Review – Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

Secrets of Southern GirlsSecrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

Expected publication: June 6, 2017
Sourcebooks Landmark



My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Julie Portland was raised by her aunt after losing her parents when she was young. When she met her new next door neighbor, Reba it was as if they we destined to be best friends. They were extremely close. But it’s almost like tragedy follows, Julie. When they are teenagers, Reba dies. Her death is ruled an accident but Julie feels that it’s her fault, that she’s the one responsible. She leaves Mississippi not long after.

Ten years later, after a failed marriage, Julie is living in Manhattan with her five-year old daughter Rebecca (Beck). In many ways she feels like she’s just barely surviving. Julie has found ways to deal with her pain, well at least to distract her for a little while. During those times she doesn’t have to think about a bridge or a field….or a dead girl.

“It’s not your fault she’s dead”

If only she believed that. The memories are everywhere, they refuse to let her be. She thinks she can push them away, but no matter how she tries to bury them, they always resurface.

Then out of the blue, Reba’s former boyfriend, August shows up. He claims Reba left a diary behind and he thinks that Julie has it. She assures him she doesn’t but she’s curious as to what could be written in it.

“Reba wrote about everything in that journal, if you don’t have it, then who the hell does?”

Now, August wants Julie to return to Lawrence Mill with him to find the diary. Back to the place Julie couldn’t wait to leave. But if someone else does have the diary ….then it means they may have been there that night and know what really happened. Who else is keeping secrets? August and Julie may find out things they aren’t prepared for and that maybe they didn’t know Reba as well as they thought they did.

I generally enjoy stories told from multiple points of view. I liked hearing from Julie, August and other characters. However, the chapters weren’t labelled and occasionally I would get confused whose perspective it was and had to go back to re-read. There seemed to be a lot of extra information that wasn’t really necessary in my opinion and it felt like things were a bit out-of-order at times. I understand the author was trying to build suspense, but in some ways it was distracting. I did like the inclusion of Reba’s diary entries. I enjoyed hearing the story from her point of view, though I did find that sometimes her voice sounded like it might be from someone older and more mature than she was.

I had a difficult time figuring out how to rate this book. It started out quite slow which sometimes works out, but in this case it made it harder for me to get into the story. But I kept with it and it did eventually pick up. I was very interested in finding out what was in the diary and what really happened to Reba. So while I did have some issues with this book, I still thought it was an interesting read. I look forward to seeing what the author writes next.

Thank you NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for providing an advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews


2 thoughts on “Review – Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

    • Thanks, Annie. So far it doesn’t look like it is getting very good reviews. I don’t like writing negative reviews but it’s got to be done sometimes. I tried to be as honest and respectful as I can. Thank you for your comments. 🌸


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