AUTHOR: Kate Brian
RATING: 2 STARS
PUBLISHED: 2006 – 2011 - Simon Pulse
SERIES: Yes; Complete Series:
The Book of Spells (2010 - A Private Prequel) "A Private prequel that tells the true origins of Billings House!"
Last Christmas (2008 - A Private Prequel) "Last Christmas reveals the secret of what really happened before Private began—-and the shocking truth will change everything for fans of Kate Brian's bestselling series."
Private (2006 - The first book in the series) "Tradition, Honor, Excellence...and secrets so dark they're almost invisible. Fifteen-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 realizes 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."
Invitation Only (2006- The second book in the series) "Reed Brennan's future is looking as bright as the two-karat diamonds in her new housemates' ears. Being accepted to the most prestigious private boarding school in the country wasn't enough for Reed. She had to break every rule to do it, but she has accomplished the impossible: Reed is a Billings Girl now. And with her new status come respect, envy, and, most important, opportunity. Not to mention the parties. Unfortunately, at the next illicit party in the Easton campus woods, her roommate snaps some pictures of Reed in more than one compromising position. She uses the photos to blackmail Reed: Dig up dirt on the most powerful and popular Billings Girls or she will have Reed expelled. And speaking of parties, the Legacy is coming up. It's the invitation-only Halloween party in NYC and it's rumored that Thomas -- Reed's MIA boyfriend -- will be making an appearance there. Too bad Reed isn't even close to invited.Life as a Billings Girl is every bit as glamorous as Reed imagined. What she didn't bargain for is the tangled web of private lies these girls weave."
Untouchable (2006 - The third book in the series) "Cheating, partying, blackmail, and now...murder? Can the Billings Girls remain untouchable? Reed's boyfriend, Thomas Pearson -- the popular, easygoing, irresistibly handsome and charismatic boy she fell in love with -- is dead. No one knows how it happened, and everyone is after the truth. Or are they? Life at Easton Academy begins to feel very different. Taylor is acting like the poster child for Prozac, Kiran is spiking her cornflakes, Noelle is being kind of...nice, and Arianna keeps floating along as if nothing has happened. Thanksgiving break arrives and Reed and Josh find themselves alone on campus. They are forced to confront the feelings they've been hiding. Those feelings combined with an empty campus result in the hottest hookup Reed could possibly imagine. But when Reed breaks the news about Josh to the Billings Girls, there's no fun game of tell-all. Instead, Josh begins to look like suspect No. 1 in the murder of Thomas Pearson. The perfect life Reed has constructed as a Billings Girl begins to crumble. And as everyone becomes more convinced of Josh's guilt, Reed's private suspicions lead her somewhere she doesn't want to go."
Confessions (2007 - The fourth book in the series) "Reed Brennan came to superposh Easton Academy to make a brand-new life for herself. At first it seemed as though her dream had come true-she was living in the ultraexclusive Billings Hall, hanging out with the all-powerful Billings Girls, and dating the very hot Thomas Pearson. But Thomas turned out to be different from what she thought...and then he turned up dead. And if that wasn't twisted enough, Reed's new boyfriend, Josh Hollis, was arrested for Thomas's murder. Now everyone is back to worrying about the regular stuff, like how to sneak to the boys' dorms at night, whether two-ply cashmere is warm enough for fall, and whether to fly to London or Barcelona for Thanksgiving break. Everyone except for Reed. Reed is convinced that Josh is innocent, which means the killer is still out there. Now it's up to Reed to uncover the truth. But the deeper she digs, the more secrets she unearths and the closer she gets to the confession that will change everything...if she's alive to hear it."
But Reed's fellow Billings resident and new nemesis, Cheyenne Martin, believes the changes are a mockery of Billings history. Despite the new rules, Cheyenne vows to keep the old ways alive, no matter what -- or who-- stands in her way..."
