Cover Image: Girls Who Lie Together

Girls Who Lie Together

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Victor Editing for giving me the opportunity to read this book early in return for an honest review!

Girls Who Lie Together by Jessa Russo is a YA Contemporary Romance following the story of Ren and Brit. They first meet in the “Home for Wayward Girls” in Summer, promptly fall in love and later meet again in school, just for things not to work out how Ren had imagined them.

I can’t put it differently than to say that I didn’t like this book. The only promised thing it fulfills is its “Mean Girls” idea, which works. I also enjoyed the first half of the book which plays on the farm and Brit’s and Ren’s first bonding. The first time they went from “I hate you” to “I like you” seemed natural because all they had was a purely physical summer fling.
Everything else is a burning mess.

Not only did I, personally, not see any chemistry between Ren and Brit, but their constant on-off thing makes it impossible for a reader to get attached to their relationship. Why should I be rooting for them to get together when they’re horrible and mean to each other every 50 pages, have no communication and every single time they have a positive scene together all we are shown in their sex lives.
Neither character gets the chance to grow by themselves OR in relation to anyone else.
Even Ren – who is the FIRST PERSON PROTAGONIST – seems flat throughout most of the book.
Not even ten pages after she announced how deeply in love she is, one thing throws her off course and she decides to ruin Brit’s life again? And this doesn’t happen just ONCE.

The portrayal of Ren as the classic “mean lesbian” also didn’t sit right with me, if I’m honest. Even more, there were scenes written kind of predatory… In the first part of the book, Brit clearly states that she is not gay but that doesn’t stop Ren from constantly telling the reader what she would like to do to Brit and how her body looks. Much of the romantic attraction in this book is broken down to “oh, she’s so sexy”, which is a good way to establish first attraction, but I wanted non-physical attraction to follow. It just never did.

Finally, the use of blatant homophobia, as well as slurs without any good reason, was something that made me distance myself while reading even more. Why was the horrible homophobia by everyone in school just tolerated by Ren, even repeated to her new friend as a joke? Not once did she seem uncomfortable being called the d-slur in front of everyone.

I wanted to find another great lesbian summer book to recommend, instead, I got a slightly uncomfortable book that doesn’t dive into any of the topics it opens up but remains on surface-level just to add another scene of the two girls making out.
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*3.5 stars*

Girls Who Lie Together” by Jessa Russo describes itself as ‘Grease’ meets ‘Mean Girls’ and it certainly gives off that vibe, albeit with a mix of Easy A as well. It’s an easy lesbian summer read which I thoroughly enjoyed! The story is divided into two parts: summer in New-Orleans and the school year in Texas. It tells the story of Ren and Britt; how they met, how their friendship formed, how sparks flew, how they had to say goodbye, and how they reacquainted with one another in ways and places neither of them expected.

The first part is the strongest part of the story in my opinion. It starts after Ren carjacks and crashes her step-dads car and puts her best friend Gray into a cast. She is sent to New Orleans to do some service work as punishment. There she’s staying with a family of 6 and their niece, Britta Hughes (I’ll admit, for about half the book I thought her name was Britt and her nickname was Britta). Britt starts off a hot and cold friendship with Ren, who at first can’t make out what to think of Britt. After a while sparks fly and the girls become somewhat inseparable. Summer love comes to an abrupt end when Britt has to leave sooner than expected because her mum wants to move to Florida (I still don’t understand this part because Britt was still in Texas in part 2?). A heartbroken Ren asks her mum if she can come home, only to discover that she herself is moving as well but to a different part in the State of Texas.

Enter the second part of the book. Ren starts high school in a brand new school without her best friend Gray at her side. She immediately hits it off with a girl named Sterling who ends up being the principles daughter. Sterling tells her all about the it-couple, how awful they are, and that Ren should stay clear off them. But lo and behold, ½ of Sun Ridges it couple turns out to be Britta Hughes. Both girls are equally shocked to see one another again after multiple weeks and no contact. A turmoil of feelings, events, and drama unfurls after their reacquaintance. What happens next I leave for you to find out when you read this book!

