Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Little Black Lies by Tish Cohen

Tags: YA, moving, lying, OCD

Rating: 3 out of 5


Sara Black is the new girl at the nation’s most intensely academic public high school, where her father is the new janitor. With super competitive classmates who won’t give her the time of day, a mother in France with her new lover, and a father in OCD, it’s little surprise that Sara begins telling lies to maintain her sanity and reputation.

As she falls in deeper with a group of the school’s most intimidating girls, however, Sara’s lies grow and grow until she has trouble keeping them straight. She’s running the risk of breaking her father’s heart and having her reputation permanently ruined as one of the most popular girls in the school decides to look into Sara’s stories…


LITTLE BLACK LIES is a high school drama-filled novel, similar to Gossip Girl except without the same high level of sexual escapades, and set in the most unusual of locations: a nerdy public school. Don’t let the academia fool you, though: the girls are still as bitchy, the drama still as intense.

The characters in LITTLE BLACK LIES, while not immediately endearing, still grow on you after about halfway through the book. We can feel for Sara as she navigates life without her mother, in a new school full of classmates who would do nearly anything to beat their friends. The stresses of her new life make Sara’s lies and actions justifiable, though not necessarily admirable. I particularly admired Cohen’s treatment of OCD in this novel, as a disorder that breaks hearts, strains relationships, and pushes teens to lie for the sake of preserving their social status.

I mentioned earlier that I thought it was a watered-down version of Gossip Girl. There are definitely still bitchy girls who manipulate, blackmail, and hurt one another. While the antics of the Anton High “in” crowd of are amateurs compared to other mean girls in media, they’re still believable enough, and you will still feel for Carling, the head mean girl with the bad family life, despite her manipulations. Cohen generally succeeds at balancing readers’ hatred of and caring for these characters.

LITTLE BLACK LIES will appeal to a wide range of teenagers who can identify with Sara’s difficulty in balancing her family life and school life. It’s a good story, and even if it took a while to get to its feet, my nervousness for what will happen to Sara in her huge, tentative house of lies kept me reading into the night.

Similar Authors
Cecily von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl)
Sarah Dessen

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - It's alright. The bottom third panel is the most relevant to the story, but overall the composition--the streaks of hot pink, the half-there photos--would make me pick this book up out of interest.

EgmontUSA / Oct. 13, 2009 / Hardcover / $16.99

Thanks, Stephanie at EgmontUSA, for sending me an ARC for review!


  1. I want to read this cute book. Sara seems like a fun character.

  2. Great review. Can`t wait to read this. it looks great.

  3. Good review. I'm looking forward to reading this.

  4. Great review. It's one book I would be interested in reading, too. I know the cover caught my eye!

  5. Ah, not into the GG books, so even a watered down version is probably not for me. Great review though :)

  6. I've never read the GG books, though I enjoy the show from time to time.. I might have to read this if the opportunity arises!

    Thanks for the review!

  7. This books sounds like a good read, and I'm really drawn to the cover!
    I don't like the GG books, but it sounds like this book will be easier to read without all the sex like GG!

  8. great review. Sounds pretty good.

  9. Although I'm not sure I'd be able to relate to this book much any more I have a feeling my students would find it more interesting.

  10. Good review! Sounds like a good read. I think the cover is interesting

  11. I keep going back and forth about this book. I've heard buth good and eh, okay things about it. I'm sure I'll read it down the road. Thanks for your review!


  12. Awesome review - the nerdy public school sounds so much like my high school was. Although without all the gossip girl sexual escapades, I guess maybe it wasn't, and my high school was also overrun by sex obsessed gay men.

  13. I want this so bad, it looks amazing times ten bazillion. the plot, the cover, the everything, i want!

  14. Sometimes I find these books frustrating because such a large part of me wants to slap those bitchy girls. :)

  15. It sounds like a great read plus Tish is a Canadian author.

  16. I don't think I would enjoy this. It sounds like to much drama.

  17. Another great review! :)

    I've heard some talk about this book but wasn't really sure what it was about. Thanks for clearing that up. I think I'll read this one, it looks like my kind of book!

    But ugh, a dad as a janitor? And a mother in France?
    What a strange life. :P

  18. Interesting read. I don't like gossip girl.

  19. Great review. I thought it was interesting that you called it a watered-down Gossip Girl. I'm not too sure whether I'd read this book but it'll keep it in mind. It got me thinking about "Camp Rock" the movie, how Demi Lovato's character has to lie to the other characters as well. Anyways, great review. :)


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