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Little Black Lies

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Published by: Egmont USA
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Pages: 320
ISBN13: 978-1606840337

 

Synopsis

Sara and her father are moving to Boston from small-town Lundun, Massachusetts. She is going to attend the very prestigious Anton High School—crowned “North America’s Most Elite and Most Bizarre” by TIME magazine, and harder to get into than Harvard. As the new girl, Sara doesn’t know anyone; better yet, no one knows her. This means she can escape her family’s checkered past, and her father can be a surgeon instead of “Crazy Charlie,” the school janitor.

What’s the harm in a few little black lies? Especially if they transform Sara into Anton’s latest “It” girl . . . .But then one of the popular girls at school starts looking into Sara’s past, and her father’s obsessive-compulsive disorder takes a turn for the worse. Soon, the whole charade just might come crashing down . . .

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Praise

"Cohen's creative intelligence and sure-footed prose style ensure the novel is both lively and humourous. Her pacing is sharp, and her language has the capacity to surprise...A mature and more substantial alternative to some of the other high school novels out there."
—Quill & Quire

“I've read and loved every single one of Tish Cohen's books. Little Black Lies is her best book
to date.”
—Lauren Baratz—Logsted, author of Crazy Beautiful

“Tish Cohen is a master storyteller who gives me everything I long for in a book and then some. Loveable, memorable characters, page—turning energy, a use of language that leaves me breathless, fierce intelligence, humour mixed with compassion—in short, this is a zinger of a book that portrays a daughter's deep love for her unbalanced father. Made me sadder than sad, and bursting with hope. This book makes the world a better place.”
—Sheree Fitch, multi—award winning author of The Gravesavers

“With heart, wit, and a good dose of fun, Little Black Lies reminds us that when it comes to life even the smartest of girls has a lot to learn.”
—Jenny O'Connell, author, The Book of Luke and Local Girls

“Tish Cohen's Little Black Lies is a searingly clear—eyed, sharply funny portrait of High—School—Peer—Pressure Gone Wild. Social misfit Sara Black's account of her year at America’s premier institute for hyper—over—achievers is full of gut—punch emotion and compelling insights from a smart girl forced to navigate the treacherous hallways of Anton High——a school of piranhas in kilts and knee—socks. This is a place where good things only seem to happen to bad kids and a good kid has no choice but to do bad things.”
—Lesley Livingston, author of Wondrous Strange and Darklight

Little Black Lies is a funny, poignant tale of high school intrigue taken to the nth degree (and occasionally times Pi). With effortless panache, Tish Cohen creates the ultimate private school story. All the usual suspects are there: the new kid, the popular girl, the unattainable boy . . . but she gives each a unique and unexpected twist. Nor is this book all light and escapist fluff. Cohen tackles such complex issues as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, divorce, and the insane pressures put on students in gifted programs, and she does it with such a deft touch that the book never feels heavy—handed or veers into movie of the week sentimentality. Little Black Lies might be about deception, but it is a brutally honest book with a fabulous sense of humour that keeps you turning the pages right until the very end. In other words:
(wicked sense of humour) + (awesome characters)(searingly astute observations) — sentiment = (one great read)”
—Adrienne Kress author of Alex and the Ironic Gentleman


Excerpt

Rule number one at Anton High—crowned “North America’s Most Elite and Most Bizarre Public School” by Time magazine—no one is admitted after the ninth grade, no matter how thick their coke-bottle glasses.

Think about it. A tuition-free school that practically guarantees a kid’s admittance to the Ivy League college of her choice. In a leafy, historical neighborhood with a half-decent crime rate. With doors flung open to kids from all treads of life. The American Dream with lockers, right? Wrong. Whoever created the place didn’t count on the scholastic hysteria it would breed among the privileged. Regular families, no matter how brilliant their kids, can’t compete with moneyed parents willing to do anything to guarantee little Thompson or Oleander’s future. Even if it means paying $15,ooo per year for a cram school created to prep their wheezing, sneezing urchins for one sparkly moment—the Anton High School entrance exam.

After writing the entrance paper—a brutal test some 11,000 gifted students take in March of their eighth-grade year—only 175 get in. They’re the Cream of the Gifted Crop. The other 10,825, the Lesser Gifteds, have to live with that failure the remainder of their suddenly pointless lives. That Anton is tougher to get into than Harvard will do little to soothe their scrabbed-up egos. Anton grads go on to become U.S. senators, Nobel Prize and Academy Award Winners. Astronauts, Olympic athletes and international chess champions. There was also that brainy Miss America who contorted her body into the Nike symbol for the talent segment, but rumor is she never finished senior year.

All of which explains why the school is considered elite. Why it’s called bizarre is too obvious to mention. It’s 100% stocked with nerds and brainiacs. Forget quarterbacks, starting pitchers, and pom-pom wielding cheerleaders. If they exist at all, they’re probably ashamed of themselves. The real royalty of the school are national robotics war lords, science wizards and mathletes. I’ve even heard there are two kids who are published authors. With all this brain muscle crammed into one Boston high school, you’ve got to expect a whole lot of deviant behavior, right?

So how was I, Sara Black, long-standing math geek from Lundon, Massachusetts, allowed to take the Anton High School entrance exam the summer before 11th grade and get admitted to the most sought-after school in North America?

Simple. My father is the new janitor.