Something I disliked about this book is the cheating trope and how easily it was dismissed. The author sort of gave an insight in both girl’s thoughts regarding it, but I myself just don’t like this trope at all. I do admit that I love Britta’s character development and her personal growth and that her love for Ren / Ren’s love for her played a huge part in it. All in all, it was a cute romance.

Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria Edding NetGalley Co-op and the author for an ARC in exchange for a review.

PS. I’m glad to see they’ve changed the cover! I really like the new one better than the original one.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Jessa Russo for giving me advanced access for an honest review in return. This is my first ever ARC review, and I am so grateful that I was able to do one for this book. 

Girls Who Lie Together is a twist of Mean Girls and Grease. It follows two senior girls who meet while away for the summer as they work on building houses for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. It goes through many different ups and downs as these girls try to fit their lives together as they fall in love. This novel does an amazing job of portraying someone's first same-sex love and the process behind it. As someone who fell in love with their best friend around the same age, the same thoughts ran through my head. The story leans on family relationships, friendships that never end and true love. It shows that you can do and be anything when you have family and friends by your side. 

Jessa Russo does an amazing job at adding another sweet and wholesome story to the list of LGBTQ+ books that exist. The two girls have unmatched banter from the very beginning that roped me in right away. I could tell they had chemistry from the moment they laid eyes on each other. It falls into the themes of forbidden love- as they must sneak around, keep secrets and face the opinions of others about their 'taboo love'. There are many scenes of characters exploring their sexuality, and it is written perfectly. With a little bit of spice without going past the Teen/YA rating, Russo describes the novel as being part Mean Girls and part Grease, which perfectly describes this book. The feeling of believing you have all summer together when it gets cut short way too soon. If you've seen Grease you can guess what comes next, if you haven't... you'll have to read to find out. (Either way, it is absolutely worth it to pick up this book). 

Overall, this book will look amazing on my shelf after its release date in August. I had some tears and a lot of smiles and heartwarming feelings while reading this novel. I never expected to fly through it so quickly after seeing the page count. However, I picked this book up earlier today and finished it only a couple of hours later. I am looking forward to reading more by this author. I truly enjoy her writing style and was never bored while reading. This book is a must-read for those who love a wholesome YA romance, especially one with LGBTQ+ characters.
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I'd give girls who lie together 6 out of 5 stars for having a playlist and 7 out of 5 stars for having a Halsey song on said playlist. The fainting goat jokes in this book were so funny. 
I'll be serious now - I loved this book a lot. It takes half the book to get to the part where they're finally in school together, but I wasn't bored by the buildup. However things move a lot faster in the second half. I loved Ren's friend Gray and later on Sterling, and Brit's friend Luna.  I also love the parents in this book and how majority of it showed how supportive they were. 
TW for homophobia, bullying
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Thanks to Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This book tells the story of Renata and Brit. It's divided in two parts, as written in the book description - that's very accurate and gives away the plot a bit. 

While reading it, I felt the first part could've been either shorter, because there were some short chapters that didn't need to be there, or it could've been longer - and not in number of pages, but with more depth. I know it's supposed to be a Grease like summer loving romance in the first part, but I didn't buy the whole love part, it seemed to me as it was mostly carnal. They really didn't know each other all that much past their attraction, we knew a little more of Ren and caught glimpses of Brit's life but that's about it. 

