Thank You very much to publisher – Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for the review copy.
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Mystery & Thrillers
Release date: 06 June 2017
Price*:£11.99 (GBP)/ $10.53 (USD)
My rating: 9/10
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Summed up in few words: Ghosts from the past, unexpected discoveries.
Description of the book: In this powerful, affecting debut, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed… Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.
When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried… and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.
How this book made me feel: I am very pleased to participate in my first #SpotlightTour, and thanks a lot to Sourcebooks Landmark and Liz Kelsch for inviting me. When I saw the description of this book, it really left me intrigued and raised a lot of questions. I am really glad I chose this book, because it is full of secrets and sorrow, and it is amazing to read, how it all unfolds in front of you.
When I finished reading this book, first mind which came to me was “Looking for Reba” (instead of “Looking for Alaska” by J. Green). I think it had that vibe going on, but this book was way better for me. The characters of this book are very interesting and really diverse; most of them seem really complicated and tired of Reba’s memory/ghost following them around. The main characters of this book supposed to be Julie and August, but Reba and Toby steals the spotlight with their story. Reba’s memory seems to ruin all these people’s lives. Julie separated from her husband due to constant memory of Reba, and the guilt, which was eating her. August never forgot his first love and never moved on in his life, looking for answers. Toby left obsessed with Reba’s memory and chooses not to let go of it. I really loved the way author portrayed the feelings of these characters, especially Reba’s. The detail of it, the teenage confusion of what she wants, choices which had to be made when you are still in school. They absolutely fascinated me. I really enjoy when authors tell the story from different character’s perspective, and this books didn’t leave me disappointed. All the characters are different personalities, and reading from different perspectives made the book more colourful and way more interesting to read.
The plot of the book starts quite slowly, by introducing Julie and her family. Well let me be honest with you, it dragged a little bit at the beginning, but once Julie and August got the diary, the whole book turns around into this fast paced and incredibly twisty adventure. So my advice would be, just be patient, because what is coming up will shock you, and will grip you so hard, that it will be hard to put it down (At least that’s what happened to me) . The plot takes the story back to the times when Reba was alive and back to present day, to show how those discoveries influenced the living characters. I had to put down the book couple of times, just to take a breath and let the truth sink in. I just didn’t expect to find out so many secrets and well hidden lies.
The writing style of this novel is very pleasant to read, with easy and understandable manner and short chapters. I would like to throw in a warning (for parents), that this book contains sex scenes and foul language, even though this book is about teenagers, it is an adult read. Even the ending of this book left me surprised, by throwing in some more unexpected turns, which help to come to nice conclusion of this book and leave the ghosts to rest. Haley Harrigan used her degree in Creative Writing very well in this debut novel, and I will definitely be waiting for her upcoming books. So if you looking for some good, secrets unfolding novel, with twists and turns that grips you in, get this book and indulge yourself into Southern heat.
About the Author: Haley Harrigan graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in creative writing and public relations. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. Secrets of Southern Girls is her debut. Visit her website at http://www.haleyharrigan.com or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.
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* the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com at current date. Price might change at your time of purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates. #31