Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.
Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.
The best way to describe Little White Lies is to call it a perfect potpourri of every teen drama you’ve ever loved. It’s like if Ryan Atwood was a clever debutante, with Seth Cohen’s gift for surprisingly useful nerdy trivia, bribed by a more patient, warmer Emily Gilmore to the live in the Southern Belle version of Blair Waldorf’s New York, where she’s quickly dragged into felonies only usually experienced in the Rosewood of Pretty Little Liars.
It’s like someone stepped right into my fangirl heart and made me the perfect novel, Powerpuff Girls Professor X style. There is no praise high enough, but let’s give it a shot!
N.B: this is not intended as a fair or balanced review, but a totally biased and unabashedly enthusiastic squeal on all the things I loved about the book. This is pure, unrestrained fangirling!
❗️Mild spoilers ahead!❗️
👍It has the soapy, twisty kind of plot I think only Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off: page-turning and genuinely jaw-dropping without ever feeling trope-y or cheap. Also, THOSE TWISTS.
👍I love Sawyer for a whole bunch of reasons, and right up at the top is how she never pulls her punches. Just when you think she’ll go all civil and polite, like the Deb world wants her to, she comes right out and asks the I-can’t-believe-she-said-that question. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m delicate or Southernly Polite–Deb society would want my jeans-wearing, thumbhole-in-hoodies loving, gum-chewing, music-blaring, sweary self right out of sight–but even I was stunned by Sawyer’s solid lack of fucks to give. It was REFRESHING.
👍I also, and this is a change for me… Liked that there was very little romance? Sawyer didn’t kiss the bad choice guy, she didn’t go head over heels for the bad guy with a heart of gold, and she wasn’t especially concerned with what either might think of her–just what her cousin would. So in fact it wasn’t even just the lack of romance I liked, but the fact that all the key relationships were female.
👍Also that all of those relationships were flawed and tense and real, because the characters involved were, too–every one of them thoroughly grey, no matter how outwardly perfect they might be.
👍And: speaking in rhetorical questions! Advising your granddaughter never to outsource the growing of your rose garden, and proceeding to prune it in every scene possible! Giving a manicure to the girl you’re holding hostage! All the details are so spot on; so specific they instantly build the world for you. It’s not a surprise, given that Jennifer Lynn Barnes was a real Debutante herself, but it does make the world that bit richer and living.
❤️The whole aesthetic, man. I am 100% here for a girl gang committing felonies and plotting to overthrow the patriarchy, and then fixing each other’s hair before they go out in public so they can continue to be underestimated and unsuspected. HERE FOR IT.
🌟Favourite character: It’s uncool to love the main character, but I love Sawyer. Also, I would take a bullet for Sadie-Grace.
🌟Favourite quote: ‘My grandmother, I thought, trying to process the situation, looks like a bichon frise.’
🌟Favourite moment: Those last three words.
This book is:
A standalone🔶Part of a duology🔶 Part of a trilogy🔶 Part of a series
Action-packed🔶 Charming🔶Clever🔶 Comforting🔶Creepy🔶 Dark🔶 Emotional🔶Funny🔶Gripping🔶 Haunting🔶Heartbreaking🔶Intense🔶Mysterious 🔶Powerful🔶Quirky🔶Romantic🔶Sad🔶Scary🔶Sweet🔶Tear-jerking🔶 Tense🔶 Touching🔶Twisty🔶 Violent🔶 Witty
Middle Grade🔶YA🔶 Adult