Dirty Little Secret

Dirty Little Secret

by Jennifer Echols


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By the acclaimed author of Such a Rush, Jennifer Echols returns with Dirty Little Secret, a romantic drama that follows two sisters as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

I was being given the chance to do the one thing I wanted most in the world. The chance was presented to me by a guy so gorgeous, he turned my skin to fire when he touched me. And joining a band was the one thing I was most forbidden to do, the thing that would ruin my future forever.

Eighteen-year-old Bailey has issues—and not just that she’s lying to her grandfather about playing fiddle in a Nashville bar. There’s how her younger sister Julie’s recording contract makes her family terrified that Bailey will mess the deal up. And why Bailey is acting out. And the way everyone seems mad at her, even Julie. Bailey’s parents don’t want her playing gigs at all, but when they leave her with her grandfather so they can tour with Julie, she lands a job playing old country songs in cheesy costumes at a local mall. That’s where she meets Sam...

Sam doesn’t plan to spend his life playing backup at the mall for his alcoholic dad. He intends to take his high school garage band to the big time, and when he hears Bailey play, he knows she’s what he wants.

Bailey isn’t sure where she stands with this boy who has a lust for music and life, and who may or may not have a lust for her. And yet, suddenly, her life is no longer about what might have been, and a whole lot about what could be...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451658033
Publisher: MTV Books
Publication date: 07/16/2013
Pages: 273
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

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. Her nine romantic novels for young adults have been published in seven languages and have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Aspen Gold Readers’ Choice Award, the Write Touch Readers’ Award, the Beacon, and the Booksellers’ Best Award. Her novel Going Too Far was a finalist in the RITA and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son. Visit her at Jennifer-Echols.com.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Dirty Little Secret includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Bailey Mayfield is in trouble. After a high school graduation party, she got in a car accident that’s put her on probation with her parents. They sentence her to spend the summer before college working with her grandfather with one rule: No playing in bands.

At first, Bailey is going to stick to her word. But when her grandfather gets her a gig playing at the local mall and he vows to stick up for her if her parents find out, she convinces herself this one infraction of her parents' no-bands rule is okay. Then she falls head over fiddle for the sexy Sam Hardiman, a singer with a band of his own. Soon they’re playing on the Nashville circuit, where, Bailey says, “a country legend might drop in and change our lives with one phone call.” Ultimately, Bailey is presented with a choice: her love, her music, or her family.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Early on, Bailey writes the costumer for the mall band “was way too polite to be baited into admitting my look was the stuff of her nightmares” (2). Given Bailey’s attitude, what was your first impression of her? How does that impression change?

2. Bailey is raised in a musical family. Why do you think music—which is so close to the hearts of her mother, father, grandfather, and sister—is the way she chooses to act out against them?

3. When Sam comes over and speaks to Bailey’s grandfather, what sets her grandfather at ease? Why is Sam better at getting him to trust them than Bailey is?

4. Why does Bailey wear a shrug when she’s leaving her grandfather’s house for her first gig and take it off in Sam's truck?

5. Why is Bailey’s grandfather more accepting of her than her own parents?

6. The first time Bailey and Sam kiss, Bailey thinks, “I didn’t want him to know how he was affecting me, in case he didn’t feel the same way.” Given where their relationship is going at this point, why is Bailey so afraid of showing her feelings?

7. When Bailey’s nearly mugged, she says she’d rather give up her wallet and ID card than her fiddle. Is there a special object like that that defines who you are, that you wouldn’t give up for money or safety?

8. Over and over, Bailey vows to leave Sam’s band and never return. What keeps her coming back for more?

9. “Sam was creative and dedicated, but his wasn’t the plodding bright-and-early work ethic of the morning person like mine” (198). Are you more of a Bailey—early rising writer type—or more of a Sam—late-night brooding type?

10. If Charlotte is interested in Ace, why do you think she can’t move on from Sam and leave him for Bailey?

11. Why does Bailey, upon seeing the billboard for her sister Julie’s show, decide she wants to go to the Grand Ole Opry with Sam in tow, even though she knows it will be painful?

