Truth and Other Lies

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Pub Date 08 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 Mar 2022

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Description

The Devil Wears Prada meets All the President's Men

Megan Barnes' life is in free fall. After losing both her job as a reporter and her boyfriend in the same day, she retreats to Chicago and moves in with Helen, her over-protective mother. Before long, the two are clashing over everything from pro-choice to #MeToo, not to mention Helen's run for US Congress which puts Megan's career on hold until after the election.

Desperate to reboot her life, Megan gets her chance when an altercation at a campus rally brings her face to face with Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Jocelyn Jones, who offers her a job on her PR team. Before long, Megan is pulled into the heady world of fame and glamour her charismatic new mentor represents.

Until an anonymous tweet brings it all crashing down. To salvage Jocelyn's reputation, Megan must locate the online troll and expose the lies. But when the trail leads to blackmail, and circles back to her own mother, Megan realizes if she pulls any harder on this thread, what should have been the scoop of her career could unravel into a tabloid nightmare.

This shrewdly-observed, fast-paced debut centers around the corrosive nature of lies, the complexity of female relationships, and the pervasive reach of the internet into all our lives. Fans of Liane Moriarty's character-driven stories and Jodi Picoult's topical plot twists will devour it. 

The Devil Wears Prada meets All the President's Men

Megan Barnes' life is in free fall. After losing both her job as a reporter and her boyfriend in the same day, she retreats to Chicago and moves...


Advance Praise

The political skews personal in Maggie Smith’s debut novel, which focuses on the bonds of powerful women in the rough-and-tumble world of politics and government. Smith’s characters sometimes do each other in, more often do each other proud, always with an awareness of the fragility of reputation set against the abiding strength of spirit. Smith leads with boldness and heart from the first page.

-Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and The Good Son

Keenly observed, tense, and smart, Maggie Smith unravels the complexity of being a journalist in a time where loyalty, motherhood, and the medium itself are in a constant state of flux. TRUTH AND OTHER LIES have everything you want in a book and more.

-Ann Garvin, USA Today bestselling author of I Thought You Said This Would Work

Maggie Smith's debut novel TRUTH AND OTHER LIES promises three women, two secrets, and one lie and boy does it deliver. The three women are Megan, a twenty-something reporter trying to get her life back together after being fired and dumped on the same day; Helen, her politically conservative mother making a surprise run for Congress; and Jocelyn, a charismatic and award-winning journalist who both mentors and torments Megan. Smith deftly weaves serious social issues such as abortion, sexual harassment, and toxic social media with the more typical women's fiction themes of female friendship, mother-daughter conflict, and romantic relationships, resulting in a taut and timely story . . . TRUTH AND OTHER LIES is an enjoyable and thought-provoking page-turner. The surprise ending will leave you wishing for a sequel.

-A.H.Kim, author of A Good Family

The political skews personal in Maggie Smith’s debut novel, which focuses on the bonds of powerful women in the rough-and-tumble world of politics and government. Smith’s characters sometimes do each...


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ISBN 9781645382621
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Average rating from 29 members


Featured Reviews

Interesting story, I like how the writer interwove lies and secrets. In the end one can see the difference between lies versus secrets. It is a story of how women view their struggles to get what they want, be unethically or how they see as it is what I do. A mother protecting her child rightly or wrongly. Another woman Jocelyn thinking she can take what she wants, and no one can stop her. A young woman learning how to judge people, how to judge life in general. Over all a great read

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This was such a good book! The characters stay with you long after you finish the book and I loved all the twists and turns. My first time to read a book by this author but I cannot wait to read more!

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Megan Barnes is a twenty five year old investigative reporter who lost both her job and her boyfriend on the same day and has returned to Chicago to reinvent herself. Her mother, Helen Watkins, is a former stay at home mom whose politically conservative, pro-life beliefs have made her the frontrunner in a local Congressional race. Pulitzer Prize winning, legendary journalist Jocelyn Jones plans to cement her long, successful career with a best selling memoir until anonymous allegations surface on social media. What these three women have in common are the lies they have told, the secrets that they have been keeping and their ambition. What they will do with that ambition makes the difference. Truth and Other Lies, a compulsively readable novel, is part romance, part criticism of social media and part thriller. The plot is strong and fast paced. The characters, although not all likable, are well drawn and realistic. I especially enjoyed Megan and Nick’s budding romance, Helen’s attempts to have a closer relationship with her daughter and Dragan’s computer prowess. Serious subjects are treated: Computer hacking, mental illness, the Me Too movement, abortion, rape and others. This is a must read novel! 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Ten16 Press and Maggie Smith for this ARC.

