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on February 4, 2010
The first "L.A. Candy" novel was a surprisingly sweet (no pun intended...well, maybe a little) first novel by reality star-cum-N.Y. Times Bestselling Author Lauren Conrad. Expectations were very low, so when the book hit stands with an engaging mix of wit, humor and surprisingly tight writing, the book became a bonafide hit among teen girls. Alas, the second book in Conrad's purported trilogy of young adult novels strips the characters Conrad created/adapted/mimicked-from-reality of anything appealing and replaces it with idiot-plot contrivances and once-smart characters acting about as smart as their extensions.

First, a note of apology if you've come to this review having never heard of "The Hills" as I will talk openly of the parallels between the book and the "reality" that spawned it. Chances are if you are on this page, you know, but if by some chance you don't, please look it up on Wikipedia and then return later.

"Sweet Little Lies" picks up less than a week after the first book's cliffhanger, with reality superstar Jane Roberts (a thinly-vieled interpretation of Conrad) on a self-imposed exile with Madison (Heidi). Madison had released photographs of Jane cheating on her boyfriend Jesse (Jason) to Gossip Magazine then whisked Jane away before her best friend Scarlet (another side of Conrad's personality) could warn her. Jane had cheated on Jesse in part because of Jesse's erratic behavior and oft-drunkedness and because she was secretly in love with his best friend Braden.

As the book commenced, I was excited to see how Conrad would pay off the explosive turn of events and how it would change the dynamic between the three main female characters in the trilogy. But then, in an inexplicably mind-numbing move, Conrad fails to pay-off any of these developments for at least 240 of the book's 300-and-change pages. Instead she turns Jane, who had been up until this point a smart and sympathetic heroine, into the kind of gullible dumb girl viewers think the girls from "The Hills" really are.

Despite having her best-friend-since-childhood and ex-boyfriend-with-nothing-to-lose tell her in no uncertain terms that Madison was the one who leaked the photos, Jane decides not to believe them and, in another childish move, isolates herself from Scarlet for most of the book while growing closer to Madison, believing every one of her lies and not getting suspicious that every secret she shares with her frienemy just happens to show up in the next week's issue of "Gossip."

In addition to this, Jane re-ignites her romance with Jesse. In the first book it was not-too-subtly hinted that Jesse had drinking problems and a possible drug addiction. Oh well, Jane thinks, and immediately falls back in love with him, even as he becomes an abusive boyfriend. Their relationship sours quickly, but Jane refuses to call it quits even after Jesse takes her on a drunken joyride through Los Angeles, cheats on her repeatedly, continues to drink and do drugs around her and finally becomes emotionally and physically abusive to her.

Look, I'm a big supporter of heroes and heroines of books make mistakes and have three dimensions, but Jane's actions in "Sweet Little Lies" cross the line. This is NOT the kind of book that parents should be recommending that their teenage daughters read, and Jane is no longer a role model. Abusive relationships are a very real thing, and the fact that Conrad lets her main character not only stay in the relationship for such a long period of time but enable him time and again to continue his out-of-control actions is setting the worst possible model for teen girls. The relationship isn't even viewed realistically--it's so obvious from their reconciliation that it is a plot contrivance that will be take hundreds of pages to clear up--which makes the circumstances even sadder. Add in that she alienates her longtime best friend for a woman obviously manipulating every facet of her life and you have made Jane Roberts almost irredeemably unlikable. Since she is supposed to be the anchor of the series, this is a big problem.

There are moments and glimmers where the fun and wit of the first book return, albeit briefly. I'm thinking of a conversation between Jane and her office-mate Hannah (Whitney) in the bathroom while the producers are almost breaking down the door to stop it or when Gaby (Audrina), the dim-bulb of the show, shows surprising insight and depth, but these are fleeting. Conrad also makes attempts to humanize Madison instead of portraying her as a one-dimension villain, which is interesting in theory, but this does not pay off.

Everything about "Sweet Little Lies" screams that the book is merely a placeholder between the fun of the first book and the real pay-offs of the third. Conrad spins her wheels for most of the book's pages and, though the finale sets up an fascinating dynamic between the characters for the final chapter in the trilogy (though I can't imagine HarperCollins will allow such a lucrative franchise to die out so soon), that cannot excuse the fact that, well, nothing of note happens until the last forty pages of this book. In fact, you could slap the last few chapters of this book onto the end of "L.A. Candy" and not miss the first thirty-some chapters at all. Am I interested enough to pick up the third book, especially since it promises to explore the explosive Team Lauren v. Team Heidi seasons of "The Hills"? Probably. But that doesn't excuse that this is a significant let-down with a horrible message for teen girls and excruciating pacing.
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on May 5, 2012
The book starts a little slow... The novel touches a number of themes such as alcoholism,being with someone who abuses you, betrayal, and hipocrisy being the main theme of the novel. I loved it, it was well written, which actually came as a surprise, really. I couldn't stop reading it, I finished it in two days, and I thought that the themes that covered the novel were smart. I lot of these things actually happen in everyone's life...

