Cover Image: Girls Who Lie Together

Girls Who Lie Together

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Member Reviews

Girls Who Lie Together is fun, flirty and has a protagonist that will leave you in stitches.

Easy to read, with a classic storyline with an added feel-good worked in.

A good read.
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Thank you Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op and NetGalley for the ARC of this novel. The description of this as Grease meets Mean Girls definitely drew me in. 

Ren was intriguing as a main character but I had a really hard time with Brit. She really was a mean girl and pretty terrible to a lot of people and you never get a good explanation as to why. You do not meet her stepfather, the mother when shown looks to be supportive and Brit just comes across as a terrible person. Brit's choices once we get into the Grease portion of meeting your summer fling at school to maintain her reputation became unconscionable I am happy that Ren got what she wanted but oh my goodness is Brit a bad person! Sterling and Gray were fun side characters but I have to drop my enjoyment on what was done to Ren and that she allowed it to happen. 3 stars.
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This brought me out of my reading slump. Such a great read! I really loved the plot and I couldn't put this book down cause I just wanted to know what would happen next.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC, such an honor reading this book
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This book had so much promise- it really did!  Enemies-to-lovers, pretentious private school, Mean Girls and Grease vibes... how bad could this story be?  Unfortunately, it was bad.

To start with what I liked about the book: The first half of the book takes place on a farmhouse in New Orleans where our main character Renata Carpenter is sent to spend her summer as punishment for hijacking her stepdad's car and injuring her best friend.  Here, she is put in a work program helping hurricane victims rebuild alongside her host family and their beautiful, pageant-worthy, yet judgmental and severely closeted niece - Brit.  The book's second half switches to the beginning of that upcoming school year when Renata's family moves towns - and schools -  leaving everything familiar to Ren behind.  To make matters worse, her parents have enrolled her in a preppy private school, where none other than Brit is head "mis popular" alongside her stereotypical jock boyfriend.  Again, the book's premise appears to have great potential, but that's where it fell flat.  

To begin, the book relies on character stereotypes.  Heavily.  Sometimes this isn't a problem, while other times, it can be overkill.  Brit is supposed to be your classic "closeted pageant queen fem lesbian with the homophobic boyfriend", and Renata is meant to be the "edgy and rebellious open lesbian that falls for the 'straight girl' and ultimately is the reason said girl realizes she's gay".  Which leads to their relationship... or lack thereof.  This is a prime example of insta-love because as soon as Ren comes in contact with Brit she's already falling for her perfection... and ultimately staring at her body every chance she gets.  This then takes me to the next issue I had with this book: the strange and completely unnecessary sexualization.  

Ren is constantly thinking about Brit's body and looking at her no matter what she's wearing - and associating whatever Brit wears with the thought "she's wearing it for me".  Secondly- Ren's (guy) best friend consistently talks about Ren finding him "hot girls" and talking about them solely in - again - a sexual manner.  For being the main character’s closest friend, I was expecting him to have more of a solid character with a personality (besides wanting girls), but alas, that is the most we got out of him. 

But possibly my biggest problem with this book was the uncalled-for "bitch" calling.  Every time Brit did something Ren didn't like, she'd call her a bitch.  Multiple times.  I understand that Ren was upset that Brit's actions towards her appeared bipolar, but keep in mind Brit was dealing with internalized homophobia and cared about her self-imagine tremendously, which explained her doings.  For a book that was supposed to be about love and acceptance, this strange misogynistic behavior - especially from a queer woman, felt off. 

This aside, the writing style alone made the story feel choppy and incomplete.  To begin, there was an overuse of the same verbs and adjectives.  There can only be so many times that one character can “wink” and “giggle” before you start rolling your eyes.  Come to the ending of the book, it felt abrupt and unfinished in a way.  There was a large buildup that ultimately fell through and ended on an abrupt and unsatisfying note from both Ren and Brit’s situations.  

This book had the beginnings to become something worth reading, but the writing itself had too many errors that prevented me from fully enjoying it.  I have hoped that this author could move towards a better direction in their writing as time goes on, but as for this book alone, it was a disappointment.
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GIRLS WHO LIE TOGETHER follows Renata Carpenter as she falls in love with Britta Hughes. When Ren totals her stepdad’s car, her mother sends her away for the summer as punishment. While there, she stays with a family and their niece, Brit. It’s hate at first sight for the two of them, but they slowly finding themselves falling for one another, through sneaking kisses when the adults’ back where turned. But then Brit has to return home and they say goodbye to each other, expecting to never see each other again. However, Ren’s mother surprises her with the fact that they’re moving across the state, and that Ren is going to have to start her senior year at a new school. While there, she discovers that Brit goes there, and they rekindle the relationship they had during the summer.