After Cheyenne Martin's death, everyone at Easton Academy is struggling to recover from yet another tragedy--especially the girls of Billings Hall. With Cheyenne gone, they need to elect a new leader. And who better than Reed Brennan, the ultimate Billings Girls? As the new Billings president, Reed suddenly has access to power she never imagined. Gossip is reported to her immediately, she has first dibs on everything from dining tables to dorm rooms, and Billings's most powerful alumnae are at her beck and call. So when Easton's students discover they're the only prep school on the East Coast not invited to this year's all-inclusive Legacy party, everyone turns to Reed to get them back on the list. Reed is the most powerful girl at Easton. She revels in her newfound status, but knows better than anyone that the Bilings leaders have a tainted legacy: Ariana was institutionalized, Noelle was expelled, and Cheyenne just died. History has a way of repeating itself at Easton, and now that Reed has everything she's ever wanted, she has everything to lose."
Revelation (2008 - The eighth book in the series) "
The biggest mystery of all...and Reed is dying to learn the truth.Two months after Cheyenne Martin was found dead in her Billings House dorm room, exclusive Easton Academy is rocked by another stunning revelation: Cheyenne was murdered. No one knows who the killer is, but everyone agrees that Reed Brennan, who took over Cheyenne's role as Billings's president, gained the most from her death. Once the most powerful girl on campus, Reed is now powerless to stop her classmates' accusing whispers. Rumors begin to swirl that she killed Cheyenne. And just like that, Reed is kicked out of Billings.
She's lost everything -- her friends, her home, her boyfriend -- and Reed knows the only way to get it all back is to figure out who really murdered Cheyenne. And she has to do it fast because the killer is still out there. The more Reed investigates, the more she uncovers. And as any Billings Girl knows...secrets can be deadly."
Paradise Lost (2009 - The ninth book in the series) "
Paradise awaits....Reed is reunited with former Billings Girls Kiran and Taylor, and she and her friends take over the exclusive island. They spend their days tanning on white-sand beaches and their nights partying on sixty-foot yachts. It's heaven on earth. Now that Cheyenne's murderer has been revealed and Reed knows the truth about who's been stalking her, she's ready to leave the heartache and turmoil of last semester behind. And what better way to recover than a five-star Caribbean vacation? But as they raise their champagne flutes to toast their friendship, Reed worries that it's all too good to be true. Because even in paradise, the Billings Girls are never far from trouble -- and nothing's more dangerous than the calm before the storm...."
Suspicion (2009 - The tenth book in the series) "In the newest Private book from Kate Brian, Suspicion sets up a mystery that even Reed has never faced."
Scandal (2010 - The eleventh book in the series) "After her harrowing kidnapping, Reed returns to Easton to find the worst thing she can think of—Billings has been torn down. Finally, after years of controversy, the school’s wealthiest female alumni have been overruled, and the historical dorm is gone from Easton Academy. How will Reed and the rest of the Billings Girls handle it? Will they still be as powerful, as popular, and as wicked—with literally no ground to stand on?"
Vanished (2010 - The twelfth book in the series) "Lost and found...
Against all odds, Reed Brennan re-established Billings as an underground literary society. She and the new initiates created a glamorous secret headquarters and were ready to show Easton Academy that even though Billings House is gone, the Billings Girls are stronger than ever. But before Reed had a chance to revel in her success, something horrible happened: Noelle disappeared. Now Reed has no idea who wants to hurt Noelle or why, but it's up to Reed to save her. As the clues build up, the clock ticks down, and Reed fears that unless she finds Noelle soon, she'll lose her friend forever...."Ominous (2011 - The thirteenth book in the series) "After the shocking revelations made in the Private prequel, The Book of Spells, Noelle and Reed know they are descendants of the original Billings Girls and their legacy includes a mysterious coven of witches. But it's nothing compared to what happens next.
One by one, Billings Girls go missing from campus. The entire community bands together to find the lost girls, hoping they are still alive. Reed can't believe tragedy has struck Easton again, and she begins to wonder if the Billings Girls are cursed. But when the first body shows up containing a message just for her, she fears her friends are worse than cursed: they're doomed. The penultimate book in the suspenseful Private series!"