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This one dug deep to not only our relationships with friends but with ourselves also. It was a mesmerizing story of self worth and being true to what you know is right. I could not put it down.

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This book is hit all the right chords with me: fast-paced plot, journalism angle, slight mystery, hot topics in current events, family secrets. What’s not to like? Megan, an aspiring journalist, has moved back home to Chicago with her mom - who she learns is running for the local seat in the House of Representatives. Megan stumbles across a potential career opportunity when she unexpectedly meets Jocelyn Jones, a famous and well-respected journalist, who promises to pass along her connections if Megan will work on Jocelyn’s PR team in preparation for her new memoir. Things get dicey, though, when anonymous threats come in calling Jocelyn out for plagiarism in her past, and Megan doesn’t know whether to trust her idol or trust an online stranger. Mix in some political drama - specifically about abortion (TW) - and this book was the perfect mix of fun and light while keeping you on your toes and turning the pages. Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced read! Megan Barnes recently lost her job and caught her boyfriend in bed with their neighbor. Megan instantly packs up her life and returns to Chicago. When she returns home, she learns her single, conservative, divorced mother is running for political office. She thinks they are always on opposite sides and not very close. When Megan was visiting with her best friend Becca, she finds herself at a college lecture where she got into a fight with a skin head. The speaker of the event came up to compliment Megan and ends up offering her a drop until she gets her life figured out. During this time, Megan, journalist, protects Jocelyn and becomes her right hand man. However, things may not be as good as they seem when a twitter troll wants to reveal secrets. We follow Megan as she investigates not only Jocelyn but eventually her own family.

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Integrity vs. ambition—how far will you go to be successful? Truth and Other Lies explores this dilemma as the protagonist, Megan, maneuvers her way through the glamourous world of a famous journalist as her protégé. A young woman who calls herself a boomerang returns to live with her mother after a failed relationship and a job loss. Megan Barnes, a twenty-five-year-old newspaper reporter, comes back to her home in Chicago and discovers her world has changed. Her mother wants to be a politician, her best friend has cheated on her longtime boyfriend, and snagging a newspaper job is more complicated than she thought. Until Megan meets Joselyn Jones, a world-renowned journalist who Megan sees at a rally and finds she has idolized for years. Jones is impressed with Megan’s convictions and bravado when she defends Jones’ principles, hitting a skinhead in the nose. That gets Megan a public relations position for Jones’ upcoming memoir soon to be released. The story unravels as Megan seeks the truth about Jones, who is being attacked on Twitter and accused of unethical behavior. And Megan’s mother reveals a shocking secret that happened to her as a young mother that changed her beliefs and threatened her candidacy for Congress. Using her journalistic skills, Megan digs deeper to find the truth and what integrity truly means. I loved this story filled with strong characters, good dialog, and a fast-paced plot. I thank NetGalley for allowing me to read and review it. #Truth and Other Lies #NetGalley #Political Fiction