I’m conflicted. My thoughts and feeling towards this book are mostly in one jumbled big mess, and I’m not quite sure how to articulate my thoughts correctly.

Let’s start with Ren. In my honest opinion, I’ve never really gotten the hatred the ‘not like other girls’ girls get, but I get it now. This was Ren, in a nutshell. She was not like other girls. Ren was a character grabbed out of any early 2010s YA book and plonked down into a 2022 YA Queer romance. What with her shaved head, which was mentioned numerous times, and her insistence on judging anything pink and sparkly, she felt like an incomplete gothic girl from the 2000s. She judged Brit as soon as she entered the room, and mentioned her boobs far too many times in the span of about three chapters. This made me mildly uncomfortable, because there was no need for it—and it definitely pulled me out of the story. I get Ren is a teenage girl, and a queer one at that, but she judged Brit for wearing a push up bra and constantly thought about how big her boobs were. It was fairly odd. She was superficial, not to mention annoyingly melodramatic when she got separated from the girl she’d only known for about three weeks. Maybe my ability to read high school romances as an eighteen year old university student is failing me, but wallowing in your sadness for almost six weeks after saying goodbye to someone you barely even knew is a tad bit stupid, and not at all something I could see any teenager my age doing—queer or not. When she goes to the new school, her attitude improves somewhat but not that much. She’s still fairly judgemental, and this doesn’t help with Sterling by her side. However, Ren wasn’t all bad. She stood up for herself and definitely didn’t change herself to meet other’s expectations or allow the likes of Carter to force her into being someone she’s not. She was sure of herself and I liked that about her, along with the banter she shared with her best friends and Brit.

Brit was somewhat annoying, more so after the mid point, but still annoying. She hated Ren immediately for absolutely no reason, which is textbook lazy writing when it comes to an enemies to lovers plot line. There was nothing between them that made them hating one another understandable. Their relationship developed fairly quickly and Brit became less annoying as the story progressed. But then as soon as we hit the middle and senior year begins, she becomes insufferable. Britta Hughes is their high school’s ‘Queen B’, and she’s even called that too. Her boyfriend is the typical homophobic jock who’s only really her boyfriend for show. It was painfully cliché and something I would expect to read in a 2015 Wattpad novel—and I mean that with the upmost respect towards those books and disrespect towards this one, as that era has passed. It was too much. Most YA books these days have some form of clique like this, but this just took it and ran with it, piling so much unnecessary shit on top of one another that I was wondering how this book was even published in the year 2022. The ‘Queen B’ rules the school and anyone who dares to go against her or her boyfriend are branded outcasts. The conversations between the characters felt juvenile and not at all how teenagers talk these days—and I should know. I am one. Brit was superficial, and had no backbone whatsoever. I understand not wanting to come out—she shouldn’t have to—but standing by while your boyfriend pours paint all over your kind-of-girlfriend and not saying a thing felt a bit off to me. Also, at the end, the whole thing with Homecoming was also strange, because why does she care that much about a crown? Is this just my British-ness coming out, and the fact that I didn’t get a prom in 2020 influencing my thoughts? Possibly. But once again, it felt very melodramatic and kind of like the author doesn’t understand how eighteen year olds think or act, or what our motivations are. Brit hated pageants and that sort of thing, so why does the crown matter to her so much? 
I feel like the more reviews I do for Netgalley, the more critical my reading becomes. So maybe I’m just nitpicking, but this book felt very old for it not even being out yet.

There were a few instances that made me uncomfortable that I feel like come from the author, rather than the characters. I believe the author is white (please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll delete this, but from all of the photos I’ve seen, she looks white), and it was mentioned once that Ren was a ‘brown skinned, shaved-head, car-jacking liberal lesbian’. Now, I don’t believe that sentence in of itself is problematic. I just feel like including more than halfway through the book that Ren is a woman of colour and never mentioning it again feels disingenuous to the story. It felt like a half-arsed attempt at adding in diversity, on top of her best friend being Asian. 

Once again, I might just be nitpicking. This book was a fairly fun one, with decent scenes and stakes that kept me reading. But I feel like there were too many issues with the character’s personalities and because of that, I just didn’t feel as interested as I wanted to be. 

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with the arc of this book prior to release.
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Ren, after stealing her stepfather's care, gets sent away to a work house for the summer. 

Loved the cover, the summary was interesting, but the actual story and plot fell flat.
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This book was a nice summery, easy lgbt read and it had a lot of potential. I think it’s a book that’s better if you look at it just at face value and don’t expect too much. 

I liked the start of it more - when britt and ren are out in the country and we are learning about them as characters and developing their relationship, more than when they go back to school. 