12. What compels Bailey to keep coming through for her sister—going into hiding then coming to cheer her on for her show—despite all that her mother, sister, and father have done to her?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. “No country costume could have prepared me for dressing up like Dolly Parton’s right hand girl,” Bailey remarks during her first gig at the mall (21). Have you ever had to wear a uniform—or a silly costume—for work?

2. Bailey and Sam spend a lot of time seeing other bands performing in Nashville. If you can, take your reading group to a restaurant, bar, or other venue that has live music. Perhaps you should even go in costume!

3. To get in the Southern mood for your reading group, serve BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, grits, and cornbread!

Customer Reviews

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Dirty Little Secret 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Reading-is-My-Treasure More than 1 year ago
Dirty Little Secret was my third Jennifer Echols book and I am happy to say she's impressed me yet again! I really enjoy reading her contemporary romances. While events towards the end prevented me from liking this one quite as much as Going Too Far or Such a Rush, I still enjoyed most aspects of the book. BAILEY, THE MAIN CHARACTER Bailey was awesome! She was rough around the edges and able to stand up for herself. I loved how she didn't let anyone try to walk all over her without pushing back against them. Her voice never bored me and her passion for music (when it was shown) was nice to see. THE ROMANCE This author is really good at writing romance. Bailey and Sam had a . . . tumultuous relationship, sure, but I like book relationships like that. There were times when the characters found each other irresistible, but they had several rough patches to work through. For the majority of the book, I loved the romance. One turn of events towards the end made me officially dislike Sam. Then, at the end, their relationship felt forced to me. I wasn't convinced of their chemistry as much as I was before. Nevertheless, the romance was still something that I really enjoyed. THE MUSIC I love music based books! This one had country music in it (which I also love) and had a fiddler as the main character. The music added a fun aspect to the book. It also heightened some of the drama because a lot of conflict concerning Sam's band arose. This could possibly be annoying to some readers, but not to me. Books are one of the only things that I actually like to see a little a little drama in. It keeps a story interesting. OVERALL I really liked reading Dirty Little Secret, mainly for the reasons I've already explained. This book was definitely an enjoyable read--quick, too. If you're a Jennifer Echols fan, I highly recommend reading this one. If you haven't read her books but love a great romance and an awesome protagonist, you may like this one!
Readergirl_Revus More than 1 year ago
You all know how big a fan I am of Jennifer Echols and her books.  I love each and every one of them so much.  She just knows how to write characters, make them real, and make me care about them.  And Bailey was no exception. I loved Bailey from page one.  She's spunky, sarcastic, and talented.  I hated to see how her family has treated her, and I felt so bad for her that she's basically a, well, dirty little secret that they don't want getting out and known.  It hurts to think of someone being swept under the carpet like that, especially when it's your own family doing the sweeping. I also really liked Sam.  I loved the whole dynamic between her, Sam, and his friends, the band members.  She finds a new family there, and it is gratifying.  I'm from Nashville and have lived here all my life, so it was kind of neat for me to read a book set in Nashville, and most particularly with the country music industry as the setting.  Jennifer Echols did a very good job portraying the life of musicians, singers and songwriters trying to break into the industry.  It was rich in detail and very truly depicted. The romance wasn't as slow of a progression as I'm used to in her books, but that was okay for a change.  I was only slightly disappointed in the fact that the romance wasn't quite as steamy and sexy as in her prior books.  Also, the story wasn't as emotionally charged as prior books have been either, and although I did miss that, it was also nice to read a story by her that took a break from that as well. Echols' writing is just as fantastic as always, and I was left feeling satisfied when it was over.  Another great book by a great author.
Book_Bite_Reviews More than 1 year ago
This book is a really great summer read. It deals with some complex characters who come with a lot of baggage, but the writing is still very clean and light. This is definitely not a heavy book and is perfect to read by the pool or at the beach. I did think the characters were a little too easily pushed over and got over things a little too quickly, but overall I still enjoyed the story as a whole. I recommend this to those who like light, fun contemporary romances with a splash of drama.