When it came to the second part, the Mean Girls part, I get the comparision to the movie, it's spot on. Brit was so awful to Ren. But I feel like she could've been a mean girl and not do what she did to Ren - because contrary to the movie, in this book Brit had a romantic relationship with Ren previous to Ren arriving at their school! I know Britta was struggling with the two parts of herself, how to deal with expectations vs what she really wants, but she was awful. I'm glad Ren had Sterling and Gray by her side (also, the chapter where Gray visits the first time is only that: 1 chapter! I wanted more!) But that aside, even in the second part I didn't buy their whole being in love thing. And I felt like Ren forgave Brit much too quickly, but I guess that's what being in love entails - and if she forgave her, I guess I should too.

It was an easy book to read. The ending was predictable, but that was expected and not a negative thing. In fact I really like the homecoming scene.
Bonus points for supportive adults throghout the whole book!

I don't know whats's happening but I'm not able to post this review directly to Goodreads so I'm gonna link it here.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book was a nice, pretty quick read. I liked the characters but wish there had been more of a get to know you with them first
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Thank you net galley for providing me with a free arc of Girls who lie together in exchange for a honest review

I was so excited for this but after chapter two the story went downhill. The insta attraction and meetment with new characters before the reader even had a chance to get to know the main character as well as the excessive use of clichés and stereotypes ( I mean.... blond,skinny,mean girl, who hates the MC the minute she sees her? Really now?) I also found the Extreme use of slang to be annoying.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book! “Girls Who Lie Together” by Jessa Russo describes itself as ‘Grease’ meets ‘Mean Girls’, and it definitely has that vibe, just much more gay. But it’s very much it’s own story too. Our story is in two parts, which I personally enjoyed as it enhanced the time divide and what I would say is a more personal divide between Brit and the her she is at home. Ren and Brit’s story had me hopeful and heartbroken every other minute. I love seeing more lgbtqia+ representation in books, especially in a protagonist! 

We start with Ren Carpenter, who took her stepfather’s classic car for a spin and ended up wrecking it (as well as putting her best friend in a large leg cast). She’s spending the summer in New Orleans as punishment with a friend of her stepdad’s, Dev, helping him build houses. Of course, what she doesn’t expect is to meet and fall head over heels for his blonde princess-y niece, Brit. These two start off disliking each other before jumping to friends, and then more than. But as quickly as their romance begins, Brit leaves early, and their summer together is cut short. 

But when Ren heads home, she finds out she’s being moved to a tiny Texas town for her senior year. And of course, the first day, she finds out that the school’s queen bee is none other than her Brit, or better known as Britta. From there, they start a tumultuous secret rekindling of their more than friendship, all the while avoiding Brit’s homophobic jock boyfriend, Carter. 

Things get complicated, hearts are broken again, but by the end, our girls are together, out and proud. 

If you’re a fan of either aforementioned teen movie, or even just teen romance, this is definitely up your alley.
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Hot and Then Cold, Yes But Then . . .

This novel definitely felt more Easy A than Mean Girls but I can see some of the Grease comparisons, just don’t expect a musical. The first half of the novel is where the MC’s fall in love and the 2nd half is about whether their love can be enough. Britta is the quintessential pageant loving, prom queen, cheer captain untouchable “it” girl; While Renata is the speaks before thinking does as she wants gives no F’s rebel. Two opposites who find themselves stuck together for the summer and have an unmistakable chemistry. The real problem comes when they are unexpectedly reunited and they have to decide if their love is enough or will their relationship just be a dirty little secret?

Overall, I enjoyed reading from Ren’s perspective as she battles her insecurities and falling in love with her total opposite Brit. The growth of both MC’s is big as they both deal with becoming better and who they really are not just who people expect them to be. One issue with the book was the interactions with adults/parents always felt emotionally stunted or too short, and could have been flushed out a bit more, especially when the Ren needed advice or was talking to them about big issues. Another thing was the second half of the book felt a little drawn out, since the ending was so quick but HEA-ish, after everything got really dramatic towards the end. All that said, the novel was a good read and I’d read more by this author in the future.
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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 

A lovely teenage drama that easily kept my interest.
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This book is medium paced and the characters are likable except Brit from time to time. I love the relationship between Gray and Sterling in this book. I really hate that there are slurs in this book, but at the same time demonstrates how severe homophobia is in the story. I feel that the resolution was rushed in this book,
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I thought Girls Who Lie Together was delightful. It was the teenage drama that I live for. It read like my favourite early 2000s Teenie films only with smartphones. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to get this as a print edition.
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"𝗦𝗵𝗲'𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗴𝗶𝗿𝗹 𝗜'𝘃𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗮𝘆𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗯𝘆𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗺𝗲."

