The beginning of Dirty Little Secret was... boring. I honestly didn't care for Bailey dressing up and playing her fiddle in tribute groups. But then she meets Sam at the mall, plays with him and he zones in on her. Now Bailey has to make a difficult decision, would she risk being seen as the loser sister of a rising star at a gig or cast her eyes down and carry on? This is when I saw life in Bailey and I was finally into the story.
Bailey accepts the gig because let's face it, spending time at home playing the fiddle endlessly with her grandfather hovering, who wants that? She made a perfect rebel with bold fashion sense, asymmetrical hair, red lips and boots-to-die-for, but she couldn't go on with it. Same gave her the out and she took it.
But the infamously titled Sam Hardiman's band is trouble from the start. Oh who am I kidding, Charlotte is hate-worthy. Given that the drummer had a thing for Sam and is still okay with being not okay with whoever Sam dates. Because you see, Sam likes Bailey. But does he like her because she gives the oomph factor to the band or because she is talented?
Sam started out as a pretty normal guy and then he became persuasive as hell and who'd have guessed from that that he was pretty messed up from the inside. So while I was out admiring his ability to make everyone do what he wants to do, I was also in the state where I just wanted to quietly strangle him.
But then Sam said, "I like doing things that make me uncomfortable. I try not to have a comfort zone" and everything was perfectly clear. After going through a hard family life and counselling, you have to admire the guy. And Bailey does. Their conversation is beautiful and where Sam is trying to make up for the lack of channeling his emotions, Bailey is trying to get away from them by writing them down into songs.
I understood Bailey because even though she got treated horribly by her family, she didn't give up on them. And I understood Sam because he wanted to not be like his father and wind up a loser. So they perform gigs together, discover each other, fight and then it all ends (not necessarily in that order). It was a moment of holding-my-breath-reading where you don't know what'll happen and how it'll all go down. It is a difficult feat to achieve but I was going through it so Echols did achieve it.
Dirty Little Secret more than surprised me and made me feel despite the rocky start. People who like to read music-themed YA must read this. You'll smile, go argh, get shocked and definitely swoon.