Book Review: “Live Your Best Lie” Proves That Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Live Your Best Lie by author Jessie Weaver is a rousing YA thriller showcasing the hard truth that no social media filter is strong enough to mask the lies we may tell ourselves. Told from multiple points of view interspersed with social media posts and flashbacks, Live Your Best Lie has twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

What is Live Your Best Lie about?

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 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 somehow their secrets are no longer safe… but were they ever?

Sometimes the prettiest Instagram feeds mask the darkest secrets

Summer is the girl that everyone loves to hate, and yet her five million Instagram followers – as well as those who think they know her best – cannot help but be drawn to her. Is it because of her looks? Her fashion? Her philosophy? Or perhaps the secrets she keeps…

Live Your Best Lie is a refreshing and relevant teen thriller novel. Addressing the almighty influence of social media, this story is one among many that was begging to be told, and Weaver did an expertly creative job. Framing it in a murder-mystery setting made it not only more literally interesting from a thriller-genre perspective, but also made it more interesting in theory as one reflects on how far one would go to uphold their reputation, portray a certain image, or keep the ultimate secret hidden. Things are not always what they seem, and yet, the view is so seductively pretty.

The writing style and different points of view – namely that of Grace, Adam, Laney and Cora, intermingled with Summer’s previous Instagram posts – serve this story well and make each character one of interest, depth and intrigue. The characters themselves are all very different from one another, and the fact that I felt invested (more or less) in each character’s version of events is testament to the author’s fine storytelling. I really was kept guessing until the very end and although the ending did seem a little bit left field in the final chapters, it remains a reasonably solid, believable conclusion that tied up many loose ends.

I read this story via audiobook, however I would not recommend listening over reading for this one. Despite the narrator doing an excellent job, the book includes lots of social media posts, hashtags and comments, and hearing a narrator painstakingly read each hashtag and comment to you instead of just glossing over them like you would reading a book (or an actual Instagram post), was tedious and heavy-handed on the ears. I did not know the format of the book going into it, but now that I do, I definitely recommend reading this one with your eyes instead of your ears. It’s a real devious, murky, alarming treat, better to be seen and not heard.

Live Your Best Lie was released on January 24, 2023.

Jess Salafia Ward
Jess Salafia Ward is an Aussie, an attorney and a die-hard Disney fan. She grew up in a city not too far from P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney; and she still enjoys dancing around in Snow White pajamas and serenading her family members with Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon A Dream” (though, unlike Princess Aurora, she is not blessed with the gift of song). Jess is an Elvis-lover like Lilo, and when she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she delights in sharing with fellow fans all things Disney, books, movies and history.