quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green




I am excited to be a part of the blog tour from Rockstar Book Tours for one of the first books published by author Melissa de lA Cruz's new imprint with Disney-Hyperion: Melissa de da Cruz Studios.  Live Your Best Lie by Jessie Weaver is YA thriller that perfectly encapsulates toxic influencer culture.  Check out my review below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Book Information

Title: Live Your Best Lie
Authors(s): Jessie Weaver
Publication Date: January 24, 2023
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook; 368 pgs
Publisher: Melissa de la Cruz Studio
SourceRockstar Book Tours
Find ItMajor Retailers
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.  Please note the purchase links above are affiliate links.

Tour Schedule
Week One
1/16/2023 - YA Books Central - Excerpt/IG Post
1/17/2023 - Kait Plus Books - Excerpt/IG Post
1/18/2023 - bookmama85 - Review/IG Post
1/19/2023 - pluvioreads - Review/IG Post
1/20/2023 - YA Book Nerd - Review/IG Post
1/21/2023- Silkybookloverfun - Review/IG Post

Week Two
1/22/2023 - popthebutterfly - Review/IG Post
1/23/2023 - @froggyreadteach - IG Review 
1/24/2023 - OneMoreExclamation - Review/IG Post
1/25/2023 - @reading.late.into.the.night - Review/IG Post
1/26/2023 - @more.books.yes.please - IG Review/TikTok Post
1/27/2023 - Book Briefs - Review/IG Post
1/28/2023 - travelersguidetobooks - IG Review

Week Three
1/29/2023 - @amysbookshelf82 - IG Review
1/30/2023 - NeverKnotReading - IG Post
1/31/2023 - Wanderingwitchreads - TikTok Review/IG Post
2/1/2023 - zaineylaney - Review/IG Post
2/2/2023 - Stacialovestoread - Review/IG Post
2/3/2023 - Nerdophiles - Review 
2/4/2023 - @booksrn_rashi - IG Review

Week Four
2/5/2023 - Review Thick And Thin - Review/IG Post
2/6/2023 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review/IG Post
2/7/2023 - Book-Keeping - Review/IG Post
2/8/2023 - Brandi Danielle Davis - Review/IG Post
2/9/2023 - Eli to the nth - Review/IG Post
2/10/2023 - Momfluenster - IG Review/Facebook Post

The Summary

Social media influencer Summer Cartwright leads a very charmed life: millions of followers, the hottest designer and vintage clothes at her fingertips, a newly minted book deal, the coolest friends, and, until recently, the hottest boyfriend at her über-elite prep school. Every moment of her life has been carefully planned and cultivated to complement her “imperfectly perfect” social media persona. She is truly #LivingHerBestLife.

But when Summer goes missing during her annual Halloween party and then an unscheduled post appears on her feed stating that she’ll be dead within the next five minutes, those closest to Summer know something isn’t quite right―or on-brand. Grace, Summer’s camera-shy best friend; Adam, Summer’s gamer ex-boyfriend; Laney, Summer’s moody camp roommate; and Cora, an influencer wannabe, all decide to investigate. And when they come upon Summer’s lifeless body, they soon realize that no filter is strong enough to mask the lies we tell ourselves.

Told in multiple POVs interspersed with social media posts and flashbacks, Live Your Best Lie has twists and turns that will keep readers turning the page and no one will be able to guess the ending.

My Review

A debut book from the new Disney-Hyperion imprint, Melissa de la Cruz Studios, Live Your Best Lie by Jessie Weaver is an engaging YA thriller for Generation Z.

Live Your Best Lie takes you on an intense investigation of a murder mystery surrounding toxic influencer culture and the currency of high school: popularity.  Summer Cartwright is the IT girl at her high school, and has built a crazy following online, making enemies along the way.  When she's found dead at her own Halloween party by four fellow classmates, the rumors and scrutiny start to focus in on them, each having a reason to want Summer dead.

