BLOG TOUR {Review #131 & Giveaway}: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Welcome to our blog tour stop for Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols, hosted by Shane at Itching for Books. You can follow the tour here. And don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post! Thanks for stopping by! :D

Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Pages: 288, Hardcover

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…


The country music theme in Dirty Little Secret was a big draw for me. I really enjoy when books have a strong musical presence but I enjoyed this one even more because that music was country. And theres something about country music - the lyrics, the atmosphere, the vibe - it's just really something special. And set in a place like Nashville, the country music capital of the world, you have a setting that literally comes alive. I really really enjoyed this one for that reason. I kind of fell in love with country while reading. And the emotion in the music really comes through to the reader. It was brilliant. 

I must say, I liked Bailey as a MC. First off, her snarky attitude was pretty entertaining. My favorite line: "I told Elvis that under my circle skirt, there was a Glock." She tried to act tough because she was in this rebellious stage of her life but underneath her facade she really was just a good girl putting on a brave face. She was dealt a pretty rough hand and I'm not sure I'd handle it much better than she did. When I was a teenager and got really pissed off at my mom, I got spiteful too. (But I'd like to think I've grown out of that). 

What the book summary fails to emphasize is how shitty her parents were. When Julie got the record deal and Bailey didn't, they were the most uncaring, selfish, negligent <insert a ton of negative adjectives here> parents. They didn't stop to think how Bailey would feel when all her dreams came crashing down around her, watching her little sister get a deal alone even though she was incredibly talented herself. Or how about the fact that they up and left to tour the country for a year to promote her sister's upcoming album and straight up left Bailey behind. That's because the record company didn't want anyone aware of Bailey's existence in case it made for bad press that they shut her out. And want to hear the worst part? They forbid Bailey from pursuing music!!! How can you foster a passion for music from the age of 5 and then tell your kid they can't play anymore for the "possible" sake of her sisters career. HOW CAN YOU DO THAT? And when Bailey acts outs because she is just a teenager and doesn't know how to deal, they punish her even more harshly. They threaten not to pay for college if she doesn't behave and stay under the radar. They won't acknowledge that maybe she's hurting.  And the award for the world's worst parents goes to...

So in hindsight I thought Bailey was handling things pretty well considering. She was hurt, jealous, angry, confused and probably wanted to scream and flip the bird to the world, but she kept her emotions in check and tried to obey her parents because she really didn't have another choice. She wanted to go to college. But music was a part of her and she couldn't just give it up. Her mall gigs were alright but when tall, dark, and handsome Sam walks in with an offer she can't refuse... she doesn't. But what started as a "just this once", kept happening again and again. Bailey knew she was treading a fine line with her parents anger, but she couldn't help herself. She loved the feel of playing music, and playing in a band with Sam. Then again, Sam didn't leave her much of a choice either. 

Oh, Sam. *sigh*. Sometimes you were alright. Sometimes I wished a piano would fall out of an upper story and hit you on the head. How could one boy be so understanding at times, and so completely intolerant and unaccepting at others. Seriously, he would listen to Bailey but never failed to be completely judgmental and unmoving if he disagreed with something she said. His band was his life. Everything else came second. And he wasn't above using Bailey if it furthered his chances of success. He was an ass. And Bailey knew this. And yet she still let herself get attached and worse. I can't say I totally blame her but I can't say I approve of her taste in men either.

BUT Sam did come around. And I really enjoyed this ending of this book. Things that needed to be said were said. And things that needed to happen, happened. So while Dirty Little Secret was not perfect, I still enjoyed it. Especially with how well Jennifer Echols captured the passion for music and the sensation of playing for an audience. I could feel the thrill Bailey felt playing her fiddle while reading and I loved that.

About the Author
Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.



  1. Good review. Thank you for participating :)

  2. Posting my review tomorrow, but I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    Oh, and Country music is the shiz. That is all. Lol:)

    Nightly Reading

  3. I love your description of Sam because that is so true! He was frustrating, but very real, so I enjoyed him a lot. Loved this book!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  4. I'm very much looking forward to reading this book! I haven't read many Echols books, but the ones I have read, I've enjoyed. It's also extra incentive that it features music, particularly country music, which I'm starting love, love, love.

    1. Yeah this was only my second Echols book I think. I definitely want to read more form her. The country music theme was definitely a plus but the boy, not so much.


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