Auto mechanic Sawyer Taft, 18, was shocked when her estranged grandma knocked on her house and offered her a six-figure contract to compete in debutante season. She certainly never expected that she would agree, either. She signs the contract and prepares herself for a year of makeovers, huge clothes, bigger egos, and a lot of bless your heart when she learns that assimilating into her grandmother’s “society” could lead her to the solution to the biggest mystery of her life—the identity of her father. The one thing Sawyer doesn’t anticipate finding is friendship, but when she becomes involved with a group of debutantes who each have scandalous, perilous secrets, she soon learns that her family isn’t the only prominent member of high society who has skeletons in their closet. Everyone does not want Sawyer poking her nose into the past because there are individuals in her grandmother’s glamorous world who are not who they seem to be. Sawyer is just getting started in her quest to discover the truth about her own ancestry as she negotiates the complicated ties between her new pals and their wealthy parents.
This book will make debutantes who have experienced it smile with recognition; debutantes who haven’t will laugh out loud in the depths of their hearts.
In Little White Lies, Jennifer Lynn Barnes shatters the rules of “the season” for social gatherings.
18-year-old Sawyer Tate has made a career out of fixing cars her life’s work. Despite Sawyer’s curiosity, she is okay with the fact that she lives with her mother and that her father is not and has never been a part of the picture.
When Sawyer’s life seems to be going at a glacial pace one day, Sawyer’s wealthy grandma Lillian knocks on the door and makes an impossible-to-refuse offer: a half million dollars if Sawyer will visit Lillian’s house for “the season” and partake in the various activities.
Ellie, Sawyer’s mother, is a carefree lady who falls in and out of love with each sunrise and is aware that Sawyer is the “take control” part of the family. She was expelled from the home when she became pregnant with Sawyer 18 years ago. Ellie is currently out and about with a new beau while Sawyer is inside.
As a result, Sawyer accepts Lillian’s offer to join the other debutantes for the season since she sees it as a chance to find out more about who her father was or is.
Here, Barnes begins to create a group of people who are all made of the same stuff but are also completely distinct from one another. Sawyer meets Lilly, her cousin who is the offspring of Olivia, Ellie’s sister, and John David, Olivia’s husband. Sadie-Grace, Lilly’s buddy, is the stunning deb who can’t seem to control her anxiety and seems a little out of place in her deb position. Or maybe not so much! The girls get close despite Sawyer’s past on the wrong side of the tracks.
Here comes Campbell Ames, the thorn in the side. Campbell is spoiled, self-centered, and not above using blackmail on Lily due to certain online transgressions. She has her own objectives and will go to any lengths to get them.
After establishing the scene, Barnes now tells a compelling story. Barnes intersperses a few brief chapters in the third person throughout the story, which is narrated in the first person from Sawyer’s perspective from a few months earlier. In these chapters, the four girls are sitting in a cell in the local town jail, and a bewildered newly confirmed sergeant has no idea what to do with them or why they are there at all.
As Sawyer looks for her father among the wealthy men and Campbell proceeds ahead with her own plans to blame her father for her father’s numerous wrongdoings, the plot switches back and forth between the events of the season and the jailhouse.
And the parents are dealing with their own problems. The mothers fight and compete for dominance among the “set” yet never act in a way that would be seen as subpar. Any of the men introduced may be Sawyer’s father because the fathers are the men in charge of the money and the power.
Campbell’s desire to put her father in jail and ruin his life, Sawyer’s search for a father—all of these plot points have been streamlined by Barnes. The plot is very logical, and as Sawyer and Campbell get closer to their objectives with each new chapter, the action gets crazier.
Barnes is a master at giving the reader the hints they need to figure out who Sawyer’s father was, is, or could be, but she also has a knack for holding the truth back until the very end of the narrative.
Little White Lies is a tale of discovery that is full of hilarious dialogue, settings, and characters. To gain insight into what happens behind the scenes, this book should be read by everyone on your gift list who aspires to be a debutante. She might not change her opinion, but reading it will be interesting and enlightening anyway!
More than a dozen acclaimed young adult novels by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (often known simply as Jen) have received positive reviews. She holds postgraduate degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science, including ones from Yale University, where she got her Ph.D. in 2012, and Cambridge University, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar. Jen sold her first five novels while she was still a college student and authored her first published novel when she was nineteen. Jen is one of the foremost authorities on the psychology of fandom as well as the cognitive science of fiction and the imagination more generally. In addition to publishing YA novels, she has also created original pilot scripts for television networks including USA and MTV. Jen is a dual-appointed Associate Professor in Psychology and Professional Writing at the University of Oklahoma.