This was a ride.  I loved the story-telling method, with Instagram posts interspliced with changing POV chapters, interspliced with flashbacks.  Each part brings you closer to the truth, but also lays out even more suspicion.  Each person, Grace, Adam, Lainey, and Cora, all have something major at stake if the detectives continue to dig into the murder, uncovering the leverage that Summer had against them all.  Weaver is able to craft each person's motives together, making the reader question each person, and whether or not they are the killer.  I didn't see the end coming, and it was so satisfying.  This is definitely one I want to re-read, so I can pick out the hints that Weaver sprinkles throughout the book.

Besides the plot, which does drive the story, this book also has such well-crafted, believable characters.  There is a very diverse cast, both in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic status.  And when you go to a prep school, those are important layers.  Each character reacts as a 15-year-old or 16-year-old would, making bad choices and leading with emotion.  Also, this truly feels like teens in the present, as Weaver does an excellent job of using current trends and technology.  This doesn't feel like it will date the book, as some cultural references can, but sets the book up to always be easily identifiable as to have taken place in the 2020s.

A YA thriller with a twisty plot and shady characters makes for a great time.  Fans of Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman will devour this series starter.  I can't wait to read more from Jessie Weaver!

Final Rating



Grace Godwin
Saturday, October 31 

5:17 p.m. 

Grace buzzes Summer’s loft with one hand and tugs the hem of her dress with the other. If she’d taken a second to think before calling her Lyft, she would have brought her color-blocked water melon costume to change into instead of wearing it. She’s two hours early for Summer’s Halloween party, because she promised she’d help  set up. 

Halloween is about little atmospheric touches, Summer said when she texted her on Thursday. No one’s better at detail stuff than you,  Gracie Grace. You know you owe me. Pleaaassseee? She followed it up with, With a pineapple on top? and a picture of her pouting in the pineapple dress she bought as her costume. Ever since Summer met that fruitarian on her trip to Bali in June, she’s been almost religiously into  fruit and swears she’d be a fruitarian, too, if the scientists of the world  would get their act together and create a fruit replacement for cheese. 

She also has a spiritual relationship with Gouda.  

Summer’s pouty face picture was overkill. Grace would have helped her set up without any begging, because she’s always been the girl  willing to stream streamers or blow up balloons or do calligraphy  on envelopes. Feeling needed is a rush. Besides, after her fight with Summer a few days ago, she’s been going above and beyond, even  measuring on a scale of one to Grace. She’s lucky Summer is even talking to her. Tonight has to go smoothly.  

So she texted Summer back, saying, No biggie, I can be there a few  hours early, even though it was kind of a biggie because she had to call  out sick from her shift at the taco truck. Grace feels awful about lying to her boss Sofia, but she’s deemed this lie a necessary evil. Though she really, really hopes Sofia doesn’t bring get-well tacos to her house.  Her mom would murder her for ditching work.  

Not to mention that Grace should be using tonight to work on her A Separate Peace essay for AP Lit. Her teacher told her it might stand a chance in some scholarship contest hosted by the College Board, and  Grace needs all the scholarship money she can get. College isn’t cheap. Still, she and Summer have been friends since middle school. You make sacrifices for long-term relationships.  

A gust of wind glues a long strand of Grace’s brown hair to her lip gloss. Shivering, she unpeels it, then hugs her arms around her  chest. Even in Los Angeles, the October air has enough bite that she wishes she could have worn the polka-dotted tights she picked out to  go under her watermelon dress, but apparently, polka-dotted tights aren’t sexy. And why be a whimsical fruit if you can be a sexy fruit?  

While she waits for Summer to buzz her up to her fifth-floor pent house loft, Grace glares at the jack-o’-lantern that leers at her from its stoop pedestal. Stop being such a perv, Jack, she thinks. My eyes are  up here, then automatically feels bad for being rude. In her head. To a pumpkin. She blames her dress, which hangs off one shoulder, for being way shorter than is comfortable. It’s why she bought tights in the first place. She’s pretty sure if she moves the wrong way, everyone will see her butt, or at least the hot-pink underwear that Summer sling-shotted at her from across her bedroom yesterday when Grace mentioned her predicament.
“Match your panties and no one will notice,” Summer told her.  “I think they might.”
“Whatever.” Summer rolled her eyes when Grace tried to protest.  “If anyone posts photos of your ass online, I’ll hunt them down and destroy them.” 

