In Secrets of Southern Girls, the powerful, affecting debut from Haley Harrigan, 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.
In fact, she may not be responsible at all.
I received this book through netgalley for an honest review. I think this novel was really interesting. I am a sucker for anything that has to deal with “Did she do it?” kind of plot lines. I originally went into this novel with the expectation that the main character was still pretty young. She’s actually older with a child which was a nice surprise. The beginning of the story gives you a glimpse into what her every day life is like. She takes an acting class, works as a tour guide for those buses in New York, and doesn’t really commit to any romantic relationships. You slowly start to see glimpses into the life she had when she was younger with her best friend.
My biggest complaint with the novel would have to be the pacing. It’s a bit of a roller coaster of slow and fast. The beginning of the story was slow until Jules made her way back to Mississippi. Things were picking up, and then they got slow again. I think the pacing was a bit off considering the type of plot line it was. The different point of views kind of threw me off a little bit. One moment I was reading from Jules point of view and the next I was reading from someone else’s point of view. I do appreciate that we get a glimpse of what Reba was like through her diary entries.
I felt like Julie was a bit of a relatable character. I mean we all have those moments where we felt guilty about something. She was very real about her guilt. There was a few of her character traits that I wasn’t really fond of. She didn’t seem to be all that active in her kid’s life. She obviously has her moments with her child, but I feel like she spends more time away from her daughter. I also didn’t like August too much because he had stalker-ish tendencies (which do get explained throughout the book). I can say that it was interesting how they tied everyone together. Everyone had a bit of guilt around Reba’s death.
Overall, this book is definitely for the young woman or man that is interested in books that featured a lot of twists and turns. It honestly leaves you wondering what will happen next. I enjoyed the book, but I did have a few issues with the characters personalities that made me a bit iffy. I am glad that I have gotten the honor to read this book.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars | Goodreads Link | Do I Recommend? Yes
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 www.haleyharrigan.com or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.