After reading Such a Rush I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that Echols was writing another YA--especially since the cover was gorgeous and matches Such a Rush so well! And I was not let down.
Dirty Little Secret definitely has a lot in common with Such a Rush and right away, we can tell that this isn't going to be one of the lightest reads. While it wasn't heartbreaking and raw like I'd hoped, it had a nostalgic and sort of bittersweet feel to it that made me fall in love with the story.
Bailey was definitely a fierce and a seemingly independent person and I loved that about her, but she got pushed around way too easily sometimes. Not in the sense that she did what others did, but she let others control her emotions really. One mention of her sister or parents and she would just clam up or get angry, and that sort of ruined her image of a calm and headstrong character (though she did retain that image well at times!) She was a rebellious character who, overall, I did enjoy reading about! Her snark was definitely hilarious though and I absolutely loved her snips at Charlotte (a band member).
I alternated between empathizing Charlotte to hating her, to loving her, but I guess she acted like any of us and, I think, out of all the characters, I connected with her more than anyone else. Bailey's parents were absolutely ridiculous and I wanted to punch them while I wanted to slap some sense into Julie sometimes.
The romance was definitely a bit insta-lovey. I didn't really appreciate how easily Bailey broke under Sam's begging and how quickly they fell in love (a steamy kiss on day one was apparently in order). Their relationship was also sort of built on lies (then Sam said he would never lie to Bailey (though at least he admitted he was a liar!) and seemed really rushed with conditions set. "If you don't do this or that, we'll break up." But the romance definitely had it's sweet moments that I enjoyed and their relationship was by no means easy.
Sam was...sort of a douchebag in all honesty. He kept asking Bailey for things and got angry or mainuplative whenever he didn't get his way. At first, he reminded me of a cute puppy, but it got tiring after the first few times. He also, several times, chose music over Bailey which, by the way guys? Isn't going to make a girl like you more. He's definitely a selfish guy (and I definitely think they'd break up in the near future) but he was exactly what Bailey needed to realize her own needs and dreams.
What impressed me was definitely the musical part of this. It was well written and it seemed as if Jennifer Echols experienced it first hand!
Not only that, I found it sort of amazing how she made it so that half the book was one day and still absolutely captivating. The second half of the bookw as definitely drama filled and definitely made me anxious, but the ending was absolutely perfect!
Jennifer Echols digs up another romantic story that isn't as perfect as some people like to believe, but with heartrendingly real characters. A fun read that I definitely recommend, it's filled with laughs and heartache--you could say it's one of the perfect summer reads!