Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Little white lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Sawyer Taft has lived her whole life knowing that her grandmother threw her pregnant teenage mother out of the family home, and it has just been Sawyer and her mother ever since.  She's fine with it though, over the years they have found a rhythm that works for them - even though most of the time it seems like Sawyer is the grown up and not her mother.  When her mother disappears to spend quality time with a man she met at the bar she works in, the last person Sawyer expected to see was her estranged grandmother, and she definitely wasn't expecting an offer she couldn't refuse.  Her estranged grandmother will give Sawyer enough money to see her through college and a good start in life, and all she wants from Sawyer is her participation in the debutante season.

Sawyer soon discovers that debutantes are not sweet little girls, they are as manipulative and cunning as they are polished and poised.  While taking part in debutante season gives her the chance to get to know her family and please her grandmother, it is also a chance to solve the one big mystery of her life - who her father is.  As Sawyer gets to know her fellow debs she comes to realise that every family has it's secrets, and that everyone has something they can use against someone else.  As Sawyer chases potential clues and learns more about her grandmother and mother, she grows closer to the truth and closer to danger.  

Jennifer Lynn Barnes has a knack for writing characters that are easy to connect with, and who go through trials and challenges that shape them into something new - and Sawyer is no exception.  At the start she seems like a totally tough and no nonsense character, but it soon becomes clear that there is a lot more to her than meets the eye, and a lot more to her story that we are yet to discover.  The debutantes are interesting characters in their own rights, as are the family members and friends who revolve around them. 

The rich background of the deb season with all the mysteries, traditions, tensions, and possibilities for things to go wrong just act to make the story more engaging and exciting.  The way the story moves from the past to the present and back builds the tension without revealing too many secrets too quickly, and creates moments where you can try and puzzle out what is coming next.  

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Guy Langman, crime scene procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Nickel plated by Aric Davis
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Crime seen by Jenny Pausacker
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott

Reviewed by Brilla

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