Title: Little White Lies
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
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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.
Wow, I’m feeling a lot of things with this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.
I think I’m mostly just underwhelmed. I was looking for shocking twists and turns, but mostly I felt like this was a too familiar story of lies and betrayal with a last minute twist, that while not awful, wasn’t enough to save this one for me.
“I’m not saying this is Sawyer’s fault,” the prim and proper one said delicately. “But.”
Sawyer — Sawyer was an interesting enough character. She accepts a bribe from her Grandmother to participate in debutante season and searches for her biological father. As the outsider entering this world, we experience the secrets and lies through Sawyer.
Our sider characters were interesting for the story, but ultimately forgettable. They were definitely inspired by classic archetypes, though they each had a bit of a twist.
I think my biggest issue with this one was the plot. I actually liked the flashback/flash forward format of this book, but I wasn’t sure what the threat was. We knew the characters were in police custody…but that’s about it. And yes, the book was flashing back to set up what happened, but I felt like it dragged on a bit too long.
That also could have been because I was expecting more scandals from the debutante side of the plot. There were some, but not what I was expecting. I was hoping for a Gossip Girl/Thousandth Floor story, packed with jaw dropping secrets and lies. This one had a bit of blackmail, a sexy gossip blog, and a coverup. Not, bad scandals, but all things I’ve seen before.
As for the who’s your daddy subplot, I did actually enjoy that. There was enough misdirect and possible suitors that I enjoyed figuring out, with Sawyer, who her father was.
I’m also not sure why so many secrets from the blog were included. Unless I missed something, I don’t think they played into the plot much, other than establishing that this website exists. Though, that could have been because of the audio format, the physical book may have done more with it.
As for the writing style, I did enjoy it. I mentioned above that I didn’t mind the flashback/flash forward writing style. I enjoy shows like How to Get Away with Murder that frequently use this narrative style. That being said, I don’t feel like the present situation was compelling enough for me to have to know what happened.
I picked this one up after seeing several BookTubers make videos about it and the plot sounding pretty intriguing. Unfortunately, the execution didn’t totally do it for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this one. However, I wanted to love it more.
I am happy there’s another book in the series coming. I think this was a great jumping off point and am excited to see how this story continues.