Old Money, Mystery, and Country Clubs in ‘The Lies They Tell’

A TSL Book Review

As this late March stretch of days drags on and many students approach spring break, I think I can speak for all of us when I say, “We’re ready for summer.” If you’re longing for an experience to transport you to those mid-July feels, I have the next read for you. “The Lies They Tell” is a picturesque summer novel about the wealthy, their secrets, and those behind them.

Pearl, age 17, lives in a vacation town in Maine with her dad who is a caretaker for the big estates the wealthy occupy during their summer season. Pearl herself works at the country club serving these families, and their children her age. The town has just been rocked with a devastating fire that killed all members of one of the most prominent families–except for teenage son Tristan. Tristan’s elite group of friends take a shining to Pearl and invite her to join their side of the island for the summer, and she eventually gets a taste of the life they live every year while uncovering the mystery of the fire. To keep it spoiler free, Pearl gets a little too close to the action and barely makes it out alive after a stunning finale. If you’re a fan of “Riverdale,” “Big Little Lies,” or “13 Reasons Why,” this book is perfect for you.

My favorite thing about this novel is how easily Gillian French sets up the atmosphere. You truly feel like you’re jogging down the Maine coast, or serving bottles in the country club dining room, or braving a thunderstorm out on a rickety sailboat. The reader is pulled into the story alongside Pearl, as they learn the things she learns and witnesses what she witnesses. This tool is the key to every effective mystery, and is sure to keep you tuned in until the very last page. Our final rating: 4 out of 5 True Stars!


By Leah Ollie, senior at Whitney Young Magnet High School

Instagram: @leahgraceollie

Written by Leah Ollie

Leah is a senior at Whitney Young High School, and has been working with True Star since fall of 2020. She loves fruit smoothies and cats, and dislikes kale and action movies.

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