Vengeance (2011 - The final book in the series) "After the devastating events at Reed's birthday party, Noelle is determined to put the past to rest, but Reed is adament about rebuilding Billings. Coming up against endless roadblocks from the headmaster, not to mention Billings alumni, Reed will not let her legacy end with a pile of rubble. As if that weren't enough, old ghosts come back to haunt to the Billings Girls. Reed has been through the ringer in her time at Easton and she starts to wonder if maybe she can even make it out of this place alive."
MY OVERALL REVIEW:
At first I wasn’t going to include the Private series by Kate Brian on my blog. After finishing Vengeance, the final book in the series, I felt compelled to post a review for the entire series.
I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS SERIES.
I have been reading this series for a couple of years. Each time a new book came out, I would rush out and purchase it THAT DAY. I have been a dedicated reader of this series for a while now. Vengeance, the final book in this series, is the first book that sat on my shelf for a few weeks before I decided to read it. A part of me put it off because I was sad to see this series end, another part of me put if off because of negative reviews.
Here are my thoughts after finishing the series:
The Private series is composed of 14 books. Someone tries to kill Reed, the main character, in practically every other book. You may be thinking, “Wow, she must be something special if everyone wants her dead.” But see that is the thing, Reed isn’t that special. Looking back I have decided that she is boring and whiny. (Yes, okay I can forgive her for being whiny. I’d complain a lot if someone were after me every other week too. But she is still boring!) Now that I have finished this series, I still don’t understand why multiple people, children and grown adults alike, wanted to kill Reed. Yes, you are given answers, but they aren’t good reasons, in my opinion.
Another thing…what is up with the return from the dead thing? UGH, I don’t even want to go there. I can’t go there…. moving on.
Also, I think it was around book 11 or 12 when Kate Brian decided to add a paranormal element – witchcraft, to this series. Not only did she add this in extremely late in the game, but she also took it away at the beginning of Vengeance, with one small paragraph to support this sudden change. MY ADVICE: If you are writing a series you need to decide AT THE BEGINNING of the series if you want to write a paranormal series or not. I think it is utterly ridiculous that Kate Brian decided to completely change the essence of this series with only a couple books to go, and to make maters worse, she decided to just change it back. Yes, she is the author, but come on. It’s very confusing to readers.
Here is the deal. I have read the Privilege series, a Private companion novel that follows Ariana Osgood (Reed’s nemesis). I really enjoyed this series. The Privilege series wrapped up June 2011. Cruel Love, the final book in the Privilege series tells us what happens to Reed Brennan, the main character in the Private series, when she is in college. The last book in the Private series, Vengeance, was released September 2011, and it wraps up at the end of Reeds junior year in high school. This was an issue for me. I already knew what happened to Reed in college, so why would I still care about her junior year in high school? The answer: I really didn’t care.
In the beginning, I really enjoyed this series. This series is far from realistic, but every time I’d pick up a book I would get lost in Reed’s world and forget about how improbable the plot and conflicts were. Toward the end of the series things got ridiculous, and it was hard to deal with the improbabilities and the impracticality of this series. When the witchcraft was introduced it was another strike against this book. But the final blow to this series was the final book in the series. Vengeance was horrible. 80% of the context of this novel was about rebuilding Billings. Something I could honestly care less about. The other 20% of this novel is creepy stalker texts, someone trying to kill Reed (for the 100th time), and the senior class graduation. Reed was only a junior so this wasn’t even a big moment for her.
This would have been a good series if it would have wrapped up a few books ago, but it dragged on, lost what it was, and was released too late (it should have been released before the final Privilege book). I can’t think of one good reason why it wasn’t. I have decided that I am not a fan. Yes, it took me a little while to figure it out; I am officially 4 years and $150 too late. But hey, at least I got a review out of it!
I gave the overall Private series by Kate Brian 2 STARS. I don’t recommend this series.