Long story short, I loved this. It was an absolutely incredible summer read, and I never wanted it to end.

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.
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I got the book for free, in exchange for my honest opinion by NetGalley.

This book was supposed to be a cross between "Grease" and "Mean Girls." I certainly didn't get any "Grease" vibes from the story, unless I'm thinking of something completely different. And the "Mean Girls" thing was running for Homecoming Queen. There were a few typos in the book and chapters repeating itself, example: There were two Chapter 13s. There is some drug use and a character keeps making homophobic slurs. All in all it wasn't a bad read, the ending was heartwarming but I'm not sure if it's something I would read again
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<i>Thank you NetGalley, Jessa Russo and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-op for this eARC.</i>

This story definitely drew me in, and I had trouble putting the book down, so that's definitely saying something. I confess, I was caught off guard when I got to the table of contents and saw over 50 chapters, which seemed like an awful lot for a high school romance, and while I'm not sure it was actually that long (ebooks always throw me off in that manner) there were times were things were it did feel long, ideas that were repeated to (seemingly) pad the word count.

I was surprised by the book essentially being divided right in half between the summer fling and the time in the school. When it was described as being essentially Grease meets Mean Girls, I thought (like Grease) the summer lovin' would be a relatively minor part of the story, maybe the 1st quarter at most. And while I think the first half of the book is the strongest half of the story, the downside to it is that I think the back half suffered for Jessa putting so much detail into the first half, which wasn't quite there for the high school half.

The two leads were interesting, and when they were good, they were really, really good. There were some adorably cute moments. And even when they bickered, particularly in the first half, they were great. That said, Ren was a super indecisive main character, and it might have helped round things out if we'd gotten POV from both Ren and Brit.

Also, as much as I wanted a HEA for the girls, I'm not entirely sure it was earned. Brit was so awful to Ren once she showed up at school, and kept trying to keep up the pretenses of being the Mean Girl Queen B, then literally begging Ren to take her back, but not publicly. She got offended at both their relationship being characterized as a dirty secret, but also at the idea that her future would involve anything beyond a white picket fence, cishet southern marriage and future. I honestly got whiplash with Brit's back and forth. With the second half of the book only lasting a couple months (I didn't go to high school in the states, but isn't Homecoming very early in the school year, like October?), I found it a stretch that the story ended the way it did. 

And of course, Brit had a lot to work through, with her upbringing and the expectations placed upon her. Comp-het is a hell of a drug, and it's complicated, and hard, and all that, but I wish we would have seen more of her working on herself. I think the school portion would have benefited from lasting to the end of the year, so we could see her growth. <spoiler>Or even if Jessa kept Brit's outing at her birthday party before Homecoming, give us the rest of the year anyway, show us how Brit's life as a newly out lesbian in her small town, at her small school, changes, how it affects Ren, how the environment changes (and/or fights back against change) when the former Queen B, who Sterling mentions half the school didn't like when she was on top, makes what seems to be such a drastic change in the social dynamic. I want the rest of that year! The highs and lows!</spoiler>

A lot of that focuses on Brit because, with her indecisiveness, there isn't a ton that Ren actually does. A lot of the time, it's more about the world and events happening to and around her, and then her thinking about them, and overthinking about them, which was a little frustrating when the two were just so good in the good moments.