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Maggie Smith, Truth and Other Lies, 1016 Press, 2022. Maggie Smith has written a novel that resonates with some of the most important issues affecting understanding events today. Truth and lies are seemingly acceptable alternatives, with the coining of the phrase ‘alternative truth’ becoming a part of the language of media stories and acceptance of news coverage. The narrative touches on these issues in a story that brings a young journalist into the aegis of a famous journalist, as well as her connection with a political figure. The three women carry the story, becoming the vehicle through which important issues are raised, at the same time as they are developed as women with personal attachments and aspirations. It takes time for Megan, a young and ambitious journalist who has recently lost her job and her lover, to work through her own problems. These colour the way she looks at truth, her family and friends, and the world of journalism. Megan is an uneasy character to like. Her childlike behaviour grates, particularly at the beginning of the book. She returns home, expecting her mother to be as usual – someone she tolerates and sees in a rather one-dimensional way. The two clash over political views, and over their relationship. Megan finds her mother controlling, but while criticising her, ignores her own qualities which might give rise to her mother’s concerns. Megan’s lack of perception is strange for a journalist – but there is a lot of evidence, both in her previous job, her understanding of older women as exemplified by her mother, or ambitious women as exemplified by the older journalist, to suggest that this character has a lot of maturing to accomplish. Megan is determined to find a career path again and begins working as a publicist after a fortuitous meeting with an important public figure, Jocelyn Jones. Here she finds that her dilemmas are twofold: her mother, Helen Watkins, has become a political figure, thus publicising their different political commitments; and her relationship with her employer, not her first choice of occupation, mixes glamour and anxiety. Megan’s eventual work towards acknowledging the reality about the women around her is well drawn, and as she becomes involved in seeking the truth, her motives are more meaningful. When Megan is forced to acknowledge her own mistakes, as well as those made by the other two women, her character becomes more nuanced. The developing relationship between mother and daughter is well made, with truths being told and secrets uncovered. At the same time, the relationship between Megan and her charismatic employer also involves secrets and truths – or are they lies? This novel has great potential. It works on raising serious issues, in both politics and the media, that resonate with the social environment of the 2020s. In addition, the characters develop, at times demonstrating some complexity as they come to grips with personal as well as worldly agendas. Although they are often unlikable, their flaws and their stories are believable. The ending was satisfying as Megan, thwarted initially, demonstrates her journey to a future where her impact as a professional journalist is a possibility. However, I was a little disappointed as I felt that the full potential of the idea was not fully realised.

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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle by Ten16 Press and #NetGalley for my honest opinion. A deep, multi-fasciated story that delves into relationships.

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Really enjoyed this book! The characters felt real, Megan’s complicated relationship with her mother felt genuine and her friendship with Becca was sweet. There was even a love story mixed in. Working for celeb journalist Jocelyn Jones was to be her stepping stone to bigger things. The ending was very satisfying…there were some twists I didn’t see coming. This is one of those books you hate to finish because you miss reading about the characters. Really, really loved this book! Two thumbs up! Thanks to NetGalley and Ten16 Press for allowing me to read this book.

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Truth and Other Lies is a debut novel by Maggie Smith. The protagonist, Megan Barnes, has caught the attention of a famous reporter named Jocelyn Jones and quickly becomes her protege. When Jones finds herself under fire after an accusation of plagiarism, Megan goes undercover to get to the bottom of the story. There are several layers and subplots happening simultaneously in the story. Smith does a good job of tying up loose ends by the end of the novel, but I found myself much less invested in Megan's mother's congressional run or Becca's personal crisis. Megan's relationship with Jocelyn was far more interesting, especially as there has been an exploration of power, prestige, and authority in our society the last few years. I liked that the text was centered around the female characters and how women exert power and influence over one another. I appreciated that it wasn't a story about a male who has taken advantage of a young woman with higher ambitions, especially since we have seen that narrative being told over and over in the news. Jones wasn't strictly a bully and didn't use her sexuality to get to the top; she was opportunistic and jaded, and that catapulted her to fame. Her character was developed in a more nuanced way so she wasn't a stereotypical character. I didn't feel particularly connected to Megan, but I was intrigued by how she and Jocelyn used one another for their own gain. At times, I felt like the pacing was a bit imbalanced. The middle was definitely the most engaging for me, and the ending felt rushed. Everything tied up quickly, and I was left wanting to know a bit more about how the dots were all connected. I think the comparisons to Liane Moriarty are fair, and I can see this book being a limited series on Netflix or Hulu. It would likely have a decent-sized viewership as well. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing the ARC.

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Truth and Other Lies is a great debut by Maggie Smith. Do you ever have that one character who you start off not feeling and slowing becomes one of your favorites? Megan Barnes was that for me! I couldn't figure her out or where her story was going but ended up really pulling for her. I was fully engaged by the plot. I liked the exploration of ethics and the purpose of journalism. Definitely makes you ask your own questions for the media and what is real and what isn't.

