Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
Jennifer Echols’ YA books are a slightly guilty pleasure of mine, and I’ve been looking forward to her latest, Dirty Little Secret.* I read it last night, and wanted to stick up a short review today. So, pros and cons.
- Loved Bailey and her voice. I connected with her instantly, despite the fact that we’re very different personalities
- Loved the complicated ways that families are shown here, and especially the way that this connects both Sam and Bailey
- Loved Bailey’s relationship with music; I’m not a musician particularly, so I can’t say how accurate it is, but it definitely felt more integral to her character than in some YA books, where music seems to function as “Oh, this character needs a hobby!”
- Liked the relationship between Sam and Bailey generally. It’s fairly quiet, but I did feel that they both genuinely cared about each other, despite their differences and misunderstandings. Also, I felt like Echols was very conscious of setting up tropes–the handsome devil–and also of subverting them, which is cool
- Wasn’t super wild about the way the book depicted Charlotte. Something about the description of her, plus the way that Bailey interacts with her grated on my nerves. Even the big resolution at the end made me side-eye a bit. I know we’re seeing her through Bailey’s eyes, but still.
- In general, I really really enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t my favorite Echols–that would probably be Such a Rush. I didn’t have quite the same emotional connection to Bailey that I have had to Echols’ other main characters
* Sidenote: I’m not a huge fan of this title, which sounds a lot more scandalous than the book actually is; also, I kind of get where they were going with it, in that Bailey is her family’s secret, but really she’s never shown as fulfilling that expectation.
(I’m not sure if this counts for the August TBR challenge or not…it was on my TBR, but not on my original list. I’ll probably go ahead and count it anyway.)