Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Mysteries & Detective Stories
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.
Little White Lies is the first installment in author Jennifer Lynn Barnes Debutantes series. Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars go Southern in this comedic mystery about a girl raised by a down-on-her-luck single mom who allows her wealthy grandmother to bribe her into becoming a proper Southern debutante—all in the hopes of finding out who her father is. Protag Sawyer Taft grounds this sudsy mystery with her honest approach to relationships and situations, and her very personal mission--to find out where she comes from.
9 months ago, 18-year old Sawyer Taft worked for Big Jim's Garage while living with her irresponsible mother Helen who disappears with different men regularly. Sawyer has never known who her father is thanks to the fact that her mother refuses to talk about her past and why she is estranged from her family. But, when Sawyer’s maternal grandmother Lillian Taft makes a sudden appearance, she promises both answers and a whole lot of money if Sawyer will agree to live with her for nine months and be introduced to Debutante society.
Despite her initial misgivings, Sawyer accepts with her own conditions. The money is a great incentive, but Sawyer’s true motivation lies rooted in the realization that living in her grandmother’s world might mean finally learning the answer to the biggest question of all; Who is her father, and what really happened almost 20 years ago? Aside from the back and forth throughout the 9 month time frame of Sawyer's contract with Lillian, there's the family side of things.
Sawyer has only had her mother for 18 years. Now, she has her grandmother, an aunt, an uncle, and a cousin along with the baggage that they each carry. Most of the story is told in flashbacks, with little snippets of the present preceding some chapters. The snippets of the present tease readers with the knowledge that something “big” has already happened. The plot gradually unfolds to describe exactly the series of events that take place before this huge bombshell.
I loved Sawyer. She’s sassy and sarcastic and it was a blast being in her head while all of this unfolded. There’s quite a group of characters here like her mother Ellie, Cousin Lily, Sadie-Grace, as well as Campbell Ames who you really need to have patience with. The beautiful, over-privileged cast of Little White Lies has more secrets than they have money in the bank, filling the novel with the interpersonal twists and turns and aha moments that have made binge reading a thing.