Review: This is the third time that I’ve read PRIVATE by Kate Brian. The first time I read the book was four years ago when PRIVATE was originally published. PRIVATE is the first book I read where the location is in a boarding school. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I obviously like the PRIVATE books, though I’ve only read a handful of them. This is the reason why I chose to read the remaining books in the series for the YA Series Challenge.
The books are written in first person from the viewpoint of Reed Brennan who is smart, down-to-earth and wants more than anything to escape her blue-collar Pennsylvania town — especially leaving behind her pill-popping angry mother. When Reed is accepted to prestigious Easton Academy in Connecticut, it’s her ticket out of nowhereville. But Easton Academy comes with a heavy price tag. Reed gets into the school on her outstanding academic grades via a scholarship. Obviously she doesn’t want anyone to know so she keeps this to herself. Reed soon learns that secrets are hard to keep at Easton.
When Reed steps into the elite, high-class and often snobbish world of Easton, she is extremely worried she’ll stick out like a sore thumb. However, Reed will do whatever it takes to blend in and make new friends. The girls she really wants to be friends with are the ones from Billings House. The Billings Girls are glamorous, beautiful, ultra rich and popular.
Soon the Billings Girls notice Reed clamoring for their attention. So they decide to put Reed to good use. They also want to see if she can pass their hazing. However, their nastiness often draws the line for Reed. But still she crawls back to them, yearning for the girls’ powerful attention — and pays the price for admission into their private world.
I like Reed. I think she has guts, but at times I wonder why she’s so desperate to be a Billings Girl. Sure, they have the best clothes, the best house, and they date the cutest guys on campus, but they are also a bunch of bitches. They are extremely cruel, not only to Reed, but toward other kids at Easton. People are in awe of them and also afraid. I definitely wouldn’t want them as my friends.
Noelle Lang is the Queen Bee of the group and probably the meanest, but she also has heart beneath her icy Snow Queen exterior. And at times, it seems Reed thaws her out a bit. Taylor can be sweet and is very smart, but also follows the group around like a lost puppy. Ariana is aloof and keeps her nose in a book half the time. She seems not to care what’s going on, but she’s really the soul of the group. Kiran is a gorgeous model. She uses her fame to get what she wants, but often feels bored with her life and is always seeking adventure.
Reed is also extremely naive. She falls for the Thomas Pearson, definitely cute, but the wrong guy. She starts focusing more on Thomas and Billings then her studies. This doesn’t escape the teachers or the Billings Girls. Reed definitely has to watch her back. Reed eventually finds comfort in the fact that she’s not the only one at Easton with troubles.
The mysterious aura and the feeling that something supernatural (possibly) lays below the surface of PRIVATE holds my interest. One of my favorite things about this series is the way it’s set up. It always ends with a huge cliffhanger – and not just any kind of cliffhanger. The cliffhangers in these books are usually reserved for television shows — the kind of cliffhangers that make you yearn to watch next week’s episode to find out what happens. There’s also a mystery weaved within the plot line which is a continuous thread in each book. It keeps you on your toes and guessing.
I love the U.S. covers which feature various girls from the novels. Even though, Kiran has short hair on the covers and long hair in the book, I think the covers resemble the characters fairly well.
The one thing I haven’t liked about PRIVATE is the web series. Personally, I think it’s too hard to make a series out of these books — let alone on the net. I was disappointed because the producer is Bob Levy who does The Vampire Diaries — which rocks! I felt the webisodes took away from the mystery of Easton and it’s residents. Sometimes it’s best to let books be books!
I’m giving PRIVATE 4 “Relaxing with a Good Book” retro pictures for being a fun mystery series!
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