Grace wasn’t sure if she meant the photos or the photographer. With Summer, it could go either way. Summer shimmied so the feathery headband atop her blond hair bobbed. “You like my pineapple top?”  “Gorg.”  

And it really was. Unsurprising, because Summer makes any thing look fabulous. Her closet is packed with Prada and Gucci but also with vintage finds from the secondhand shop, because... the  environment. One time she wore a boxy skirt from 1991 with the buttons undone halfway up her thigh, and suddenly on TikTok, girls  modeled cute-again 90s items from thrift stores for the #Summer CartwrightChallenge. Her closet fan account reposted her pics with  comments like OMFGGGG this is everything! and True beauty inside and out!! 

So if Summer has a fruitarian revelation and says Grace should be a watermelon, she’ll be a freaking watermelon. Besides, she can’t afford to piss Summer off again. 

Just as Grace is beginning to think Summer isn’t home—her memory is famously short, which sometimes makes Grace feel like a walking reminder app—Summer’s voice echoes tinny through the call box. 

“Gracie! You said you’d be here at five.” 

“Sorry! Traffic.”  

For a moment, Grace thinks Summer might not let her in, then the door buzzes. Relieved, Grace takes the elevator to the top floor. Summer meets her at the front door to her loft, barefoot and fastening her earrings. In her yellow-and-gold dress, her tanned legs seem longer, and her hair is pure sunshine. She looks much older than sixteen.  

“The party is in less than two hours, and the decorations are . . .  ugh.”  

Grace knows her job. When Summer fishes, Grace takes the bait.  “I’m sure they look amazing.”  

“And I’ve posted so many reminders about this party on Instagram, and I’m going live right at seven, and I look like a banana. I can’t look like a banana in front of five million people, one, because  I’m supposed to be a pineapple, and two, aren’t bananas slutty?”
The word banana sounds weird to Grace. If she hears a word too many times over, she either becomes certain that it isn’t actually a word, or her brain overloads with fun facts about the word until she goes on a Jeopardy!-level rant. For example, bananas are scientifically considered berries, because their seeds are inside. Also, banana peels, when applied daily, can cure warts.  

“Bananas aren’t slutty, Sum, they’re fruit,” Grace says. “Anyway, does it matter?” 

“You don’t have five million people judging your every move. No one cares what you do.”  

Grace has less than a thousand followers on Instagram, most of  whom followed her after Summer tagged her in pictures, and she’s  logged onto TikTok exactly one time to see what the fuss is about. So  \no, she doesn’t really care what people online think, because no one  online cares about her.

“Well, you look like a pineapple to me,” she says. Because Summer has told her a thousand times she has to cut it with the fun facts, Grace doesn’t tell her that pineapples can be used to tenderize meat.  

When Summer motions for Grace to follow her from the foyer into the living room, Grace’s jaw drops. The Cartwrights’ luxury loft is always impressive with its cathedral ceilings and museum-quality art. But wow. These decorations are not “ugh,” especially compared to the Halloween dances Grace went to in her middle school gym, which involved punch bowls shaped like skulls and orange streamers strewn over the basketball hoops. 

In the living room, floor-to-ceiling black fabric drapes over the windows, and sheets cover the furniture. Someone’s managed to hoist an actual Phantom-of-the-Opera-style chandelier above every thing. The DJ platform in the corner is the only reminder that it’s the twenty-first century. The overall vibe is...Grace takes a moment to consider. Sumptuously undead? 
It is incongruous with Summer’s pineapple costume. “Sum.” Grace widens her eyes. “Your place looks—”  “Like a funeral parlor? I know.” 

“I was going to say like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.”  “I guess? The decorator thought we should go more refined, but people are going to be too depressed to, like, dance or anything. And this might be my last party, so it has to be perfect.” 

