Author: Kate Brian
Published: 5th February 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Series: Private #1
Source: Own Copy
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. - From Goodreads
So it is no secret that I love a good story set in a privileged school, and let face it there are masses to choose from, all with their own unique take and spin. So I was incredibly excited to read this book even if there was not a sniff of super powers or any other particular twist over and above, small town girl moves to a posh school. Also there are 14 books so far in this series so I thought it must be a good series to have so many. If this is the case then I think I am missing something.
Reed Brennan was a straight A student in her old school which helped her to get a scholarship to Easton Academy. At the Easton Academy Reed does not excel the same way she used to and quickly begins to struggle with the work. Not long after arriving Reed notices a group of girls across from her room window. These girls are smart and beautiful and the creme de la creme of the school. They are the Billings Girls. Slowly Reed tries to get closer to the group and integrate herself into the group.
I had some issues with the main character. I thought Reed was incredibly annoying that she let Noelle, the leader of the Billings girls continue to call her "glass licker" for the whole book. I am a fairly laid back girl and my friends and I have ridiculous nicknames for each other, but even I would have cracked with that and stood up to ---. I also thought that some of the stunts she was asked to do (namely the one where she has to break into school and risks expulsion if caught) were beyond risky. When she finally does stand up to the girls it felt to me like too little too late!
I thought that the character of Noelle, and her group of friends, were the most interesting. Noelle may have been nasty and mean, but when she demanded something, no matter how over the top, she stuck by it and followed through. Also we were treated to seeing a softer side of her at times which was a refreshing contrast. When there was no one to play up to she could be nice, and she respected her friends for standing up to her. Also in my head she looked and sounded exactly like the actress who plays Faye in the TV series of the Secret Circle.
I found there was very little to this book and actually read it in a couple of hours. I thought there was little story to this book, most of it was centred around Thomas. It could just have been that the book was setting the scene for the rest of the series and I will read the next few books to see if there is a sizzling story buried in there somewhere.