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I requested to read “Truth and Other Lies” because of its intriguing premise. News reporter Megan Barnes returns to her hometown of Chicago after a job loss and a romantic relationship hit the skids. But Megan discovers she cannot go home again when her politically conservative mom whom she’s has a bumpy relationship with runs for Congress, which limits Megan’s ability to find a job in journalism. At a rally, she meets her idol, Joselyn Jones, a respected journalist, and when Megan defends her, her actions lead to a PR position. But then Joselyn Jones is accused of plagiarism, and Megan investigates in her idol’s defense. But in Megan’s discovery of truth, she is led back to her mother. If Joselyn has made any mistakes Megan may be willing to forgive, can she offer the same forgiveness to her mother? I thought the concept of Megan in conflict with her mother was a good one, especially when their relationship is compared to the admiration Megan has for Joselyn. It’s not easy to take advice from someone you love—even when she may be right. I found Megan to be a relatable character and really enjoyed the setting of journalism and politics in the 2020s. I didn’t care as much for the romantic aspect of the story, but with a novel about strong women who needs men? Thank you the Maggie Smith, NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel.

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Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith spotlights media, spin, and the tenuous trust between reader and journalist. Smith tells her story through the lens of Megan, a recent graduate with a keen desire to make her mark as a newspaper reporter. Megan is like a recently opened package of chest-thumping ambition. She wants a seat in the pressroom, to work alongside the truth-tellers, to take on the time-honored role of a news writer. It is from that implicit trust in the Fourth Estate, the unshakeable belief that a free press will always deliver the truth, that Megan discovers that true and false isn’t always black and white, what is right isn’t always good, and the power of spin can make the blackest lies palatable. Five stars for this one.

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This was such an interesting and timely plot concept, a newspaper journalist gets tangled up in a plagiarism accusation. Megan is a young newspaper reporter who learns that not fact-checking a source will cost her job. She was living her dream in NY, newly fired and cheating boyfriend behind her, she flees back home. Now she's back in Chicago with her smothering, helicopter Mom, Helen Watkins. To her surprise Mom just happens to be running for office in the United States Congress. At least her best friend, Becca, is still there to share a glass of wine, a good cry, and listen. Megan and her Mom have never seen eye to eye on much, especially politics. The story is an emotional look at complicated Mother/daughter relationships. Megan has idolized Jocelyn Jones for many years. Jocelyn is a Pulitzer prize winning journalism icon who covered many major stories. She'd been in the Sarajevo war zone in the nineties. A chance meeting leads to a position for Megan with Jocelyn's new biography marketing campaign. Megan may learn more about her new mentor than she ever wanted to know. A cryptic tweet accuses Jocelyn of proprietary theft. Megan and Nick Russo, a cyber investigator, are tasked with uncovering the source of the accusation and thus saving Jocelyn's reputation. Finding the truth of what transpired at the prison camps in the midst of war is laced with intrigue. The race to catch the mysterious person behind the tweet is full of surprises, twists, fast-paced, and had me totally hooked. I really enjoyed the insightful story about journalism, reporters, what some people do to reach the pinnacle, be famous, regardless of who they hurt along the way. The female characters in this story are relatable,  interesting, strong, and believable. There are many lessons to be learned in the story. Be careful who you trust, believe and idolize. Icons are human and can disappoint. The story has suspense, romance, a strong plot and a thrilling search for the truth and facts. This was a new author for me and one I will watch for. I devoured the book and appreciated the relevancy of journalism and reporting in this country's current climate. Many thanks to Netgalley, Maggie Smith, and Ten16 Press for the advance reader digital copy of "Truth and Other Lies". These are my thoughts and opinions given voluntarily.

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Maggie Smith's debut novel, Truth and Other Lies is a timely novel spotlighting some important issues, questioning the role journalism plays in how the public views hot topic events and the exploration of journalistic ethics. Megan is a believable and likeable protagonist who learns some hard lessons. Recommended.

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I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review I loved this one. Very fast paced, had me turning pages as I tore through it – I had to see how it would end. The characters were well rounded and the narrative felt believable. Wild ride.. Solid five

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I absolutely loved the relevance and timeliness of Truth and Other Lies by Maggie Smith. The characters and storyline were intriguing and had me racing through the pages. Long after I turned the last page, I found myself thinking about Megan, Jocelyn, and Helen. Great book!

