Little White Lies is a quick YA read perfect for both teens and parents of teens. Rachel, an insecure and impressionable eighth grader with an absentee mother, fails to fully appreciate the loving, supportive family that surrounds her. Feelings of abandonment and discontentment lead her to become a compulsive liar. The little white lies she tells may seem like a mild case of acting out, but things take a turn for the worse when she meets a new “friend” in an Internet chat room.
Rachel’s character is believable and well-developed. She’s not the worst teen imaginable, but she’s moody and yearning for attention. And like a lot of teens, she isn’t able to clearly see how much others care about her. When she begins chatting with the online stranger (who claims to be a high school student) another layer of teen naïveté is explored. I really like how the plotline with the online “boyfriend” was executed, and I appreciate that Esch never took things over the top. All of Rachel’s thoughts and actions were realistic, as was her relationship with best friend Steph.
This is a quick, clean read that touches on issues many teens experience, including feelings of abandonment, loneliness, low self-esteem and creepy Internet encounters. I look forward to reading all of the books in this series.