by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Debutantes #1
Published by Freeform
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Genres: Mystery, YA
Format Read: ARC
Buy on Amazon
"I'm not saying this is Sawyer's fault," the prim and proper one said delicately. "But."
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.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I was a big believer in absolute honesty: say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer.
Buckle up, ya’ll because this review may be long winded. I will honestly say that when I first got this ARC last year, I wasn’t entirely sure it would be my cup of tea. Every time books get compared to Pretty Little Liars, it pushes me away. I watched PLL, and attempted to read the books (that was a no for me), and I do not need a replica of that. But ever since I read Rachel Hawkins Rebel Belle series back when it was published, I have ached for something to fill that fancy, severely southern, debutante with a twist gap. (I HIGHLY recommend Rebel Belle to anyone who liked this book, however that was more paranormal, and Debutantes series is not, but the atmosphere and twists and turns remain.) So I gave in to Little White Lies (LWL going forward for the sake of not repeating the book title 100 times), and boy was in for a surprise! I did not get to post a review on the previous blog, but with the sequel recently released, I figured what better time to do so!
Let me jump in to the story. I loved that we didn’t linger to long in Sawyers current reality, but jumped right into her offer and getting to her Grandmothers home and being thrust into Debutante training. The story moved forward at a great pace, which left me feeling like there was never too dull a moment to disinterest me or lose my attention. However, this is where my only real criticism of the LWL comes in to play: I feel like the book could have been a bit shorter and still provided the pivotal scenes and secrets. There is fluff that could have been cut, but I wont say the fluff was entirely dull, it just drug out the book unnecessarily long.
Characters! Let’s just focus on our main 4 Debs…. Sawyer is great as a rags to riches type character. Basically what I expected from her. Same for Lily. Sadie Grace is the oh so lovable-ditsy-doesn’t know shes beautiful girl. She is freaking adorable. But for me, right from the start, I knew I would love to hate Campbell. She plays a villain well, but her motives require consideration and thought. She doesn’t do much without intent and purpose. All the girls in this group will surprise you in different ways, but Campbell, I like that one. She is feisty. But all these girls were born and bred into high society and raised to be Debs, where Sawyer was not, and she is forced to start understanding their reality very quickly. Sidebar- not one of the girls, but BOONE! OMG I adore him already. Side character for sure, but my favorite guy by far!
“There are two kinds of scandals, Sawyer… Those that ruin you, and those that don’t. And if you think the difference between the two is in what someone does and not who does it, you’re even more naive than I thought.”
One of the things I love about this book is that it is fluent in sarcasm and angsty young women just eyeballing felonies. It’s witty and sarcastic in all the right ways, even with a deadly smile plastered on everyone’s faces. Another thing I love? That this isn’t a love story. There is only the barest hint of romance here, so it doesn’t take over any story lines or plot twists. This first book is basically full focus on the secrets and lies hiding in high society. One last thing I love? That just when you think all secrets are exposed and questions are answered, you get thrown for a few final twists!
So I was definitely surprised, and could continue to rave about this book for a few paragraphs, but I will just save more of that energy for reviewing the sequel, which I only hope lives up to this first novel! And now that I am so familiar with the story, characters, and secrets, I wouldn’t mind a little romance, especially with the girls all being over 18 now. Stay tuned, my review for book 2, Deadly Little Scandals, should be available soon!