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…
Let me get something off my chest.
If this book has one massive fatal flaw, it's the insta-love. I was so disappointed in Echols because her earlier books have seemed so believable and honest, but Dirty Little Secret reminded me so much of why I despise instant love in YA books. I honestly couldn't believe in Bailey and Sam's romance since it seemed more like obsession on both parts and whilst i completely understand that love is part obsession, this one just did not seem quite right for me.
It's not that I disliked Bailey or Sam as individual characters, Bailey was the perfect protagonist for me, damaged and vulnerable despite her tough-girl persona, I think that she is a character that most adolescent and young woman can relate to and despite the fact that she did seem a little too messed up at times I did completely believe in why she acted the way she did. Sam was also a great character, I struggled to like him to start with because I couldn't work out what his intentions were, but I think the fact that he wasn't a total good guy made him very honest. I also loved Charlotte and Ace and to be honest I was more invested in their romance than the main one of Bailey and Sam.
This book is deep and meaningful and deals with some real-life issues, however it isn't really gritty and dark, which I really liked and which I read on for, and despite the fact that I wasn't rooting for the romance, I was definitely rooting for each of the characters to overcome their personal issues, so I loved the ending.. Personally, I didn't think that Echols' writing was that great here, it was pretty basic making it really easy to read, so I can't fault it it just didn't stand out in my opinion.
Overall, Jennifer Echols fans may be a bit disappointed in this book since it pales in comparison to the better books such as Love Story. I still think you should check it out though, as a short summer read. Just don't expect something that amazing... and avoid this book if you hate insta-love.
Overall Rating: C
Book released 16th July 2013 by MTV Books
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Edelweiss)