Brief Summary

Jane goes to vacation with Madison and she spends some days with her, when she returns to L.A. and to her apartment, the drama starts again...*** SPOILERS******Jane decides she makes a wrong move, and that she's guilty,asks for his forgiveness, and returns with him. Madison keeps using Jane, while she feels guilty for using her. She decides it's best to use her, because she wants to be famous instead of making friends. We also see a side of Gaby that we haven't seen before, and Scarlett gets romantic with a guy. **** END OF SPOILERS****
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on May 17, 2016
This was such a good follow up to the first book in the series. The stories are funny and easy to read and they provide just enough drama to keep you entertained. I really enjoy series like this because they are light hearted and good to read anytime.
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on February 10, 2010
I read the 1st book, and purchased this one yesterday, due to being snowed in in NYC I was given a full day of relaxing at home. This book is a fun, light hearted read that makes the time fly by. I am in my mid-twenties, and enjoyed this book. The writing isn't complex, but you have to take the book for what it is. If you enjoy fiction, somewhat chick-lit, you will enjoy this book. It keeps you going, and I read the entire book in about 3 hours. Cute interesting story, touching on some subjects that most girls deal with.
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on January 30, 2012
Truly dedicated Lauren Conrad fans who have started the L.A. Candy series will appreciate how Lauren's writing skills seem to improve in this second part of the series. The storyline picks up more, and character situations become a little more interesting. The only critical review I have about Sweet Little Lies, is that each chapter in the beginning reintroduced the characters & their situational theme again (as it was introduced in L.A Candy). It really wasn't necessary & was somewhat annoying. I'm sure that most people who pick up the book a) know that they probably should've read L.A. Candy first, and b) The book really wasn't interesting enough to stand on it's own-- and reintroducing everything was a futile attempt. I would've rather there just be a disclaimer in the front of the book suggesting to read the books in order, than to have have to re-read an overview of each character, when they appear in the second book. A simple solution would to simply put pics of the books on one of the copy-write pages: LA Candy, Sweet Little Lies, Sugar & Spice, and The Fame Game (Coming in April). That way, those who may be reading out of order, have the choice to go back and re-read the first book(s) & those who started w/LA Candy can read through without feeling like they were reading LA Candy all over again. Again, this is probably the book (of the 3 out, so far) that will hook you & get you into the series. It's light reading, but could use a few adjustments.
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on January 31, 2016
Since I happened to bought L.A. Candy(the first series of this book), I can't stop reading it. I already have finished this, even though I'm not usually a book person but be waiting for a delivery of the third series.
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on January 24, 2014
I got the first book of the L.A. Candy series for Christmas and I read it in no time. I could not resist buying "Sweet Little Lies" and I have to say I did like it a lot. It is really easy to read and entertaining. If you liked the first book, you will like the second. I don't want to give anything away from the story, but I had the feeling it had more of an ending than the first book. I haven't bought the thrid book yet, but I am sure I will some time soon! I would recommend buying the this book, if you liked the first one. It is written in the same style and the storyline develops further.
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on May 24, 2013
Tried the first book because I thought it would be interesting since the author actually lived this experience. It ended abruptly, like a season finale, so I had to check out book two. I enjoyed this book. Makes me wonder how much reality there is on reality TV.
Again, the abrupt ending.
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on September 8, 2013
i think this book was an alright book for just to read if your really bored, its not something very interesting. it doesnt really have a good theme setup to it & the characters are all over the place. sometimes id get confused on who lauren conrad was talking about or metioning. she would use very mainstream words, i think that this book would be more interesting if it had some vivid words. but for the project i did in my english class i had to pick words i didnt really understand and it was very hard finding them. i only found about a couple every chapter or 3 . this book isnt the worst, but its not something that chick flick!
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on September 14, 2013
got my book in the mail and began reading. still happy with my purchuse the book had minor bends i the corners and minimal water damage on some pages but its used its understandable im happy with my product over all.
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