Series Review: Debutantes by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Little White Lies (from Goodreads):

I’m not saying this is Sawyer’s fault,” the prim and proper one said delicately. “But.”

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.


Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Debutantes
# of Books: 2 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Heat Rating: Cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2018 – November 2019
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found out about this series through Jen @ Jen Ryland Reviews around the time Little White Lies was first released. I had just finished Tiny Pretty Things and was craving something filled with thrilling drama and this fit the bill. I’m hit or miss with Jennifer Lynn Barnes novels but I was optimistic the concept for this book would work for me. So, I found the audiobook at my library and grabbed it.

The World:

I find that sometimes books set in the Southern USA can be a little slow. But at the same time, one of my all time favourite series is Beautiful Creatures and I adored the southern setting there; so I’m always willing to give things a shot. I didn’t notice too much because I found the plot moved at a good pace. However, a lot seems to be crammed in at the end but I think that’s done to amp up the drama to Soap Opera finale levels.

I don’t know much about the debutante system besides the stereotypes I’ve seen on TV. And I think this plays into those preconceptions well but still makes it seem fresh.

The Plot:

Both novels have these little cutaway scenes to the present that add to the suspense of the overall mystery. I enjoyed the thrill of figuring out that mystery and how the events of the past lead to the present. While some aspects of the mystery seemed obvious to me, there were a lot of great little twists along the way (though mostly at the end). I do wish some of the reveals weren’t all left for the ends of each novel because it does make the pacing seem lopsided. But I certainly enjoyed the shit hitting the fan regardless!

The Characters:

So I actually reread Little White Lies (#1) before I picked up Deadly Little Secrets (#2) because I couldn’t remember the finer details of the plot (it had been 5 years after all). And I am so glad I did. There are so many characters here and so many relationships to keep track of. It really does help to binge this series so that you can keep it all straight.

I liked all the characters. I was really impressed with the character development of a lot of the side characters throughout the series. It helped to round out the series because I wouldn’t say Sawyer had “amazing” character development for being our lead. I do appreciate her ability to navigate this crazy world and family she suddenly finds herself in. But her more reserved personality in this new world of melodramatic characters doesn’t help her shine.

The Romance:

It almost felt like an after thought to me. I actually wish it wasn’t alluded to at all because it just felt forced.

My Audiobook Experience:

I loved listening to the southern twang of the narrator. It just gave the story a flare I think I would have missed had I simply read the text. It was a lot of fun to listen to and it really brought depth to the characters to hear their voices and emotions.

Series Rating: 4/5

Little White Lies 4/5 | Deadly Little Scandals 4/5


A great blend of soapy, campy drama with a great emphasis on female friendships and the bonds between family. If you love family secrets getting aired out with the dirty laundry, this is a great duet for you to grab!

Read if You Like: southern soap operas, thrillers
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary reads, want more romance


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