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rockygirl1 More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books from 2012 was Jennifer Echols’ Such a Rush.  So I was over the moon excited to get to read Dirty Little Secret. Bailey is spending the summer with her Grandfather because her sister was signed to a once in a lifetime deal to sing.  This would be awesome except all their life, Bailey and her sister had been a duet.  They had toured together and worn matching outfits and spent their lives working towards a record deal. But when the deal came, they only wanted Bailey’s sister, not the duo that they had always been. Then Bailey makes a mistake and the record company decides they want to keep her out of sight while her sister gets ready to launch her career. Bailey suddenly finds herself playing fiddle to shopping mall Elvis’, literally.  And that is where she meets Sam.  Sam sees the real talent that Bailey has and realizes how much it will add to his band.  He cajoles Bailey to play in his band that he has assembled. Oh, can I tell you how much I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book????  Jennifer Echols definitely is finding her way onto my list of favorite authors!!!! I really couldn’t put this one down. I kept reading (and trust me there were several other books that I should have been reading!) I really didn’t like Bailey at first.  And I wanted to! Bailey had this huge chip on her shoulder. She felt abandoned by her family, felt that her sister had gotten this amazing deal and it wasn’t fair to her.  Was mad her sister hadn’t called her… And then, of course, the story rolls on and we find out a lot more information and we realize WHY all this has happened and we really don’t feel quite so bad for Bailey. Also, Sam has a lot going on with him too.  Really, these two characters were just made for each other. I’m also a huge country music fan, so I’ve got to say that I really think that this added to the whole love of the book for me. But I don’t think that it would take away from it either. It is set in Nashville, and there are references to older country acts, but in some humorous ways, not something that you would need a prior knowledge of to understand the book. I also loved the fun details that Jennifer Echols threw in the book, like the outfits and event the songs that they sang and so forth.  I found myself smiling and really enjoying this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Echols has been one of my favorite contemporary YA writers, from her fluffy books such as The Boys Next Door, angst filled books such as Going Too Far, to one of my all time favorite books Such A Rush. Unfortunately, the last two books Echols released were below my expectations, one way below (Levitating Las Vegas) and another that wasn't as bad, but still a disappointment, especially coming from an author I admire so much. I mainly found issues with the characters.. and then the abrupt and sudden wrap up of the novel. The main protagonist, Bailey, used to duet with her younger sister at any country music festival they could get into, however only her younger sister gets picked up by a record label and one of the conditions is that Bailey stops her music and lies low in order not to ruin her sister's image. Her parents' agreement to such a condition was what first brought up the red flags for me. Yes, we have a ton of horrible parents in YA books, but my main problem was the resigned acceptance of Bailey to these terms. Yes, she thought it was unfair, but she didn't mirror the rage and anger I would be feeling in her situation. To put it bluntly, I wasn't able to connect with her, not one bit. I thought the book would redeem itself by the love interest, but my God... Sam is the jerk I would read about that the main protagonist would be dating initially in a YA book until she realizes how stupid she was to date such a loser. Sam was... SELFISH. All he cared about was furthering his own career. Initially I thought it was a misunderstanding and the author would set things straight, but no... that is exactly who Sam is. I just didn't like both characters separately and hated them together. The plot was lukewarm at best but I did enjoy all the music talk and the secondary characters, Sam's friends as well as... ok no, just Sam's two friends. In all honesty, this is a forgettable book.
lucieparis2011 More than 1 year ago
Culturally, country is not a music that is part of my european education . So suddenly, I amused myself by researching the various songs performed and mentioned by Jennifer Echols on Youtube. This allowed me to hear some classic American songs and helped me improve my musical knowledge. After the plot is revealed, I've just gotten round in circles, alterning hot and cold reactions, due to the special relationship between the two heroes. A little tiresome to follow... Also Bailey's and Julie's parent reactions takes me aback. How can you ask one of your daughters to lay low and stop living to let the other one shine? I know that sometimes parents make strange choices but...For real?! I have been exceeded by their nonsenses. Just as Sam's reactions and thoughts makes me perplexed. While he is beautiful, talented and tortured, his way of seeing life and success have made ¿¿me shudder. Using and manipulating everyone to get what he wants ... A strange choice of hero, don't you think? Even though, there is a happy ending, I would say do not rely on his old school attitude, he's just a pushy liar and heartless, boor. Nevertheless, my reading has been fast. I found lengths and the ending too easy but it may be suitable for a teen reading. I confess, however, not to have fallen under the spell of the characters except maybe for Ace. However, this has given me want to listen to music, visit Nashville and go a gig. Then, I must admit that the dedication and persistence of these young people to succeed in the music industry is commendable. They give themselves completely to succeed. Make your own decision on this book... Lucie newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr
