Also find this review on - Don't Stop Readin'
Given the fact that I’m reviewing the first book in the series after finishing 12 of them, my opinions might be a bit biased changed now. But I’ll try to capture what I felt after reading it back then as much as I can.
So, in my opinion Private
was awful. Stupid, immature, boring, repetitive and did I mention totally AWFUL?
Anyone with a healthy, well-functioning brain would read this book and discard the whole series right away but I had actually made up my mind beforehand that whatever happens, I'd finish all 14 books no matter what. Call me crazy if you want to! I certainly do.
Soooo… The story is - Reed Brennan, just a middle-class girl who gets admission to a highly prestigious Easton Academy through scholarship, where mostly kids who are ridiculously loaded go to. There is a special dorm named “Billings House” for girls who are basically overachievers. Girls who are good at everything- studies, sports, bitching, plotting, shopping, partying..you name it are admitted to this special house from where a person can get a direct ticket to any Ivy League school.
On the first day itself Reed starts obsessing over this and gawks at Billings’ girls like a serial killer stalking his next victim, really.
You know what my first problem was? Reed Brennan, the series' protag. She is kind of an anti-social person which is something I don't like to read about. She is smart, sure, but not gregarious, she is not the one to make friends easily and as mentioned in her intro, especially 'girlfriends'.
So her getting into Billings seems like a long shot because you need an all-round behaviour and personality to be voted-in to that house. But the girl is very determined and competitive, I’ll give her that. Although sometimes it becomes way too much and I don't mean it in a good way. She seemed sooooo desperate at times that she might as well have slept with the school staff to get into Billings. The House president, Noelle Lange and her gang – Arianna Osgood, Taylor Bell, Kiran Hayes make Reed’s life miserable by asking her to do tasks that could’ve gotten her expelled continuously. At no point though Reed stops kissing their asses and moping their mess.
If I were in her place I would’ve stayed away from these girls or tried to bring them down instead of wagging my tail behind them.
In between her boot-licking to get into Billings the story is focused a lot on her personal life too. Apparently, guys dig these kind of boring and unfriendly girls because the hottest and richest guy at Easton, Thomas Pearson, confesses his love for her in like, 2 weeks. *rolls eyes* This guy suddenly disappears towards end of the book (which becomes the main plot of next 3 instalments in this series) but it is ignored as Reed’s ass-kissing pays off and she is accepted in Billings .
Nothing out of ordinary, right? Makes one wonder why this series was so hyped up in the first place. Neither were there any ‘dark secrets’ about Easton as mentioned on the book cover as well as in its blurb nor anything fun about reading a book filled with High School drama. At first I had thought of this as a book where a girl would struggle to achieve the royal status of being a Billing Girl and adapting to a place where billionaires study but disappointingly enough, it wasn’t. Reed being just a sophomore gets chosen in the House.
But to make you feel better, there indeed are MANY mysteries and secrets surrounding the Academy and Billings which are slowly revealed in the series later, also the ulterior motive behind Reed’s acceptance in Billings is uncovered . If you’re a Pretty Little Liars
fan then I suggest you continue reading this because Kate Brian has really handled the remainder of the series very well.
Recommends it to: Honestly, no one. But if you can move past the awfulness of first book and read remaining of the series patiently then to - 1) People who like Chick Lit + Thrillers. 2) Pretty Little Liars
and The Lying Games