Having said that, the relationship between ren and britt didn’t feel real enough to me. Britt says repeatedly to ren she doesn’t like girls yet ren seems to acknowledge and ignore that in the same breath, still lusting after britt and convincing herself britt does like her back after all.  Then they went from absolute loathing each other to the sparks when they touch and kissing, then back to loathing each other in a matter of pages, and I just couldn’t get my head around it?

I appreciate the TWs of the homophobic slurs as this was not comfortable to read - I appreciate its high school so there will be some people and instances where these words are used.

I didn’t find either of the characters particularly well developed and they did just feel like big stereotypes - ren was consistently a dick the whole way through, acknowledges this and yet still does it. Britt - the typical blonde mean girl. They seemed to change each other and bring out the best in each other at times which was nice but I’d have liked to have seen them develop as characters on their own too, not relying on someone else. 

Overall if you want an easy to read lgbt book, this will tick that box. The easy story and writing style meant I flew threw the book in no time and I did enjoy it, I just feel like I was left wanting a bit more.
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this book was really good! Overall i liked the characters and the storyline. I also really like the cover i think its so pretty and really cute for the summer
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You Should See Me in a Crown meets Some Girls Do in this interesting story. Ren is sent off to a friend of her step-dad's as punishment for totaling a car. There, she meets Britta, and it's a case of opposites attract. Ren becomes borderline obsessed with Britt in the way teenagers do.

The writing gets repetitive and relies heavily on stereotypes, especially when it comes to Britt and the town she lives in. I do absolutely respect the way Ren handles Britt's secret. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read an arc of "Girls Who Lie Together" by Jessa Russo, scheduled to release on August 2nd, 2022.

Overall, I rated this book 4/5 stars.

This book focused on our main character Ren, who gets into some trouble with her stepfather for taking his car on a joyride with her best friend Grayson, totaling it and landing him in the hospital with a broken leg. Her mother ends up sending her to go help rebuild a home in New Orleans for the summer. There, she meets Brit and falls head over heels for her, despite her not being her typical type.

I really enjoyed the outline of the novel, however, I did not like that Ren was written as such a pushover who gave in so easily. The character of Brit was written as a typical high school teenager, though.
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Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an ARC copy. 
Girls Who Lie Together is separated into two distinct halves.  the first focusing on the protagonist, Renata/Ren attending a work program after she hijacks and damages her stepdad’s car. The second focusing on Ren attending a new school in a small Texan town. The plot was easy to follow, maybe a bit cliche at times but overall decent for a light young adult read.
The book had a strong supporting cast however some of the questionable actions of the lead characters left me with mixed feelings towards them. Ren and Brit's romance was cute, and the banter between the two was interesting. 
Ren’s narration was enjoyable for most of the book, however, some of the use of slang felt a bit awkward and at times pulled my attention away from the book. Her constant comparisons of Brit to Barbie also felt a bit overdone.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, suited to a young adult audience or anyone who likes teen romance movies and books.
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Easy summers lead to hard falls…
When seventeen-year-old Renata Carpenter hijacked her stepdad’s classic car, she hadn’t planned on totaling it and landing her best friend in a cast from hip to heel. She definitely hadn’t planned on being sent to a work program in New Orleans as punishment. And she certainly hadn’t planned on falling in love. But Ren’s summer of forced manual labor has a bright side: her name is Brit, and she’s everything Ren never knew she needed.
First love becomes first heartbreak when their summer romance comes to a crashing close earlier than anticipated. Adding insult to injury, Ren’s break-up with Brit is followed by a big move to a small town.
As if starting senior year completely alone isn’t bad enough, Ren soon discovers that the Hell on Heels mean girl who rules Sun Ridge Prep with an iron fist and a vicious tongue is none other than her first love. Too bad this Brit is far from lovable.
But Ren knows the girl beneath the façade, and she refuses to give up on rekindling their relationship. Secretly, the girls pick up where they left off, falling deeper in love and risking it all to be together. But when their affair is exposed by Brit’s boyfriend, Ren and Brit are faced with the ultimate choice: love or acceptance.
Because they certainly can’t have both.

“Girls Who Lie Together” by Jessa Russo is a gorgeous coming of age story, a perfect book for summer. The cover of this book caught my eye and prompted me to request it, but the premise was also very promising and the book delivered. It’s an ideal YA novel, dealing with issues of friendship and self acceptance. I found it interesting reading from the perspective of teenagers (it’s been a while since I was one!). A thoroughly heart warming  and enjoyable story. 