Grace is confused. “What? Why do you say that?” 

Summer shrugs. “You don’t think the decor is too much?”  “No.” Grace doesn’t miss that Summer ignored her question, and she feels a moment of anxiety that she forces herself to swallow down. Panicking won’t help her fix things with Summer. “You got black lights, right?”  

“Yeah, and some colored ones.” 

“Perfect. Lighting will make the room.” Grace perches on the edge  of a sheet-draped sofa. “Your family coming tonight?” Summer flops beside her. “Julian and Miranda are in Dubai until next Friday.” 

“Business trip?”  

“For my dad, yeah. He’s meeting with some sheikh about using his land for that new movie he’s making next spring? She Falls Hard or something like that. Mom’s going for the spas.” She rolls her eyes at the word spas, but who knows with Summer’s mom. She’s probably sleeping in a salt cave for the duration of her trip.  

“So you’re alone?” Grace asks.  

“No. Harrison is staying here while my parents are gone.” Summer  narrows her eyes. “He’s coming to the party, too, if that’s what you’re asking.”  

Grace rolls her shoulders and takes a deep breath. She hasn’t seen much of Summer’s brother this month, what with everything she’s  had going on, but for the past year Summer has been trying to set her up with him. Grace wants to date him. She really does. Or maybe she  wants to want to date him. 

Harrison, a film studies major at UCLA, has no problem shoving a camera into Grace’s face when she’s doing things like eating cereal  first thing in the morning or brushing her teeth, because he thinks unguarded moments are the most real. He and Summer argue about that a lot, actually—whether or not what she does is reality. Harrison  says her page is too cultivated, too look-at-me-being-perfectly-flawed.  Summer says she’s putting her best foot forward. Grace refuses to be the tiebreaker because she thinks both of them are dead wrong. Even though she hasn’t always been able to keep her business offline, it hasn’t stopped her from trying. With Harrison at the party, she doubts she’ll be able to stay off camera. 

Summer and Grace spend the next hour applying their makeup (black seed-shaped freckles on pink cheeks for Grace, and glittery gold  eyelids and lips for Sum) and sipping smoothies, Summer’s current obsession. Green for Summer, strawberry-banana for Grace. Then while Grace sets up the blacklights and calls the DJ to make sure he  isn’t running late, Summer samples the food the caterer prepared. 

“Oh my god, Gracie,” Summer says. “The lobster crostini are to die for. Don’t forget to try some before they’re all gone. Laney’s coming, and I know how much she eats.”  

Grace pins her cellphone between her shoulder and face to give Summer a thumbs-up. The DJ needs driving directions. She also tries to ignore Summer’s comment about Laney, who probably eats a very normal amount.  

Once the DJ arrives and starts the music, the loft buzzes with potential energy—the kinetic will come later once the guests arrive— but Grace’s stomach burns like she chugged acid or, like, a gallon of  coffee. Maybe she should have eaten something when Sum offered while they were doing their makeup. It probably wouldn’t have helped though, because it’s butterflies that are making her feel sick. Adam is  coming tonight. Grace hasn’t seen him since he and Summer broke up  at school last week, and she’s not a hundred percent certain she can keep it together around him all evening. Summer should have uninvited him. Secretly, though, Grace is glad she didn’t. Even though she and Adam have been weird with each other for months, she still likes knowing he’s there. 

Five minutes before seven o’clock, Grace shuts off the main lights and turns on the blacklights. Summer drops dry ice into the punch to make it smoke. They both slide their feet into impossible heels.  They take simultaneous deep breaths.  

Then the doorbell rings, and the party begins.

About the Author

About Jessie Weaver:
Before writing about flawed, funny teens with big hearts, Jessie Weaver spent ten years teaching them English. She completed the Stanford University online novel writing program in 2019. Though she’s an East Coast girl at heart, originally from Baltimore, MD, she currently lives just outside Denver, Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Live Your Best Lie is her first novel.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of LIVE YOUR BEST LIE, US Only.

Ends February 14th, midnight EST.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by; I love to hear from you!

Happy reading!!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...