Fiction · Realistic Fiction · Suspense

**Spotlight Tour** Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

I am so excited to participate in my first Spotlight Tour!  Recently, I reviewed Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan.  For this tour, I have written a new post for more information on this fantastic read.  Peruse book information and my thoughts below, then click on the link underneath to participate in an amazing GIVEAWAY!

As always, thank you to Soourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book and allowing me to be part of this tour.  So exciting!!

The Book

In Secrets of Southern Girls, the powerful, affecting debut from Haley Harrigan, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed…

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back.

Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.

In fact, she may not be responsible at all.

My Review

This was a page-turner!  Nothing is as it seems in this exciting debut by Haley Harrigan.  Her writing is sharp and to the point and her storytelling is suspenseful, exploring the secrets people keep from each other – and how much we might not know about the people closest to us.  This novel focuses on best friends, inseperable since they were five, as they approach the cusp of adulthood, Julie and Reba begin to grow away from each other.  The distance from each other gives Reba a new sense of independence and breeds secrets that drive the wedge further between the two girls. Unfortunately, Reba’s secrets are darker than your average teen, yet we can all relate to the inclination to seperate oneself from childish ways and acquaintances.

In the years since Reba’s death, Julie has allowed the guilt of thinking she killed her best friend to eat her up and poison every relationship she’s dared to have, despite the fact that she’s tried to outrun her past by making herself scarce from her hometown in Mississippi.  Dating, marriage, motherhood…nothing is spared the mark of Julie’s personal tragedy.

Julie is a character who can really get under your skin.  She’s got this vision in her head of herself as the bad girl and Reba as the angel that she just can’t shake.  And believing herself responsible for someones death?  This just cements her self-ridicule and doubt.  Even when offered the chance to find Reba’s diary, to finally get at the truth of that night, she’s terrified that it will reveal more about herself than anyone, including her, wants to know.  She could never have predicted the things she would learn about Reba…

There is a tenderness in this story that makes it all the more memorable.  Deep in the muggy Mississippi heat, the reader will get a chance to revisit adolescence with Julie, to discover a girl no one really knew, and put together the pieces of a mystery a decade in the making.  Haley Harrigan has developed an atmospheric sense of place and time that will stick with you long after you have finished the book.  The grief and guilt felt by these characters is palpable.  It is a story that will make you realize just how interconnected we are when we have a hand in affecting someone’s life.

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You can also read my original post here for more information and thoughts about the book.

About the Author

Haley Harrigan graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in creative writing and public relations. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. Secrets of Southern Girls is her debut.  Visit her website atwww.haleyharrigan.com or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.

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