MyHeartHeartsBooks More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Echols does it again with Dirty Little Secret. She's one of those YA authors that you have to but on your auto-buy list. Bailey is forced to live with her grandfather while her parents are off trying to make Bailey's little sister, Julie, a country star. After Bailey's wild antics catch up with her, her parents ban her from playing country music, partly to punish her but also because they don't want Bailey's actions to affect Julie. While playing music for tribute groups at the mall she meats Sam and is instantly warned that he'll break her heart. For some reason she can't stay away from him even though she has good reasons to and he manages to convince her to join his band. Joining the band is the start of Bailey beginning to live her life again and she's terrified. From the introduction of Sam, I started shipping so hard (Bailey + Sam). Their relationship is kind of messed up, but you can't help but root for them. They both obviously have their issues and that's what makes their relationship more real. Bailey and Sam rarely ever find stability in their relationship but the constant battle of trying to make it work, making it work, then watching it fall apart is refreshing and real. However, Dirty Little Secret is more than Bailey and Sam, it's about trying to start over when everyone (including yourself) has given up. I really like this story by Jennifer Echols. I really wish there was something more, maybe more scenes with family interaction because that's the heart of this story, and as much as I love Sam and Bailey, the thing that kept me going, when the Sam and Bailey storyline went a little flat, is Bailey's relationship with her sister and her parents. I think if Echols focused on that a little bit more is would've increased the emotional range of the story. ARC provided by Edelweiss/Publisher for a honest review.
WhatsOntheBookshelf More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of Dirty Little Secret from the publisher for review. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Jennifer Echols is one author I will always read. Every one of her books whether it be young adult, adult, or new adult has been enjoyable. Each one is different and unique. She has her own style, which every author should, but the storyline is never repetitive. Simply stated: I love her books. Dirty Little Secret is no exception. Yes, it's set in Nashville. No, it's not all about country music. The balance is perfect, without a doubt this book should appeal to lovers of the country music capital and those who want a good story but aren't fans of country. Bailey and Sam have some great tension without it getting too angsty. They've both got their secrets and neither one is ready to share. But when they do, they are there for each other--after the initial shock of course. Sam's a bad boy in his own right, which I'm drawn to. That bad boy part of him takes a while to see the truth, and hurt, in his actions. It's not until the very end that he redeems himself, and I have to admit, I was glad to see the way the redemption was written. He doesn't give up everything, but he comes to realize the pain he's causing everyone else by his actions. Exactly as it should be, but it was refreshing seeing him keep some of the bad boy. If you haven't read Jennifer Echols, then I suggest you fix that with Dirty Little Secret. Be prepared, though, you'll want to get the rest of her books once you finish this one!
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
After having a not so great first start with a Jennifer Echols book (Levitating Las Vegas) I am pleased to say I enjoyed this one a lot more. However, I definitely had my hang ups with this book. And unfortunately one of the biggest ones came in the form of the love interest, Sam. I'll get to that later. First of all, I really enjoyed the storyline. The book did start on the slower side and I felt myself really pushing through the beginning of the book. However, it did end up picking up and I found myself enjoying reading about the performing aspect of the book. Living in Music City myself, I loved reading about their gigs and watching how they would do less than desirable ones just for the chance to be noticed. I see so many performers downtown who long to make it big just like they do and know how even the smallest opportunity could be the big one. Which brings us to the characters. I really liked Bailey, our main character. She has a lot of spunk and I really liked that about her. She is in a really