Source: Netgalley/MTV Books – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation
Publisher: MTV Books
Edition: eARC, 288 Pages
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Dirty Little Secret was a book that both delighted and disappointed me. Bailey is a eighteen year old who loves to play her fiddle and dreams of making it big, the only problem is her sister already has and she’s being forced to stay out of the lime light and out of the way. She becomes their dirty secret and the novel takes us over the course of the months that follow her sister’s discovery.
It’s not the first book I’ve read centered around music but it is the first that has been centered around country music. I honestly hate country music, but thankfully almost all of the references were to songs that I grew up with so I wasn’t lost when it came to that. I loved how we get to see how Bailey connects to the music and how talented she is, which leads to the incredibly frustrating fact that her parents don’t care. By now it is a serious peeve of mine to see parents in YA who act like this, I understand there are parents out there like these two. Hurtful, neglectful and users…though for some reason no one else seems to see them as horrible as I do. I don’t get why horrible or absent (and I don’t mean divorced or dead, I mean…nearly non-existent in the story) are a trend. At any rate, I liked this angle of the story. I loved the gigs she played and I was pulling for her.
The characters and the romance is where the story fell short for me. Bailey is a fantastic musician, but more often than not she made me grit my teeth. Her personality is a bit course and she’s not all that nice of a person, and when it comes to growth I’m proud that she really found value in herself but I never really saw her rude ways change all that much. Then there is Sam, who at first I loved but in the end really hated. He’s really charming but as the story progresses he shows just how manipulative and self centered he can be. Normally I would never mention specific instances in a book but if a person gets huffy over who you are talking to on day 1 of knowing each other, then it’s probably not the best relationship. The chemistry between these two just did not work for me at all, it was so back and forth…and just did not work. Even the side characters like Charlotte are a bit rough in the personality area. I needed someone to like and I just didn’t have that.
Overall I thought that Dirty Little Secret held promise and while I loved aspects of the story I just couldn’t get into the story or connect to the characters. I wanted to like this one more, especially since so many others loved it.