Bestie Book Club
Chloe spills on her latest book club pick — the glittering mystery Little White Lies
Hey there! Welcome back to Chloe’s Book Club — a community for book lovers from Chloe Lukasiak and Girls’ Life magazine. If you're new here, welcome! Here's how this works: Each month we’re reading, discussing and obsessing over a new book; so if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to CLICK THIS LINK and officially join the club. (We’ll email you with Chloe’s Book Club updates, reading guides, special contests and giveaways, event invitations and more.)
Here's a quick guide to everything you'll find inside this post (and beyond). Just remember, *major spoilers* are ahead (so look for the spoiler ratings before you read!).
LITTLE WHITE LIES — THE BOOK CLUB AT-A-GLANCE
+ Buy the book — and get 15% off with our B&N discount code!
+ The Recap
+ Chloe's Commentary
+ The Party-Planning Guide
+ Chloe's Discussion Questions
+ The Giveaway
+ Details on how to participate
Our November pick is...Little White Lies! It's a page-turning mystery about a quick-witted teenage girl by the best-selling author of the Naturals series, Jennifer Lynn Barnes. To get 15% off your copy, head over to Barnes & Noble and use the code chloereads at checkout (offer available through November 31, 2018). Shopping in the store? Click here to download and print your coupon (or just be ready to display it on your cell). Pssst: Be sure to share this exclusive code with all the babes in your book club!
Ready to get started? Read on...
What would you do if your grandmother showed up on your doorstep and offered you $500,000? You'd take it, right? Well, that's exactly what Sawyer Taft does when her own grandmother, the well-to-do Lillian Taft, makes a surprise appearance in her life in Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The cash comes with a catch, though: In order to receive the money, the 18-year-old must leave her single mom and their not-so glamorous small-town life behind to participate in debutante season.
As an auto mechanic, it's more likely that you'd see Sawyer in dirty work gloves than a pair made of pristine white silk. But that's exactly what she finds herself donning as she joins her cousin, Lily, and her crew of high-society friends as they flit through the Pearls of Wisdom auction, a boujie mother-daughter brunch and all the other extravagant events and traditions of deb season. It all leads up to the main event: The Symphony Ball.
Sawyer's not just in it for the money, though. She's got an ulterior motive: to find out who her father is. Her mom, Ellie, has told Sawyer almost nothing about the guy who made Ellie a teen mom. All Sawyer knows is that he's likely one of the four boys her mom circled in a photo of the Symphony Squires (the debutante's Symphony Ball escorts) from her Aunt Olivia's coming-out year. So is it Senator Sterling Ames (her rival's father), John David Easterling (her uncle), Thomas Mason or Charles Waters?
Armed with her quick wit and plenty of determination, Sawyer spends the season—all nine months—attempting to figure out who her father is. Between digging up long-forgotten deb memories and cringing through plenty of awkward encounters, Sawyer gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a scandal about Senator Ames and his picture-perfect family.
For the Gossip Girl-obsessed, Riverdale lovers and Pretty Little Liars loyalists, Little White Lies delivers plot twists until the very last page (and, TBH, we'd be lying if we said we weren't dying to see it as a TV series, too).
Can you tell that I love books about glittering, high-society worlds filled with pomp and tradition?
The dresses and the pearls and the prettiness of these books are amazing, but the drama is what I really became addicted to. One second I was reading about Sawyer's troublemaking antics...and the next I was dropped back into the craziness of debutante season.
But the best part of the story? The female relationships, especially the different mother-daughter dynamics.
Ellie, who got pregnant as a teenager, raised Sawyer on her own. Because of that, they both became super tough and self-sufficient women. Ellie and Lillian, Sawyer's grandmother, don't have a very tight bond. But at the end of the day, it was obvious that they care about each other—and Sawyer—a ton.
After being on a show myself that was literally all about moms and daughters and drama, this book was obviously super relatable for me in a lot of ways. But as the story unfolded, I became extremely invested in the Sawyer/Ellie/Lillian dynamic in particular. There’s a lot of love between those women, and it’s the same way in my family. My mom always said that—while of course she loves my dad immensely!—her grandma was the love of her life. And my mom is the love of mine.
That doesn’t mean things have always been perfect between us, though. It also got me thinking about my relationship with my own mom, which is so important to me. We're closer than close—but things haven't always been perfect between us.
As a teenager, it's normal to fight with your parents, and my mom and I fought a lot. We didn’t like each other for a long time—and let me be really clear here. We loved each other, but we didn’t always like each other. It's only been in recent years that I’ve gotten out of that tough teenager phase and really formed an amazing bond with her.
A lot of that is thanks to all the traveling we do together, whether it's to Los Angeles for work or somewhere amazing abroad. My mom makes it a point to do something fun no matter where we are. Recently, we visited a bunch of castles in Scotland (which I talk a bit about in my October book post!), and we even kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland. While we were in Australia, we swam the Great Barrier Reef and climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I wouldn't have such amazing memories from around the world if it wasn't for her.