crummy predicament and I really felt for her. Her parents have basically abandoned her to focus on the career of her younger sister, Julie, who was offered a record contract. That's not the bad part though. Julie and Bailey used to play and perform together. But the record contractors didn't want Bailey. So now, to avoid the fans and press getting wind of Julie's talented fiddler sister, Bailey is not allowed to perform or draw attention to herself in any way. However, Bailey doesn't take it laying down. What do teenagers do when told NOT to do something? They rebel, of course! Bailey hacks off her blond hair, dyes it black, layers on the make up and hangs out with the wrong crowd. After a recent incident, Julie is no longer speaking to Bailey because she is afraid her older sister will ruin her perfect image. Bailey is living with her grandfather who has managed to swipe her a gig fiddling doing the mall circuit. It's through this that Bailey meets Sam. The good-looking guitar playing son of 'Johnny Cash', the two are instantly impressed with each others' musical talents. Sam is in a band with two friends and after hearing Bailey fiddle wants her to come perform with them. Bailey, of course is hesitant, because she knows she can't do anything to jeopardize her sister's career. (Yeah, her parents threatened to not pay for her schooling if she screwed up.) At first, I really liked Sam. He was cute, charming, and I was definitely rooting for a relationship with him and Bailey. And then as the book goes on, I found myself really distrusting Sam's intentions towards her and then my distrust turned into overall disgust. First of all, I think they moved wayyyy too fast. I mean, I'm definitely not a prude or anything, but the whole thing just seemed to happen too quick. Again, I believe in instantly being attracted to someone, but professions of love after such a short amount of time? And the way it came about? I was not a fan. Sam was just too wishy-washy for me. One minute he'd act like Bailey was special and he did care about her, but the next you have to wonder- was it just a ploy to get her to stay in the band? After Charlotte, their drummer and one of Sam's many exes, tells Bailey that he's spouting the same crap he did to her to get her to join the band, you really have to wonder about his motives. But then he'll do something really sweet and will really make you think: maybe she's different. However, Sam says and does some things that are pretty unforgiveable in my book. I won't spoil it and say what, but after that, Sam was lost to me. Even at the end, I couldn't overlook his words and actions. If I had been Bailey, and I had received that ultimatum after what had just occurred between us, I would not have been so quick to forgive. I gave this one 3 stars because as I said I really did enjoy the storyline and the musical aspect of this book. However, when I can't stand my love interest because he acts like a straight up douche, it's pretty hard for me to love a book. If you're a fan of country music, like a musical backdrop, and can deal with a love interest like Sam- then go ahead and give this one a shot. *Received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols Publisher: MTV Books Publication Date: July 16, 2013 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss and ARC from author Summary (from Goodreads): 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… What I Liked: This is my second Jennifer Echols read, and I must say, I really did enjoy it! I wasn't sure if I would, because I don't read and/or like a lot of books dealing heavily with music - especially country music. I'm not sure why, but they never interest me a lot. But this book was pretty good! Bailey no longer lives with her parents and her about-to-be-famous sister. After the disaster that occurred at the end of Bailey's high school career, her parents sent her off to live with her grandfather. Her parents send her to her grandfather's house, to hide her; she isn't really supposed to play her fiddle in public - in fear of doing something embarrassing and messing up her sister's upcoming musical career.  But when Bailey meets Sam and plays with him and his father at a mall, everything changes. He invites her to a gig, which she attends - telling her grandfather that she and Sam are on a date. More and more gig opportunities are presented, and Bailey finds herself falling for Sam. I really liked Bailey throughout the book. She's not overly snarky, but she has spunk. She's scared of letting herself shine, even with Sam. I understood the decisions that she made, why she hid herself from the band, why she still wanted to forgive her awful parents. Sam is an interesting character and a complex love interest. He isn't just a guitar player; he is hurt from his past by one girl - one girl that changed everything for him. Apparently, he is a bit of a player, but he's the nicest guy, so I'm not sure "player" is the right description for him. He's hotheaded, but he is dedicated to the band, and eventually, to Bailey. The romance is not too complicated. There is no love triangle, and we know that the primary couple is Sam and Bailey. There is another pair that finally comes together - that was nice. The plot is a bit too slow for me, and