About the book
Dirty Little Secret is a stand-alone young adult book by Jennifer Echols. It was published by MTV books on 16th July and it is 288 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review through Edelweiss.
Once, Bailey was far from being the black sheep of the family. Brought up on the music scene, she used to play fiddle with her sister who sang and played the guitar. However, when Julie landed a record deal, everything changed. No one wanted to sign Bailey and the record company didn’t want anyone to acknowledge that Julie even had a sister. Bailey’s parents had no bother with agreeing to this, as along as Julie got her contract.
While Julie is off getting her career in order, Bailey has been left at home to live with her Grandad in Nashville. Even though Bailey isn’t supposed to draw attention to herself, her Grandad gets her a gig at the local mall, performing with tribute acts. Here, she meets Sam, a stunning guitarist who just happens to have his own band. With the music industry being so hard on Bailey, she isn’t sure whether she dare get into it again, let alone face the repercussions from her family. It looks as though the music industry isn’t the only one capable of breaking Bailey’s heart though…
What I thought
Jennifer Echols is one of my absolute favourite young adult authors and I can never wait to read anything she releases. I managed to read this one a few months before release and started it immediately, even though I had loads of books with closer release dates.
What I love about Echols’ books is that she manages to do something new and completely different each time. The last book had flying and aeroplanes while this one is set in the world of country music. Now, I don’t know much about country music but Echols uses references that most people will be able to understand such as Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. These characters come into play because of Bailey’s job at the mall. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book because it showed how much Bailey loved music and how much she missed playing.
I felt really sorry for Bailey from the very beginning of this book. Her sister is off with a recording contract while she is forced to stay at home with her Grandad and not have any fun whatsoever. I actually hated her parents because of how they treat her. However, Bailey also acts out towards her parents, explaining that she has done things which don’t make them happy – such as going to wild parties and cutting off her long, blonde hair and dying it black. Even though I didn’t like them, I could understand Bailey’s parents reasons for keeping her out of the way. They didn’t want Julie’s career being messed up.
When you just get to thinking that Bailey already has enough going on in her life, she meets Sam. He plays in the mall with his Dad as part of the Johnny Cash tribute and he’s one hell of a musician and gorgeous to boot. Bailey is warned that he’s a heartbreaker but she is far from prepared for how he makes her feel. He seems to be the one person who totally understands her love for music but he also comes with his own problems. Bailey and Sam challenge each other and they make each other face up to truths that they have been hiding from. While both characters can be seen to be a bit annoying and selfish within this aspect of the book, I liked the drama and baggage both of them had. It gave their characters depth and purpose and to make them more than the music.
Jennifer Echols gives us a wonderful, dramatic and intense plot with this book but softens it slightly in places with the theme of music. Both the plot and the music, especially the songs used within the book, are intertwined perfectly and there is just the right balance of each. Echols’ writing is passionate and deep while managing to keep the story fun and interesting. I really enjoyed how different this book was.