Tuesday, May 09, 2017

I wonder what we would’ve become: SECRETS OF SOUTHERN GIRLS.

Secrets of Southern GirlsSecrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. Even worse, no one else knows. Consumed by guilt, Julie has long left her small Mississippi hometown behind, but she can't escape the memories. They have already ruined her marriage, and they threaten to take over her life. So when Reba's long-ago high school boyfriend shows up, claiming Reba left behind a diary, Julie reluctantly returns home with him to help search. Once there, however, she's caught up in a swirl of memories and secrets.

Oh, I have mixed feelings about this one. The novel switches POV and time periods in an effort to set up suspense. Our main character is Julie, but we hear from others as well, and the author includes snippets from Reba's diary. Bits and pieces of the story unfold slowly, with portions coming from the past and then others as the characters think back and remember. For the most part, this does work; you become almost frustrated, waiting and wondering what on earth happened back then. Reba's diary entries don't always seem to be in the voice of a seventeen-year-old teen, though, and some of the plot (both current and past) just seems odd. Plus, we also get bits and pieces of more recent parts of Julie's life and those really just distract from the real story.

I think the hardest thing for me was that while I really didn't have a major problem with the novel, I just wasn't incredibly connected to it, either. I liked Julie well enough, but I wasn't really invested in her, or really, Reba's story. I was curious about what happened to her, but I didn't particularly care, and there's a big difference there. In the end, I felt like there was a build up for... not much. I found the story intriguing and suspenseful, but somewhat disappointing. I kept waiting for some big shocker, or reveal, but it never happened. The ending felt a little cliche, and I was just sort of frustrated by the end.

So, overall, this isn't a bad book. In fact, it's often quite intriguing and can be a real page-turner at times. Unfortunately, I was bogged down by its uninteresting characters and a plot that I found to be a bit of a letdown. I'd go with 2.5 - 3 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 06/06/2017.

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