Thursday, January 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Little White Lies by Brianna Baker

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is February 9, 2016.

Seventeen-year-old honors student Coretta White’s Tumblr, Little White Lies—her witty thoughts on pretty much . . . everything—has gone viral. She’s got hundreds of thousands of followers; she’s even been offered a TV deal. But Coretta has a secret. She hasn’t been writing all her own posts. Stressed from the demands of the sudden attention, she hired an expert ghostwriter, forty-one-year-old Karl Ristoff, to keep the Tumblr going. Now consumed with guilt, she confesses. 

The premise of this book sounded really appealing, especially since I am a blogger. The idea of a Tumblr feed going viral only for everyone to discover that the voice behind it isn’t what they thought had a lot of potential. Too bad it was wasted.

Let’s start with the things I liked. Coretta is a young black teenager who is a perfectionist to the hundredth degree. Talk about relatable. She panics if she gets a B instead of an A and she is working towards her dream of being able to attend Harvard. So yeah, when her posts start to go viral, I get why she hired a ghostwriter. This is a young girl who never quits anything and she is trying to keep her head above water with all of her obligation. Then things just kind of went south.

Here’s what I didn’t like (which was pretty much everything else):
  • The POV of the white forty year old ghostwriter. It added absolutely nothing to the story and just felt out of place. I didn’t care why he took the job and I really didn’t care about the five page rundown of his personal history of why he got into ghostwriting to begin with (yeah, that really happened). He bored me.
  •  The speed at which Coretta’s post went viral was crazy unrealistic. Seriously. She writes one post and suddenly she is famous? No, doesn’t work like that. After that post, her followers increase to 7,000 and three posts gets her 30,000 followers (and counting). WTH? Even people who don’t have a blog or Tumblr account know this is not possible. And suddenly, she’s blogging every single day and after a month or two, she is offered a TV deal! WTH again?!
  • Her blog was not even that great. I don’t see why her posts even went viral. Her views were not original and weren’t even that funny. They were actually kind of bland. And what was with people sending her random emails asking for advice? She isn’t Dear Abby people. Even adults were wanting her advice. And wouldn’t it have been more realistic for her to get a few emails or messages trashing her opinion. I think we all know that kind of fame does not come without its fair share of haters.
  • When she meets with the TV executive, NO ONE (not even her parents!) suggest that she consult a lawyer before signing the contract. WHAT? They just slap a contract in front of her and show her the signature line and BOOM. She signs with no issues at all. She doesn’t even read the damn thing herself, let alone get anyone else to.
  •  I hated her character. After the first few chapters, she fell flat. I think it was the pacing. There were parts of the book that just moved way too fast. One minute, she is an average girl who wrote a random blog post one day and then three chapters later, she is hiring a ghost writer and scoring a TV deal. Yeah, I had no time to get to know her or to care about her. Then, when she gets caught, she starts trying to blame other people for her decision, like the person who introduced her to the ghostwriter in the first place. I’m sorry, did anyone make you hire him as a ghostwriter? Uh, no.
  • Oh the ending. There are no words for how much more things fell apart after Coretta’s secret came out. Here are a few things I was hoping would happen: I wanted Coretta to have to face her friends and the strangers she let down. I wanted there to be a discussion about the ethics of her decision or even why she felt compelled to make that decision to begin with. What happened instead? She got sick for a week and stayed out of school, she received a five minute lecture from her parents, her boyfriend broke up with her over voice mail and then . . . nothing. Nope, then the focus went to some stupid mystery about the company that hired Coretta for the TV deal. WHO CARES?? There was no character development and no resolution to everyone finding out she used a ghost writer for a lot of her posts. It was a whole lot of nothing.
  • And can I just talk about how much I detest epilogues? I won’t give spoilers for the ending, but I can tell you there was a very long narration about problems with racism in this country and legitimate political concerns that people have. Oh, but the diatribe on racism was written by the white guy! Shouldn’t it have been written by the main character, who is black?
I really, really wanted to DNF this book after a couple of chapters, but I pushed myself to finish it.

Borrow/Buy/Skip: Skip it, please. Just skip it.


  1. This definitely sounds like it has some issues! I agree the blogging aspect would have caught my attention but yikes. Sorry this wasn't better for you!

    1. Thanks Grace! Yeah, it kind of sucks that this storyline didn't have much fire to it.

  2. Oh I have heard not so good things about this one, and NOW I SEE WHY. There is no way a tumblr post gets all those views, especially nowadays when it is harder to find newer blogs on tumblr (you really have to already be popular in order to be "discovered"). So yeah, and then the rest of this already sounds unbelievable?

    Thanks for the awesome (and hilarious) review Cynthia!!! I'm sorry you had to go through all of this....HOPE YOUR NEXT READ IS BETTER

    1. Thanks so much Valerie! I have been on Tumblr a few times and trying to find people on it can be tough. It just wasn't possible that she gained thousands of views overnight. Ridiculous. Luckily I have read a couple of outstanding books since this one. :)