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc in exchange for an unbiased review.
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10/10 would recommend this book to anyone; it's a striking tale of acceptance, friendship, love and family - overcoming obstacles to make sure your happiness is front and centre. The characters are funny and well-written, and the storyline is gorgeous.
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So, I really liked the idea of this story but I think it could have been done in a much more concise way. It feels as though it was much too jam-packed with things when it really just needed to be a bit more simple. Overall, I did really enjoy the two main characters and the first half of the book.
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This was a cute YA queer novel, that I enjoyed throughout. Because of the summary, I obviously knew a little bit of what was going to happen, but I was still looking forward to the reunion (and subsequent mess). Brit's boyfriend did play less of a role than I thought he was going to, based on the summary. It was much more a fight of inner homophobia for Brit than dealing with any kind of backlash from being outted. 

The teenagers talked like teenagers, so I can't fault the writing at all. Even their relationship had an immaturity about it that was at times annoying, but very true to form.  

Overall, it was a fun read filled with some good ole fashion teenage angst. I'd recommend it.
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Ahh I wanted to love this book, mostly because of how cute the cover is! 😅

This book describes itself as ‘Grease meets Mean Girls’ and it definitely delivers!

We follow Ren as she gets sent to L’Andreaux Home For Wayward Girls after totalling her stepdad’s classic car. The home is a summer camp of physical labour, restoring and rebuilding homes after the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Here is where she meets Brit, a beautiful pageant Queen who is definitely out of Ren’s league. We follow them as they strike up a friendship and then something more before being torn apart by an unexpected event. Both girls are heartbroken and think they will never cross paths again, until later in the book when they reunite and bring with them waves of drama. 

For the first half of this book I was hooked, the second half not so much. I love how Jenna Russo wrote about exploring sexual identities and how confusing it can be. I wanted to jump into the book and give the characters a hug! 

A major theme throughout the second half of the book is cheating. For me, it’s definitely not my favourite trope and I felt like it was very much brushed over and dismissed when actually it played quite a big part in the plot. I do however love the character development that came from it, I just think the trope could’ve been delt with better. 

If you’re looking for an easy, summery read with lots of drama then this books for you!
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I absolutely adored this book about young love and self-discovery. The two main characters, Ren and Brit, show two sides (of multiple) of what the queer experience can be like for teenagers. I loved that Ren’s storyline wasn’t about coming out or hiding who she is because showing young people that it’s okay to be unabashedly you is so essential. Brit, on the other hand, is a character who truly doesn’t think she has the option to be who she is and love who she loves. 

I forgot until about halfway through the book that this novel is described as “Grease meets Mean Girls” and once I remembered the Grease connection, I loved the book even more because it was so well done. The allusion to Grease wasn’t too obvious or cheesy. It was subtle in a way that excited me but still made me feel like I was reading a separate story. 

I teach many young, queer students and while I have some who want to read coming out stories, I have others who want to read about characters where coming out is not a part of their main storyline. I think that both of these being present will really speak to a lot of my students and I am excited to add this book to my recommendation list!
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This one had a lot going for it, but it missed the mark overall for me. I didn’t really buy the “love” between Brit and Ren. It read more like lust and attraction to me. Ren went on and on about how hot Brit was and it just felt very superficial to me. Also, Brit was honestly nothing special. She was very bland and helpless to me and so once again Ren’s obsession of her confused me. The overall plot of mashing up Grease and Mean Girls was a really interesting concept, but it felt like the author could have really packed more of a punch with certain parts like Ren getting revenge on Brit. Ren herself wasn’t my favorite either. I didn’t really connect with her or necessarily root for her. Also some of the dialogue felt really awkward to me. And I did feel like it dragged in several parts, especially at the camp at the beginning. Overall, this one just wasn’t for me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Victory Editing for an advanced digital reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is described as a Grease meets Mean Girls contemporary romance book about 2 teenage girls. When seventeen-year-old Renata Carpenter hijacked her stepdad’s classic car, she hadn’t planned on totaling it and landing her best friend in a cast from hip to heel. She definitely hadn’t planned on being sent to a work program in New Orleans as punishment. And she certainly hadn’t planned on falling in love. But Ren’s summer of forced manual labor has a bright side: her name is Brit, and she’s everything Ren never knew she needed.

I've had so much fun reading this book. Growing up as a semi-closeted lesbian girl, I wish I would've had more books like this available to read. This book would definitely be right up my alley, in fact: it still is! Mean Girls and Grease being two of my favorite movies ever, I started reading this book with high expectations. After all, those are big shoes to fill. I was not disappointed at the least. The book has small hints to both movies, having this romantic girl meets girl setting and Brit who gives this big Regina George vibe.

All in all, this is a very sweet coming of age story. It's about wanting to be yourself, find yourself and receiving acceptance for who you are and how difficult that can be as a teenager. Jessa Russo makes it very easy to follow along and be part of the story. She writes in a sensitive way, making the character very realistic. If you're looking for a fun, light read, and you're into contemporary romance, this is definitely the book for you!
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Perfection, this is the kind of book you cannot put down and that stays with you. The story was captivating and the characters well built. Highly recommend!
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