Friday, February 20, 2009

Private by Kate Brian

Tradition, Honor, Excellence...and secrets so dark they're almost invisible
Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy -- the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she's on the outside, looking in.

Until she meets the Billings Girls.

They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.

Reed uses every part of herself -- the good, the bad, the beautiful -- to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they'll do anything to keep their secrets private. (

The girls I work with have been trying to get me to read this series for a while now and I've been putting it off because it just didn't catch my interest. That, and I accidentally came across some major spoilers and thought there really wasn't any point in reading a series when I already knew such major plot twists. However when one of my coworkers brought the first four books into the office and set them on the counter in front of me I thought, why not?

The first book is intruiging. You are thrown immediately into the plot and experience Easton Academy as Reed does, with fresh and curious eyes. You can see the appeal of the Billings Girls, and want to find out just why they are so powerful and why living at Billings House is so sought after by so many. I really wanted to know how Reed would fare in her new surroundings and how she would work her way into the glamorous social scene.

The more I read of the Billings Girls, the more I disliked them. I became frustrated with Reed many times, wondering just why she put up with their bullying and cruelty. I am a fan of books with strong lead roles and was really annoyed that Reed just seemed so weak. To put up with such torture simply to gain popularity and material things like designer clothes? I just didn't get it.

Despite these little annoyances I still enjoyed the book enough to finish it and start the second installment immediately. I have a feeling as we meet more characters and more of the story is unveiled, Reed will grow in character and strength and develop goals and a life other than tending to the Billings girls' every whim. As a reader, I want to see Reed become more independent, confident, and succeed on her own.

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