Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: Little White Lies
Series: Debutantes #1
Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published: November 6, 2018 by Freeform (Disney)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: "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 an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for and honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I loved Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Fixer series and I want to read more of her books so when I heard that she was coming out with a new book that was about debutantes with secrets I was completely on board. And while it was a pretty good read, it didn’t blow me away like I was expecting.

The characterization has this real Gilmore Girls feel. Our main character is the daughter of a former rich girl who got pregnant at seventeen and left home to raise her child. The difference is that these two didn’t have the charm and connection of Rory and Lorelei. It was like later seasons Gilmore Girls where they’ve had a falling out. The grandmother however had strong Emily vibes. She was like this tough an prickly woman who has a surprising heart of gold when it comes right down to it. I loved seeing her walls break down throughout the book along with Sawyer’s. They weren’t quite unlikable characters but they were pretty dubious ones and I always like that in a mystery.

But that was just the start of the dubious characters. This book was full of characters who walk the line between good and evil. So many of them do terrible things throughout the book, some for good reasons and some for terrible reasons. There were some truly devious characters like Campbell and some characters who just made really terrible decision like Lily. I was pleasantly surprised by the relationship that developed between the girls. It started out feeling like a catty mean girls sort of situation but by the end they really came together and made a great team.

However, I do think that the mystery here was kind of lacking. I come to expect JLB to write a twisty series full of last minute surprises so that’s what I wanted here. But it never delivered on that. I think the problem was there were just too many plot points so it lacked a cohesive story. The book was told with these interludes that were happening in the past (or was it the future) that were supposed to explain why the girls were arrested but honestly I think they just confused me needlessly. And then throughout the main novel there was the idea of who Sawyer’s father was thrown in with at least three more side storylines. They all were interesting they just took away from the overall connectedness of the story. I know JLB can write a good thriller, this just wasn’t her best work. I wish she had scaled back a little bit.

But all and all this was a good read. It was fast and entertaining. I read it on a train ride home from seeing my family for Thanksgiving and it was the perfect vacation read.

I give Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I would recommend this book to someone who is not a huge fan of thrillers but wants a book with some mystery to it. I think contemporary fans will like it more than fans of mysteries.

Have you read Little White Lies? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Wow 8/10 is low for you!!! I am/was super excited about this, but I have never read Jennifer Lynn Barnes before and don't know what I'm supposed to expect. I am a huge fan of thriller and I want MYSTERY!! I do like the idea of characters who are both good and bad at the same time though!!

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