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Unique, captivating, and complex. Part romance, part thriller, and part analysis and ultimate critique of our current social landscape, this book and its author (a fellow Wisconsinite) didn’t shy away from difficult subjects. At times I thought the book was a little more plot-driven than character-driven and I would have loved an epilogue or additional chapter, but overall it was an engaging and entertaining book. Here’s hoping for a sequel! Thank you to NetGalley, Maggie Smith, and Ten16 Press for the advanced reader digital copy of "Truth and Other Lies.”

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Maggie Smith brings an energy to her debut, Truth and Other Lies, that will keep you up into the wee hours of the night. Not afraid to delve into the big topics of today: abortion, sexual harassment, ethics, and ambitions, Smith’s writing also reflects her ability to portray the beauty of friendship and loyalty, along with the timeless angst of mother-daughter issues. And secrets. Smith is a genius with secrets. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Truth and Other Lies

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This was a really nice surprise. I had never read anything by this author but I found this novel very engaging. When Megan “boomerangs” back home after personal and professional disasters, she must face her strained relationship with her mother. She is searching for a way to get back into journalism, so an encounter with an esteemed journalist should be the ticket. Sadly she learns that her idol has feet of clay and a “cheating heart.” Megan becomes involved in a story, while her mother is running for political office. The complications are far-ranging and there are many lies. These are uncovered and the pieces of the story come together as Megan seeks her truth. Not only did I enjoy this novel, but there is an excellent list of book club discussion issues which will make this a superb choice for book clubs. I was very impressed by this book and I love tge timely issues it discusses. I’m so glad I read this ARC, thank you Netgalley.

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Thank you to Net Galley, the publisher and Maggie Smith for an eARC of TRUTH AND OTHER LIES in exchange for an honest review. This book comes out on March 8, 2022. I am a journalist, and my name is also Jocelyn, so I felt a connection to the character Jocelyn in that way only without the plagiarism part. lol. That being said, I didn't feel invested or connected to this story. At times I couldn't pinpoint what it was supposed to be because I felt like there was a lot going on in terms of what the plot was supposed to be about. That being said, I liked the fast-pace and following along with our MC as she dug into her investigative journalism roots to figure out the truth. I could definitely see this being adapted on screen!

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This was a slow burn for me. I didn't initially feel much for the main character Megan Barnes but as the story progressed I was more interested. For me, I was more engaged by the plot rather than the characters (but I did love Nick!). I liked the exploration of ethics and the purpose of journalism- these questions encouraged me to consider my own ideas of the media. By the end, Megan was an easy protagonist to like and I wanted her to succeed. This is a solid debut and I really enjoyed reading it.

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I really enjoyed this book and found it to be an engrossing and topical read. Megan was an immensely relatable character, and I enjoyed reading about her dynamics with her mother and Jocelyn. This is a multilayered story where we see each woman’s dreams, struggles, and determination, and the lengths each one will go to to protect them. The author didn’t shy away from addressing certain “hot button” political topics, and lest this detract some readers, she actually presented them in a fair and balanced way. There are some great discussion topics that would make this a good pick for book clubs.

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I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and opinion. This book really hit all the right situations with me: fast-paced plot, great journalism angle, a little mystery, relevant topics in regards to current events, family secrets. How could you not like this? I really enjoyed it and can't wait for all my friends and family to get their hands on a copy of this book!

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What a fantastic debut! Truth and Other Lies takes on the topics of the day, focusing on a plagiarism accusation against a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Sounds simple, right? Well of course it’s not. There’s always more to the story. Leaving a cheating boyfriend behind, Megan Barnes is a young journalist who has just learned an important lesson—always check the facts. Leaving a cheating boyfriend behind, Megan comes back to Chicago and is surprised by her mother, Helen Watkins, who informs her she’s running for Congress. Megan and Helen have never seen eye to eye on the issues, so while Megan looks for jobs, she keeps the tidbit about her mother’s identity a secret. I don’t like to give away plot points or spoilers, so just know this: Maggie Smith does a great job of keeping this relevant story engaging. It’s fast-paced and twisty and covers a range of timely issues: alternative facts, sexual harassment, abortion, nepotism, and more. And at the core of the story is the power of the relationships between mothers and daughters and best friends. If you’re looking for a read with intelligent, strong, relatable characters, then this is the book for you. Can’t wait to read more from Maggie Smith!

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