Live Your Best Lie / Jessie Weaver / Book Review

Instagram influencer Summer Cartwright has it all: millions of followers, the best boyfriend, the greatest friend group, and even an upcoming book deal. Nothing can bring her down. Until, of course, she is found dead at her own Halloween party.

Summer's charmed life shattered, fingers start pointing to those closest to her. Especially when a scheduled post goes up on her Instagram calling her best friends out. The rumors start flying. Was it Laney, Summer's ex-roommate, closed off and sullen? Or Cora, Summer's biggest fan... and potential stalker? Her ex Adam is a good bet, because it's always the boyfriend, right? Or maybe Grace, Summer's best friend... who recently had a falling out with the social media star.

Nobody looks good in this limelight. 


This book is full of suspects and narrative twists--often to its detriment. It was over the top, and I found it hard to suspend my disbelief. I wanted to like these twists--especially the twist at the end--but I just couldn't. I didn't buy it, and so I didn't get that satisfying payoff that comes with a good suspense novel. Great ideas here, but the execution? Not so much. 


  • Influencer Life: This book embraces influencer culture and not in the way that a lot of contemporary YA books do--that is, through the lens of an "adult" trying to write for (read: write down to) teens and their silly internet trends. This book gets it. We've got a classic Instagram girl, of course, but there's a Twitch streamer, a lot of TikTok stars, and more. Though this will date the book, I'm not sure that's ultimately a problem. These bits of contemporary life help to set the scene. 
  • Social Media Intrusion: Instagram influencer Summer's posts speak for themselves... if you can read between the lines. And I like that they're included here. We don't have to rely on secondhand accounts. We can, so to say, get it straight from the horse's mouth, and the comment threads included drops the hints and clues readers need to stay on the hook--great for a little bit of readerly detective work!
  • Hidden Guilt: When the prime suspects each get their own POV chapters, it might seem impossible to hide the guilty party. But these characters are good at lying to each other as well as to themselves. They're living in the here and now, not dwelling on the past. So is the culprit among our main characters? There's really no way to know... right? 


  • Present Tense: I'm usually not a stickler for narrative tense. Past, present, future (maybe?)--whatever fits your story is all good by me. Unless, of course, the tense jumps out to me. Because the only time I notice tense is when it feels off, strange, and the fact that the present tense in this narrative stood out says it might not have been the right choice. 
  • Too Many POVs: Sure, I complimented the POVs above, but I've also got a bone to pick. I don't generally have a problem with juggling a lot of character perspectives--I'm a fantasy reader first and foremost, after all, and that comes with the territory. But these characters weren't established well enough at the beginning--and their voices weren't distinctive in the least--making it difficult for me to remember whose perspective I was reading at any given time. And that's a bit of a problem, narrative-wise. The characters should feel different. Their perspective chapters should breathe those differences. 
  • Disbelief: You know what I just couldn't believe? Summer. And that's a problem when the whole book revolves around her. Summer is such a big personality, a brand-name type of Internet-star-slash-influencer, and it just didn't make sense to me that she was a high schooler. Stars like Summer might look young, but they're almost all in their twenties--i.e. not high school. But I could have suspended that disbelief. I could have, I promise. Except for such a big star, she doesn't seem to hang out with anybody who has also struck it big. Wouldn't she be networking to stay on top? So why are all of her friends just average Joes? And of her supposed five-point-something million fans, why are the only comments we see on her posts the same old characters again and again? Wouldn't an influencer that big be flooded with love and hate, so much so that the nobodies she knows in real life commenting on her posts wouldn't even make a splash in the sea of comments? I just had a hard time buying it. Fun concept for the book, but the execution was eh



Fans of Holly Jackson's A Good Girl's Guide to Murder will like sleuthing along with these characters. Those who enjoyed Jennifer Lynn Alvarez's Friends Like These will love the suspicious crew of "friends" Summer has. 


Publisher: Disney Hyperion/Melissa de la Cruz Studio
Date: January 24, 2023
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


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