Set in the gentrified south among debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines the charm of a fully-realized setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off. When Sawyer Taft agrees to move in with her grandmother, she expects some things to be different, but what she doesn't expect is to get sucked into a group of over-privileged, yet somehow lovable debs who have—wait for it—kidnapped one of their own in hopes of blackmailing her into keeping their secrets under wraps—secrets which are far bigger and more scandalous than anyone could have imagined. As Sawyer works to uncover the identity of her father, she must also navigate the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, and help them discover the villain among them.
Eighteen-year-old Sawyer a car mechanic and daughter of a single mom in the South is offered a deal she cannot refuse: her estranged maternal grandmother, Lillian, a wealthy socialite, will give Sawyer half a million dollars if she agrees to live with her for one year and become a debutante. Sawyer accepts in the hope of discovering her father's identity within her grandmother's social strata, and she is soon wooing attractive young men at society events and befriending her cousin, Lily. Lily has plenty of secrets of her own secrets that help unspool the mystery at this novel's center, having to do with a missing girl and a scandalous blogger. Time jumps between chapters and blog post interstitials may create confusion at the story's start, but after the structure smooths out, the momentum picks up, as do the secrets. Though Barnes (The Fixer) paints Sawyer as an outsider, and the young woman constantly protests the moneyed world into which she is dropped, the ease of her assimilation saps tension she seems born for this life. Full of gossiping, conniving, and back-stabbing, this breezy read is light on mystery and heavy on made-for-film debutante antics. Ages 12 up.