Complex & Compelling – Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Posted 9 July, 2013 by Danny in Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review, Featured / 16 Comments

Complex & Compelling – Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer EcholsDirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Published by MTV Books, Simon & Schuster on July 16th
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such 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…

Jennifer Echols is a master of Contemporary Romances, be it Adult – New Adult or Young Adult. “Dirty Little Secret” promised to a wonderful romance, with some deep layered issues packed in a musical environment. And , let’s face it – musicians are hot so I hoped for a sexy rock star love interest.

Dirty Little Secrets by Jennifer Echols

Bailey – troubled – angry , but a soul filled with music!

Immediately and right from the beginning I felt so bad for Bailey and I was so angry on her behalf! Her parents send her away so that her talented sister can pursue her Country Music career. Even worse, it was always Baily and Julie as a duo and now, Bailey is send away – told to be a troublemaker and told to lay low. How could her parents do that to her? It takes us a little to piece the whole story together, to understand what Bailey did to be finally send away. But still, I wished her parents would have shown more understanding for Bailey. In the end she was just a Teen, separated from her sister and told to stop doing what she loves best . Music!

Heartbreaking! YES!

Finding Your Own Path..

Bailey’s heart and soul is filled with music and of course she cannot just simply stop making music! No one should expect this from her and of course, she can’t stay away from it. So when she meet Sam and joins his band – she can finally be happy again. At least a little.. Because she’s always afraid of her parents finding out about her playing in an actual band in front of people! But it’s what makes Bailey drive – what her heart needs to be happy and what makes her feel whole. It made me mad, that she had to hide this in oder to please her parents!

But Bailey realizes that she counts just as much as her sister and as much as she tries, she cannot stay away. I admired that about her. She loves music so much – it’s wonderful when you have something so powerful to drive you!


Complex Characters and Complicated Romance

The story got even deeper when Bailey meet Sam – an equally driven musician.Both are very fast attracted to each other and here comes my problem! Sam is an interesting character to put it nicely. There is more to this boy than meets they eye and we have to dig very deep in order to understand him and his actions. Very often I got super mad at him and I would have loved to punch him for some of the things he did and said. It was never clear if he only played with Bailey or truly had feelings.

He was very confusing and I was switching between hating him and trying to understand him. It was not always easy. If you go and read other reviews there is an equal amount of people who loved the complexity of his character or hated this boy. For me though, my irritation with him surpassed my compassion.

There is a certain deepness and surely enough Sam didn’t had an easy life so for him, trying to pursue a music carear was essential. I do understand this, yet he was too driven sometimes and pushed people away and even hurt them!


Bewitched Rating

Rating 3.5


Bottom Line

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols was an engrossing tale that sucked me in completely. I was heavily invested in both Bailey’s and Sams live and was eager to understand these talented kids and what really drives them. The music in this story totally sucked me an wna I wish I could have heard a soundtrack  while reading! The characters were complex and left room for equal love and confusion. Even though I had some major concerns about Sam’s characters I would still recommend it as it was a very compelling and deep story!



Do you love music themed stories as much as I do??? How do you feel about characters that are not easy to love and make you think and get you confused? Do you prefer it more black and white?

Much Love,
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Obsessive Reader by Night - Scientist at Day! You can also find me on goodreads. I'd love to get to know you so, don't be shy and say Hello!

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16 Responses to “Complex & Compelling – Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols”

  1. Yeah, I’m thinking I’m going to have a lot of trouble with Sam Danny! I just read Nick’s review and I kind of wanted to punch him just based on what she said. The fact that you wanted to punch him too does not bode well for this story at all. Bailey sounds great, but I’m going to pass on this one for sure. I want a swoon worthy boy, not one that royally pisses me off, even if I can understand his motivations on some level.

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  2. The music aspect was soooo great with this! I loved all the details and I felt like I was there half the time! I wished I could have been!
    I know a lot of people got upset with Sam at the end…. Which I did too, but I also tried to see it from his perspective so I kind of understood. I actually felt like I let that go because I could tell where the book was going so it didn’t bother me as much! 🙂
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  3. I’m so glad that you liked it a bit more than I did Danny! I wanted to love it so much more because the music bits were cool! I just couldn’t get over how much of an asshole Sam was. 🙁 That’s one of the big things that gets me in books… if the love interest is a jerk face then it stops me from loving the book!

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  4. Danny- You liked this one a little better than I did. I just couldn’t get past Sam. I hated him. And though I felt sorry for Bailey, I thought she was too wishy-washy with her rebellious teen game. Either do it all the way or don’t. I did love the music aspect of this one though, but loving my character driven novels it just wasn’t enough for me. I think your review is spot on, if maybe a little more generous than mine.


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  5. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Jennifer Echols’ work, having been extremely disappointed in Such A Rush after hearing endless praise about it. I was going to read Dirty Little Secret to see whether or not my feelings had changed, but after the slew of negative reviews I’ve read about this novel, I think I’m going to pass. Apart from the absolutely nonsensical premise, I don’t think I can put up with Sam for an entire book. He sounds absolutely dreadful and I can’t imagine ever rooting for that particular romance.
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  6. POOR BAILEY!! What was wrong with her parents?!? How can you favor one kid over another? I know my parents made every effort to be as fair with both of us as possible (of course, we didn’t think so at the time). I’m not sure about Sam as the guy in this…I’ll have to give it a shot!

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  8. This was my first Jennifer Echols book and I was so disappointed. I gave it 3 stars but I hated Sam so much that it’s just sad that it was the first I read of Echols. Still interested in Such A Rush though. But I did love Bailey and almost everything about this, except Sam. Great and honest review, Danny!
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