while things do happen quickly, the scenes are a bit boring, but it's not too hard to keep up. I found myself at the end of the book quickly. The ending is very good - everything wraps up really nicely. What I Did Not Like: Like I said before, the plot is slightly boring. Events occur fairly quickly, but the tone of the book was slightly boring, making the events and the plot boring. I think people will like this one, but you have to get through it. Also, I didn't understand why Sam got so worked up over Bailey not being entirely truthful to him, right from the beginning of knowing each other. It's not like they completely knew or trusted each other! We get so cray mad over something like that! It's not likely Bailey owed him anything at all. If anything, he owed Bailey so much, after basically forcing her to come to gig after gig. Would I Recommend It: Hmmm, yes and no. Definitely read it if you are a Jennifer Echols fan. But I honestly think that there are better and more interesting contemporary romance novels out there. While this book didn't disappoint me, it still upholds my "meh" feeling towards books centered around music. Rating: 3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. A cute but angst-filled country read that wasn't too bad!
Katia-Drugs_Called_Books More than 1 year ago
Dirty Little Secret tells the story of a girl who lost her way and started acting out once a dream she's worked all her life for is taken away from her. When music is taken away from her. Fast forward a year and she's now preforming in malls, without her parents' knowledge, and she'll hang on to that job with her teeth because it allows her to play - even if it's kind of lousy. Enter the gorgeous Sam; a boy with charm and talent, who refuses to accept no for an answer; and he wants her in his band. And maybe his bed. Quite honestly, this book could've been amazing. The heroine, Bailey, goes through an amazing emotional journey and grows up through the course of the book. She stops blaming the world for her problems and starts paving her own way. The music aspect of the book is very unique and sure to appeal to many readers; music is integrated in Bailey's point of view completely. Her entire world is made of it. And it's got a pretty good sibling relationship, even if we only get a glimpse of it at the end (and it's a really cute end). But what completely ruined my enjoyment of this book was the romance and the love interest. Sam is a manipulative, using bastard. All he cares about is his band, and it doesn't matter who he hurts, he'll do whatever it takes to make them big. He was a complete and utter douche-bag, only remembering how to be a proper human being at the very end of the book. Couple that with insta-love, and a relationship that has so many bad things and fights in it it's not even funny (which Bailey ignores like they never happen) and you've got one romance I could not stand. All in all, there is something charming about this story and Jennifer's writing for sure. Sadly, as I ended up hating one of the main characters (and this is subjective), that really put a dumper on things. However, don't cross out this book just because of that - you may love the guy.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
Is there anything Jennifer Echols can't write?! What had me shoutin' Yeehaw!: Dirty Little Secret reads like a country song - you've got love, loss, heartbreak and redemption and as usual, Jennifer Echols gives us flawed characters who are funny, endearing and completely relateable. Bailey is the kind of girl who desires to do the right thing but goes about it the wrong way occasionally.I can't say I blame her though, especially after what happened with her familybut despite the pain they've caused her, Bailey still worries about her sister Julie just as much as ever. And then there's Sam. *sighs* I felt myself drawn in by that quirky heartbreaker whose almost too cute for his own good as easily as Bailey but I was torn between wanting to hug him and kick him in the shins. Sam has big dreams and he'll do just about anything to make them come true even if it means using his friends or leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. However, he meets his match when he plays Johnny Cash's son to Bailey's, Studio B musician, and Sam will have to decide if having one without the other (Bailey or a music career) is really worth it. I LOVED that Bailey and Sam had SO much in common and I got choked up quite a few times for them. I'm not a violent person (says the woman who threatened to kick Sam) but I wanted to smack Bailey's mother into next year...I.can't.even with that woman. What left me cryin' in my whiskey*: I am not a huge country music fan nor am I musically inclined so there were times I was a little lost when Bailey was talking about notes and scales, but I also felt like I was getting an education which was cool! *For the record (pun completely intended), I have never had whiskey to know if it would even be worth crying into. ;) Final Verdict: Read it. Love it. You'll never listen to Lady Antebellum or Justin Timberlake the same way again. ;) Favorite Verse: "Because of the fifty-two girlfriends? Poor baby."
beckybh More than 1 year ago
