit detail to Sam that Julie got the record deal and as a result her family made her quit her dream – and threatened not to pay for college if she didn’t keep up her end of the bargain.

But in every single scene it’s just so clear how much Bailey loves music. Not only is she good at it, but it permeates every fiber of her being. Sam can see it too.

But I have a lot of beef with Sam. And with the book Ms. Echols ended up writing. Yes, it ended up being a great romantic love story with a happy ending for everyone, but Sam was a jerk. As soon as Bailey finishes telling him the full story and he’s in the midst of telling her that her parents are wrong and not normal people for how they’re treating her – he spies the billboard advertising Julie’s Opry debut and realizes just how big the record deal really is. His reaction? He pulls the car over and the first words out of his mouth are, “I think this goes without saying, Bailey. You’ve got to get us an in with your sister’s record company.”

My reaction upon reading those words was to almost throw the book. Except I was reading on my iPad so that would have been a very bad idea.

Every single person in Bailey’s life treats her like shit at this point. Her parents made her give up her dream so that her sister could live out hers. Her pseudo boyfriend/friend turns out to not care about her feelings at all and instantly tries to use her for any connections she has to the music business. And THEN they “make up” and have sex. When they’re finished, he tells her that he can’t be with her because he’d just be too angry with her all the time. Did I mention she was a virgin?!

This is making me angry all over again!

But Bailey is mature and still goes to finish the gigs she promised Sam, despite her broken heart. And miracle of miracles a record executive hears them play and loves them! And Bailey manages to reconcile with her sister and her family. And Sam and the rest of the band.

It’s like Christmas.

Everybody lives happily ever after.

Now I know there’s a lot of snark in my last few paragraphs. You must be confused about why I gave this book 4 stars. Truth be told, I still enjoyed the book. I read it in a single sitting. I pretty much didn’t move during the 2 hours it took me to read it. And yes, it made me angry. I wanted to crawl through the pages and hurt Sam and shake Bailey. But that means that Echols wrote something real. She wrote something that made me emotionally invested in it. I was involved in the story. I wasn’t outside looking it – I was in it and angry.

That means it was a damn good book. Even if it made me want to spit nails.

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3 Responses to “Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols – Review”

  1. Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader

    Despite the fact that I was largely unimpressed with the first Jennifer Echols novel I read (Such A Rush) I had been interested in reading Dirty Little Secret to see if my tastes had changed. Well, that was until the negative reviews began poring in. While I typically adore books that are set in the music scene, I just can’t get past all I’ve read about Sam. He sounds like a totally unlikeable and unsympathetic romantic interest, and the fact that the two sisters are separated in the interest of a record deal sounds a little ludicrous to me. I think I’ll try one of Echols’ earlier works instead as they seem to be infinitely more popular than her latest release, which I’ve seen has garnered largely negative reviews thus far 🙁

    I’m happy to hear that you were left with a favourable impression despite your issues with the novel, though! I’m just not sure it’s the right book for me.

    • Mandi Kaye

      I wasn’t a fan of Such a Rush either. One of these days I’ll get a review of that one up here. It took me ages to finish it!

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