Private by Kate Brian
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-1873-8
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, New York, June 2006
240 p.

GENRE: Chick-lit

TEASER: The Billing girls are vicious and powerful. They will do anything to keep their secrets. Reed will do anything it takes to become one of them.

SUMMARY: Reed Brennan has been dreaming of going to the ultra-exclusive Easton Academy for years. She’d give anything to get out of her boring town and away from her pill-popping mother. When she gets a scholarship to Easton she thinks it’s a dream come true. She soon realizes how different these people are, but she longs to be one of them. The people she wants acceptance from the most are the glamorous Billings girls. They are a highly exclusive group that is invitation only. But is it worth the constant bullying to become one of them? Reed thinks so, and she will do anything to become one of them.

CRITIQUE: This book was written in a first person perspective through Reed’s character. I found Reed to be very relatable. She is desperate to get away from her verbally abusive mother and start a new life. She is painfully vulnerable to the ridicule that the Billings girls dish out. We also see how easily manipulated she is with her boyfriend Thomas. She shows signs of violence and addiction and Reed just keeps forgiving him. He also pressures her into losing her virginity. Some of the characters are a little one dimensional in the first book. There are a lot of facades amongst Noelle and her crew that have yet to come down.

I was surprised how much I liked this book. I usually scoff at chick-lit novels that center around over privileged girls who are cruel and arrogant. I find it very fascinating how the adolescent psychology was handled. You can really see how teens are pressured by social structures in school. I fear that girls like Reed are more common than I would like to believe. Even if this book is dramatized, I can see a lot of reality in the way these girls behave.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Brian is the pen name of Kieran Scott. She has written more than twenty-five novels. The Private series has been made into a web series. Some of her other titles include: A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love, The Virginity Club, She’s So Dead to Us, and Brunettes Strike Back.

Kieran Scott was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers University with a double major in English and Journalism. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.



CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some people might object to the presences of drugs, sexual situations, alcohol and immoral behavior in this novel.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.


BOOKTALKING IDEAS: How do you think the Billings girls compare to normal high school bullies? Are they really that different?

WHY INCLUDED: Series that feature rich and powerful girls in scandalous situations are quite popular today. Even though I’m not a fan of this type of reading, I felt that I should include it because teens are reading these books. I wanted to see how good or how bad they really are. As far as this book goes, they are not nearly as bad as I expected. I think there are far worse television shows out there.