Book Review: Temptation (The Secret Diaries, #1) by Janice Harrell

Temptation The Secret Diaries # 1 Janice Harrell
Synopsis of Temptation (The Secret Diaries, #1): From the moment Joanna Rigsby moves to Barton City, North Carolina, she fixates on Penn Parrish and his friends. She desperately wants to date Penn and hang out with his group, so when he randomly asks her to The Bakery one day, she jumps at the chance. She slowly becomes part of their group but notices small oddities that makes her feel like she doesn't quite belong.

As a high school student, I absolutely fell in love with The Secret Diaries trilogy by Janice Harrell, and I'm still in love with it as an adult. I reread this book and the rest of the trilogy every few years. In fact, I've lost count of all the times I've actually read the trilogy. Of all of the young adult books I read as a teen, this would make for a great movie in my opinion.

Something I found interesting when I read it as a teen and as an adult is that when Joanna is at a party, she meets a girl who is very into celebrating the solstice and talks about "her people". It is very obvious that she is Wiccan, but it wasn't broadcast as such. I always wondered if the editors and publishers were worried about offending people or if it was a thing that they didn't want it to take on a supernatural tone.

Before reading Temptation (The Secret Diaries, # 1), I had never heard of Édith Piaf and was surprised to learn that she was a real person. As a teenager, I always thought the author had made this person up like many other authors do with "celebrities". So, when I was watching an award show several years ago and heard the name Édith Piaf, I thought, "Whoa! She is a real person." And, of course, I reread the series yet again at that time. Who says you can't learn something about real life from reading a fiction book?

I love the fact that Janice Harrell highlights the main character wanting to fit in and find friends at school but not really feeling like a full fledged part of the group once she has friends. Who hasn't felt this way at one point in their life whether it be at school, work, or in another situation? And, I love the way Joanna and Penn's relationship is written. It highlights young love in its beginning stages, and it shows the lengths that one will go to support the one they love.

Surprisingly, the characters are very well developed for a young adult novel. Casey is a pale faced red head who troubleshoots the school computers and hopes to attend MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He has a very sexist attitude about women . . . they should cook and clean; basically, he thinks it is the woman's job to wait on men. He is obsessed about there being law and order and makes sure everyone knows it. He loves cranberry juice and needling people.

Tessa is petite, dark haired, and loves to cook. She's adventurous when it comes to food, willing to try just about anything. She has her friend's backs no matter what because she's a bit of a mother hen. She has her heart set on going to Princeton and should be a shoe in since she's a legacy. Stephen is thin and dark haired like Tessa and could be her brother because they look so much alike. He has a temper if people keep needling him. He's a helper and wants people to succeed in what they do. A conscientious student, Stephen is a National Merit Scholar and hopes to follow Tessa to Princeton. He's also a chain smoker and afraid of his own shadow. 

Penn has ash blond hair and is the rock of the group. He internalizes all of his stress and lends a shoulder to cry on for everyone of his friends. He's also the peacemaker and problem solver in the group. (As a teen, I absolutely loved the name Penn Parrish as a teenager.) Joanna has long blond hair and her fashion choices tend to be on the eclectic side. She internalizes her insecurities and is a very private person. Always the observer, she makes notes in her diary (in secret code no less) about what she notices.

The only negative thing I can say about  Temptation (The Secret Diaries, #1) is that the editor didn't catch a mistake early on in the book. On page 31 in my copy of the book, Casey orders cranberry juice when everyone else ordered tea. A big deal was made about this because it foreshadows something that happens later in the trilogy. However, on the very next page, he pours milk into his tea.

All in all, I am in absolute love with this book and give it five out of five stars, editing errors aside.

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