Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Debutantes duology was among my 2019 must read books… and I managed to get to both books during the last week of the year! Although set in the world of white gloves and ball gowns, don’t be fooled. This YA contemporary thriller series is filled with secrets, scandals and more.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Little White Lies was on my ‘2018 Releases to get to in 2019 TBR’. The book overall has received mixed reviews, but many bloggers who have similar reading tastes as I do seem really enjoyed this one. Little White Lies follows eighteen-year old Sawyer Taft, who has just been contacted for the first time ever by her wealthy maternal grandmother. In exchange for living with grandmother and participating in debutante season for nine months, Sawyer will receive $500,000, meaning that she can actually afford to go to college- and try to figure out the hidden identity of her father. While she expected the white ball gowns and gloves, Sawyer did not expect to get pulled into a friend group of fellow debutantes with dark and scandalous secrets of their own.
With debutante life and season as its backdrop, Little White Lies is a true mystery thriller at its heart, even though I wish the book had a bit more debutante elements within. The whole debutante part is mostly used to create settings for much of the major plot moments, from charity auctions to balls, and does provide Sawyer some connection with her family. The book begins with the four main female characters locked inside a jail cell and alternates between the past, aka Sawyer’s nine months living with her grandmother, and the present, aka jail. I enjoyed Little White Lies throughout, but it took the first 200 pages or so, specifically when someone’s mother re-enters the picture, for me to get fully into it. I ended up binge-reading the last 200 pages between one night and the next morning because I had officially become invested in the story. The first half of the book is used for world-building, creating some major revelations regarding the identity of Sawyer’s father and the mystery a fellow debutante, Campbell, has pulled Sawyer and the other girls into. The ending and overall second half of the book was just so clever. I found myself re-reading the jail cell scenes right after I finished the ending. I really like where this first installment leads off, which made me even more excited to have the second book, Deadly Little Scandals, already sitting next to my bed.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Deadly Little Scandals is one of the best YA thrillers I’ve read in a while. I picked up Deadly Little Scandals on the same day that I finished Little White Lies, and I was hooked from the get-go. I think it helped having the cast and book #1’s ending so fresh in my mind because I was instantly pulled into the plot and new twists. Deadly Little Scandals takes on a similar narrating style as book #1, alternating between the past and present with a third past plot line as well.
Set during the summer after the events of Little White Lies, Deadly Little Scandals follows lake season in Southern High Society. Saywer and co. are still trying to unravel the unsolved mysteries from #1 while each receiving an invitation to try out for the White Gloves, an elite all-female secret society. Between trying to uncover their families’ on-going scandals and the White Gloves business, I seriously could not put Deadly Little Scandals down. There’s so much more character development in this installment, especially when it came to Sawyer, Lily, and Sadie Grace. With some of the reveals, Lily’s personality definitely takes a darker turn, and I feel like we got to experience more of Sadie Grace’s personality in this one. I don’t want to talk to much about the reveals for the sake of spoilers, but Deadly Little Scandals really delves into more secrets and scandals within Sawyer and Lily’s family that I absolutely did not see coming. Deadly Little Scandals makes for the perfect binge-read because you simply won’t want to put ti down.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Debutantes duology thanks to its fun and more than satisfying thriller vibes. I’m interested in checking out more of Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ books, and I look forward to what she may bring out next.
Have you read Little White Lies or Deadly Little Scandals? Have you read any other books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes? Share in the comments!