Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Review: Little White Lies (Debutantes #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Little White Lies
* Series: Debutantes #1
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Freeform
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Source: Publisher
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Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who mysteries that involve sassy debutantes and tons of scandal.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
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.

YA and I are in a weird relationship lately, and it's definitely making it harder for me to review books like Little White Lies. This is a book that made me giggle, endeared me to its characters, but then ran way longer than it probably should have. It's rough to sit in that middle ground where you genuinely loved the majority of a story, but there are just small things that make it rougher to finish than you expected. That's this book in a nutshell.

I mean, this book could have probably done with a bit of culling in the plot department. The mystery built around Sawyer and her newly acquired family members started out with a bang. However, as the story progressed, it felt more and more stagnant. The tension that Barnes built up so well at the beginning, that sense of growth that was tied to Sawyer, just slowly simmered off. I was frustrated towards the middle of this story, and really ready to skim. I kept on though and, I can say, the end of this book rewarded me. So, if you feel the same, just keep going. It's worth it.

Also I should note that I appreciated how well Barnes rounds out these characters. Debutantes of any sort have the ability to be vapid girls who have no personality to speak of. In this case, the girls have a wonderful amount of depth. Especially since Sawyer, an outsider to this whole world of pearls and balls, comes into the picture early on. I loved the friendship and the family relationships that came to life on the page. Each girl had their own little quirk that spoke to what we'd expect from the debutante scene: the mean girl, the pretty but spacey one, and the prim one. However as time went on, each one of them broke out of the mold slowly but surely. It was so refreshing.

The actual ending of the book did cause a bit of huffing and puffing from me. I knew that this was an ongoing series, and so I was thoroughly prepared for a cliffhanger ending. What happened instead was the exact opposite. Everything wraps up with a neat bow, and this book just ends. No fanfare, no excitement, but then isn't that just like real life? I suppose I've been groomed to expect book ending frustration. I'm not sure if that's funny or sad.

Anyway, this is well worth a read. It's a charming book and, while it has its flaws, it pushes the envelope on what has been done with characters of this type before. I honestly can't wait for the next book.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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