Book Review by Aarene Storms: Dirty Little Secret

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dirty Little Secret  by Jennifer Echols

Bailey and her younger sister Julie grew up singing and playing fiddle on the bluegrass music circuit. At the behest of their parents, both girls would sing and play with anyone who asked, on the premise that any woman inviting them onstage might be Reba McIntyre in disguise.

The girls grew strong "chops" as musicians, but they've always played together ... until a record company swooped in to make Julie a solo star, leaving Bailey alone and (as far as she's concerned) unloved.

Bailey is sworn to silence about the record deal, and her parents even threaten to withhold her college tuition if she plays music in public, which might steal thunder and publicity from Julie's record release. But Bailey can't not play. So her grandfather finds her a backwater gig in Nashville, playing backup fiddle for Elvis, Dolly, and Hank impersonators at the mall. And that's where Bailey meets Sam: talented. Good-looking. And driven by a need to succeed.

The romance between Sam and Bailey is rocky, mostly because of Bailey's secret, but also because of Sam's ambition. This reader remains unconvinced that there is a "dirty little secret" at all -- more of a weird publicity gimmick. Bailey is a strong, talented character, and I never did understand (or believe) that she was inadequate. Rather, I wondered if her parents needed a good strong talking-to by somebody who knows better than to treat teens like disposable toys.

Those points aside, the story is enjoyable, the music biz deets are right on target, and the sex is tactful-but-steamy.  

This is a fun, forgettable read for older teens.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true.  --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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