Private by Kate Brian

Came out: June 27, 2006

Pages: 227

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Age Group: Young Adult

Tradition, Honor, Excellence...and secrets so dark they're almost invisibleFifteen-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 r  ealizes 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.When I saw this book on somebody's shelf, I immediately begged to borrow it. It had been on my "to read" list for a while because there was boarding school, suspense, drama, romance, and murder. I was disappointed.Reed originally came off as a strong, independent girl who had to fend for herself to get and education and make her dreams come true. Her mother hates her, her dad loves her but loves her mother to, and she has just transferred to Easton Academy. I loved the premise of this book....lots of promise, right?Disappointingly, this book was just the average "drama" book. It promised a murder mystery...so why do I only get Reed trying to be popular? I was sad that this happened to the character. I thought that she would care more than just about a group of elite girls.Plus, even more irritating was the fact that nothing much really happened in this book. Everything is in the process of being set up, but I thought that could have been condensed into the first couple of chapters instead of throughout the entire book. I was expecting a dark, exciting, and dramatic start to the series but it was just disappointing.One of my pet peeves is when authors introduce different genres for each book in a series. This one was a drama; the next is a murder mystery. If they aren't part of a series, great. I like to see authors experiment. But not that much would happen to the same character. There can't be different genres in each book.I did like Taylor and Ariana kind of annoyed me. I'm curious about Noelle's scars and I admired Kiran's love for a dork. But, honestly? Reed would do anything for them without even batting an eye. I was expecting more spine from her. And would the Billings girls really hang out with a "glass-licker"?I don't enjoy posting negative reviews of books, so I am going to stop now. Although, if you like a quick fluff read, then you will enjoy this. And who knows? I've heard that the following books are much better.Recommended for anybody who loves: The Lipstick Laws; Gilda Joyce and the Ladies of the Lake; prep school books; quick fluff reads, etc,.Possible book club questions:Discuss Reed's relationship with her father. How is it affected by their respective relationships with her mother?Why do you think that Thomas would think that it's okay to do the same things his parents did? How is he wrong by doing this? Do you agree that most children end up picking up their parents' habits?How do you think that Billings chooses its girls? Discuss possible criteria.