I loved most of the supporting cast, though I agree with another reviewer that everyone essentially bullying Ren into going to the birthday party seemed sort of mean. I wanted to see more of Ren's friendly, likely gay classmate Trevor. The douchecanoe boyfriend was appropriately douchey. I loved the adults, particularly Dev and Lucy, they were just a wonderful presence.

Long story shorter, what I loved about this book I really, really loved, and could not put it down, but there were some serious issues that I really wished would have been addressed, and I think the way the book was structured was one of the main things preventing that from happening, which unfortunately kept this from being a favourite read.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
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Grease meets Mean Girls, only sapphic. If you, like I, have a fierce childhood love of teen romcoms and weakness for bitchy ice queens this book is for you. I really liked this book, for me it was the perfect amount soapy teen drama and angst.

When Ren wrecks her stepdad’s vintage car, her parents ship her to an old friend’s in New Orleans. No phone, no friends, just a suitcase and a summer rebuilding houses. She meets Brit, who is definitely not her type. Stuck up, blonde, a pageant Queen, Brit is basically every stereotype she hates. Except she is also so much more than that, and their summer unfolds in to a tale of young love. Then as quickly as Brit came in to her life she’s gone.

While Ren spends the rest of her summer healing a broken heart, her parents are busy ruining her life forcing her to switch schools at the start of her senior year. Alone, in a new city, in a new school. Only she isn’t alone, because Brit is here. But not her Brit, here she’s Britta. Queen B of the school, winner of homecomings, girlfriend of the football captain, and destroyer of dreams. For Ren this can go two ways, “Badly, or so badly she’ll never recover.”
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A wonderful book by a debut author. I got caught up in the character’s orbit and could not put it down. A great LGBTQI summer read!
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Did not finish at 20%. I just really didn't enjoy the writing style -- I don't think there's anything wrong with it objectively, it's just not my subjective taste. I love the concept, though!
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A mix of summer loving from Grease and channeling Regina George from Mean Girls.  The book is almost equally split.  Renata Carpenter is sent by her parents to a family friend to do service work in New Orleans.  It is punishment for crashing step-dads car after taking it for a joy ride.  The family is also hosting a niece, Britta Hughes who comes every summer.  The two have a bumpy beginning but friendship and sparks start.  Brit becomes Ren’s first love and first everything.  

Ren’s parents move during the summer and she finds herself starting senior year at a new high school.  Much to her surprise Brit is there and pretending not to know her.  And Brit's boyfriend of four years is a mouthy homophobic football player who isn’t fond of the out and proud Ren.  Some of this is predictable Mean Girl stuff but the name calling and bullying are a lot.  I have mixed feelings about some of the character’s choices.  Ren is upset that she’s because Brit never said she has a boyfriend making her the other woman and yet she continues cheating on the down low.  And I didn’t love Ren’s best friend, who is supposed to be super cool, but he outs Brit to another when Ren wouldn't.  And the whole birthday party left a bad taste in my mouth.  That Ren doesn't know about it one thing but that she still chooses or gets manipulated into going doesn’t sit right.

Neither of these characters are blameless or overly likable.  I can empathize with both but that is not the same as cheering for them.  Also for being seniors I was surprised there was no focus on anything beyond Homecoming.  There is vague mention of summer service looking good on college applications but there isn’t a plan beyond the moment.  As a YA novel it is isn’t overly descriptive of intimacies between the couple.  Overall I was invested in the story but found some of the actions very mean.  Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria Edding NetGalley Co-op and the author for an ARC in exchange for a review.
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The first half of this book definitely reminded me of Grease and second half definitely reminded me of Mean Girls. If that is why you picked up this book, you will not be disappointed. Overall, I enjoyed this contemporary romance story about young love. In the first half of the book, the author did a good job of creating a sense of urgency between the two main characters. Even though the description of the book gives away some of the plot, I was still shocked some of the reveals. There were a lot of cute moments that built toward their relationship and even if the ending is somewhat predictable, it was not lackluster.
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