And I certainly wouldn't be where I am today if not for her. When we left Dance Moms, I immersed myself in the entertainment industry, going on auditions and touring and everything of the sort. I know that if I didn't have her by my side then—and now—I would’ve struggled so much simply because of how toxic and tough the industry can be.
Christi (that's my mom, btw!) has always taught me to choose myself first, too. In my Teen Choice Awards speech for Choice Dancer in 2015, I remember sharing one of her lessons: “Ignore it, do it anyway and prove them wrong.” Because of her, I know how important is it to follow my dreams and go after what I want, no matter what anyone says.
It appears that Sawyer and I have a *lot* in common.
Debutante season is *full* of parties. It's practically built around fun formal get-togethers. But there are some more casual events in Little White Lies. Take, for example, the Foods, Coats, Comfort and Company day, where Sawyer and her crew—Lily, Sadie-Grace, Walker and Campbell—donate canned foods, winter coats, comfort items and their time to the less fortunate. With the holiday season upon us, there's no better time than now to throw your own FCCC party. Gather all your best buds on a Saturday afternoon and pack the itinerary full of volunteer work.
Start by donating items: gather up everyone's extra winter wear and donate it to a shelter. Then, collect canned foods and give 'em to a food bank.
If you can spare it, donate your money: Purchase an extra toy the next time you're holiday shopping and find a Toy Drive near you to gift it to. If you'd rather make a direct monetary donation, find a charity that speaks to you and give as much or as little as you can (yes, plopping pennies in Santa's Salvation Army bucket outside of the grocery store counts!).
Next up: donate your time. Spend a few hours cleaning up nearby parks, reading to members of your local retirement community or playing with the animals at a shelter around you.
No matter what you do, take a sec to recognize just how lucky you are that you're in a position to help others and to live the life you live. Then, finish your philanthropic day off with a hot cocoa. Sweet? You bet!
1. On page 6, Sawyer notes some of her weird childhood obsessions, like car engines, telenovelas, true crime and medieval weapons. What weird things were you obsessed with when you were younger? Do you still love them? If so, why? If not, why not?
2. On page 8, we're introduced to one of Sawyer's signature lines: "I was a big believer in absolute honesty: say what you mean, mean what you say and don't ask a question if you don't want to know the answer." Do you agree with this statement? What does this way of thinking say about Sawyer as a person, and how does it come into play throughout the novel?
3. On page 161, Sawyer takes Lily, Sadie-Grace and Boone to her hometown to show them her favorite spots, like Late Nite Donuts, the Methodist graveyard and the secondhand shop. What are your favorite hometown spots? Why are they important to you and what makes them so special?
4. On page 203, Sawyer's Aunt Olivia notes that she has her mom's cheekbones. What attributes—physical and otherwise—have you inherited from your mom? What do those attributes mean to you?
5. On page 211, Sawyer muses: "The Sawyer Taft I'd been four months ago wouldn't have left Nick's fate in the hands of the girl who'd gotten him arrested." Since she moved in with Lilian, Sawyer can clearly see that she's grown into a new person. Think back: Over the past few months (or years), how have you grown mentally and emotionally? Do you think that this type of growth is important?
6. On page 239, Sawyer reminisces on her memories with her mom. What's *your* favorite memory with your mom? If you mom is not present in your life, what impact has that had on your life? What impact did that have on you reading experience?
7. Overall, one of the main themes of Little White Lies is the power—both good and bad—of family. What does family mean to you? Who are you the closest with in your family? Who would you like to be closer with? Why?
8. Throughout the book, the author provides brief glimpses into a specific date: April 15. It turns out that this is the date of the Symphony Ball and the girls—Sawyer, Lily, Sadie-Grace and Campbell—have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Did you enjoy this back and forth writing style? During these flash forwards, what did you think the girls did to land themselves in hot water? Were you surprised when you found out the real reason they were at the police station? Explain.
One winner will score a prize pack fit for a darling debutante and inspired by Little White Lies—including a copy of the book, a gift card to Barnes & Noble and a $50 gift card to T.J.Maxx to snag *all* the amaze deb essentials.
Ready to enter—and, fingers crossed, win? Here's how: CLICK HERE to enter!
So you've read the book and you're ready to talk all things Little White Lies? Wondering *exactly* how Chloe’s Book Club works and what it means to be a member? There are so many ways you can get involved—whether it’s solo, on social media or with your whole squad. Here's a quick list…
+ SOLO. Take your personal reading game to the next level by using Chloe's discussion questions as a guide for your own journaling and personal reflection. If you love to read, it could be fun to start a special book diary where you keep track of all your favorite novels—and the personal musings they inspired.
+ ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Share your thoughts on Little White Lies using the hashtags #chloesbookclub on Twitter and Instagram. (Just remember: You have to have a public account for us to be able to see and respond to your posts!)
+ WITH YOUR SQUAD. Host an IRL book club party, of course! Be sure to tag us in your snaps so we can share them.
And...that's it! Click the pink button below (you must be logged in) to enter the giveaway. Good luck, book clubbers!