Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Title: Private
Author: Kate Brian
Series: Private #1
ISBN-10: 1416918736
Pages: 227
Year Published: 2006
Genre: YA Fiction
Date Finished: May 4

First sentence: Where I come from everything is gray.

Warning: Review may contain spoilers!

Reed Brennan desperately wants to escape her hometown of Crofton, PA. Her mother suffered a tragic accident and now pops pills and drinks away her pain. She takes most of her suffering out on Reed. Meanwhile Reed's father tries to hold the family together, but Reed knows this is a burden for her dad. When she's offered a scholarship to Easton Academy, she knows this is her opportunity to leave and live the life she's always dreamed about.

The first day she stepped foot on campus, she felt she was out of her league. The other students were different than her peers at her former high school. Suddenly doubts fill her mind and she begins to wonder if Croton, PA is her fate after all.

While walking back to her dorm, she meets Thomas Pearson, the most popular (and gorgeous) senior on campus. Reed is immediately attracted to him and secretly wishes she'll run into him again.

It's not until her chance glimpse of the "mysterious girls" that things start to turn around for Reed. She learns their true identities during a meal in the cafeteria: Noelle, Ariana, Kiran and Taylor AKA the Billings Girls.

Billings House is the dorm on campus. If you're fortunate to live there, then you are set for life. All the girls want to be a Billings Girls. Much to Reed's amazement, she wants to befriend them as well. These girls represent everything that Reed doesn't have: wealth, beauty, power, confidence and loyalty. Due to her home life, Reed isolated herself from her peers and did not have social relationships. Now that she's at Easton, she's realizing she has missed out on a major part of being a teenage girl.

The Billings Girls take an interest in Reed as well, and before Reed knows it, she has become part of their group (well on the peripheral). There is a price to be one of them. These girls begin to ask Reed to steal an exam, break up with a guy and any other demeaning task they can think of. As Reed struggles to belong to their group and do what's right, she begins to wonder if their friendship (if indeed it is friendship) is worth it.

Meanwhile, her relationship with Thomas develops and soon they become a couple. Things are going well with them, until Reed learns Thomas's secret. Devastated that he lied to her, she ends their relationship, but isn't sure if she did the right thing. He attempts to explain to her why he did not confide in her and wants to get back together. The Billings Girls tell her she's better off without him and makes her promise to have nothing to do with him. Reed finds herself torn between these new feelings for Thomas and wanting to secure her place with the Billing Girls.

Just as Reed makes her decision, Thomas goes missing and one of the Billings Girls is expelled from Easton for cheating. Which means there's a spot open. . . in the Billings House. Will Reed be the next Billings Girl?

I really liked this book! I was immediately hooked with Reed's humble background versus the entitlement of the Billings Girls. Although I didn't agree with the decisions that Reed made, it was hard not to empathize with her. Reed is so desparate to be a "normal" girl and leave her past behind, that this often clouded her judgment. Following her conscience repeatedly conflicted with the goal of becoming the next Billings Girl.

I liked that the book ended with a cliff hanger. So where is Thomas? Will Reed fill the open spot in the house? What was the real reason behind the expulsion of the former Billings Girl? To be continued in. . . Invitation Only.

1 comment:

  1. I love series, but I often have mixed feelings about cliff hangers