Bailey Mayfield and her sister Julie were once a talented, blond-haired, music duo who honed their performances at all the bluegrass festivals their parents drove them to. It's been one long year since that fateful day when only Julie was signed to a recording contract and Bailey brushed aside. Bailey feels forgotten by her family and resents the time they've spent focusing on her younger sister's burgeoning music career. She's spent the last year playing her fiddle, writing music, and being reprimanded by her parents for her bad attitude and constant shenanigans. The troubling incident on her high school graduation night is the last straw. Her parents ostracize Bailey to her grandfather's house with orders to stay away from any kind of performing, going out with friends, or generally causing any kind of scene that would jeopardize her sister's innocent country music reputation. Her granddad knows music and fiddle playing is as important to Bailey as breathing, so he finds her a gig playing with little tribute country music groups at a local Nashville mall. There she meets good-looking, troubled Sam Hardiman, who plays guitar alongside his “Johnny Cash” dad. Sam has a three-member country/rockabilly band that just can't seem to break into the next level of the Nashville music scene. Something's missing in their performance, and Bailey and her fiddle might be that little extra spark to move them into the music spotlight. Sam begs Bailey to join his band, and though she knows she shouldn't, Bailey agrees to play for one or two performances. DIRTY LITTLE SECRET is the story of Bailey's turmoil at being left behind and her struggle to break free from the worthless, bad-girl image she's portrayed to the world in order to protect her heart. Through cathartic songwriting, exhilarating fiddle playing, and her new place in Sam's life and band, Bailey realizes that she is just as important as her sister and that her dreams are just as worthy. Like the protagonists in Echol's books GOING TOO FAR and SUCH A RUSH, Bailey decides to take control of her own destiny. She breaks out of her self-imposed shell and releases the confident musician and beautiful eighteen year old she really is. I love so many things about this story. Like in all of Echols books, the characters are well-fleshed out with emotional backstories and sometimes funny, and definitely distinctive, quirks. The story is filled with behind-the-scene glimpses into unique work settings (i.e., tribute groups serenading in malls), and Echols shares her amazing knowledge of music fundamentals and the downside of being blessed with perfect pitch. I only have two very minor complaints. The first is the protagonist's continual inner conflict about how her family doesn't want to be around her and how disappointed they are in her. Granted it's important for the character to flesh out her feelings, but in my opinion, the “woe is me” stuff is a little too thick. Second, I thought the ending stopped too soon. I would have loved to see a little of what happened the Monday following her sister's outdoor performance. (I'm not spilling the info here. You'll have to read the story to see what I mean.) But neither of these issues were enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. I loved DIRTY LITTLE SECRET with it's realistic, vibrant characters, engaging storyline, and unique settings. It's just the type of lighthearted escapism I've come to expect and enjoy in all of Jennifer Echols's books and a perfect book for the beach, a weekend, or anytime, really. IF YOU LIKE THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE: Other books by Jennifer Echols, novels by Simone Elkeles, Lauren Barnholdt, Tijan, Abbi Glines, Leah Rae Miller, Tammara Webber. * An ARC was provided by Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books and Edelweiss for an honest review. ** Visit Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog for more book reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I have read a number of Jennifer Echols' books before, they're usually either a hit or miss for me. So whenever I picked a book of hers there's always this little cautiousness that comes with it. Yet when I picked Dirty Little Secret, for some reason, I actually felt quite sure that I would enjoy it. Maybe because it was music-themed? Or because the main protag is a fiddle/violin player? (I have serious soft spot for violin players, i.e. Virtuosity)Or maybe because it was just really good? Oh well, whatever it was I'm just glad to say that Dirty Little Secret is definitely a hit for me! It certainly is one of my favorite Jennifer Echols' books. Bailey Mayfield was a character I easily felt for even from the very start. The emotional baggage she was carrying was something I had easily understood. I could not entirely fault her for her past unwise actions because I can clearly see where it all came from. Instead, I blamed it all to her selfish, unfeeling parents! Bailey was a very likable character; she was a very good sister, daughter and musician. That's why I just couldn't fathom how her parents could easily disregard her like that. So I was really glad when she met Sam Handiman and his band.  So onto Sam, this guy was someone you could so effortlessly fall into but just as easily you could get pissed off. YET, for some reason, it was hard not to remain too angry with him. This guy is very charming, talented, sweet and so so adorable (although he does carry some pretty intense emotional baggage too). But even with that I like how it was showed how flawed he is too. His strong drive and determination to reach his dream was admirable but sometimes it gets a little too much that he consciously/unconsciously ends up disregarding some other people's feelings. In the end though he learned that there are things or person that is much more important than what he think is.   Although I don't know much about country music I actually still enjoyed exploring it through here. The dynamic between the band too was amazing. I love how they could easily work and produce a really wonderful music together. I'm not sure if this is the kind of book that would work for almost everybody. I admit there are moments that I get a little lost and disoriented in this one, especially with Sam, although I still always found my way back (to him) eventually. Lol! But there are a lot of good and great things that definitely make up for that. In the end, I still end up having a lot of fun reading this. I recommend this book
Laurie_ReaderGirls More than 1 year ago
Okay, here's an admission: I've loved Jennifer Echols' books ever since I fell in love with the characters in Going Too Far. Since then, I always try to read her latest books and today I get to participate in a book tour for her newest YA. Such a treat for a fan like me. And in true Echols fashion, the author delivered exactly what I expected: a compelling story of angst, drama, love, with lots of music. Wow, where do I begin? Dirty Little Secret may not have grabbed me on the first page but I trust the author and somewhere along that first chapter, I easily fell into Bailey's story. I couldn't believe what her parents did to her. Raising two daughters to play instruments, sing and perform together in shows and when a record company exec comes along dangling a contract and lots of money, they easily split the duo up so Julie could be become the next Taylor Swift. This was one YA book where I detested the parents. No wonder Bailey acted up afterwards. What did they expect her to do when they tossed her to the curb like garbage?  But Bailey is a true musician, a professional fiddler and aspiring songwriter. Sent to live with her grandfather, he procures a job for her in a local mall performing with musicians who dress up like musical icons. Bailey walks around, playing with the likes of 'Elvis,' 'Dolly Parton' and 'Willie Nelson.' Dressed and made up by Miss Lottie, Bailey's musings and experiences made me laugh. When she performs with 'Johnny Cash' and his son, she immediately remembers the young guy from her childhood. With so many memories, this one moment stood out in her mind. It was sweet how she relived meeting Sam at a festival and the way she felt. Sam, what a character. Part cad, part gentleman, pure musician and damaged guy. He has a dream to make it big with a band and performs with his friends, Ace and Charlotte, but to land gigs playing in the places where they'll be noticed, they need one more person. They need Bailey. Unfortunately, Bailey is forbidden to perform since she might draw attention to herself and hinder her younger sister's debut at the Grand Ole Opry and album release. Telling Bailey she can't play is like telling a person they can't breathe. Ludicrous. Bailey wants to play, needs to play, and so she does.  Performing isn't the only thing going on as she's sucked into Sam's world of flirting, drama, turbulent home life and friendships. As a huge fan of the show, Nashville, I quickly related characters from that show to this story. Being a music fan, I'm sometimes frustrated when a story featuring a musician or singer glosses over the aspect of their actual performing. Not showing us the passion behind the talent takes away from the reading experience so I was stoked that Dirty Little Secrets spends so much time on Bailey's fiddling, her fingering, live performances and her songwriting. I believed her. As for her relationship with Sam, there is that dreaded "insta-love" going on, and yet I understand why. Being such a passionate musician, she saw in Sam a kindred spirit (from their past 'moment' from her childhood when he stirred something inside her). Sam is an intense individual. There were times I didn't like him and times when I liked him, but I always felt as though I knew him/where he was coming from.  Echols has a way of drawing out her characters through their thoughts, musings or dialogue and we don't know it. Bailey became my favorite character despite her allowing her parents to run/ruin her life. With Sam and his band she found redemption, acceptance, camaraderie, and love. They became her family and Sam her lifeline. The story isn't perfect and that's why I liked it. Love isn't perfect. Want fairy tales? Read a book. Real life is crazy, filled with angst, tears, laughs and loves and this is where the author excels in her storytelling--she shows us individuals in all of their messy glory and we instantly relate.  Bailey may have been her parents' Dirty Little Secret but for fans of Jennifer Echols, her story is an affirmation of the power of music and love. I really liked it.