Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harmless” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,290 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Best friends Emma, Anna, and Mariah are out doing something they shouldn't. They make up a story so they won't get in trouble at home. It seems like the easy way out. What happens next challenges their friendship, their community, their relationships with their families, and their sense of themselves.
Told in the voices of the three girls who must learn to live with the li
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Ember (first published February 6th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Harmless, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Harmless

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
this is a story that details the consequences of lies. when three girls get exposed in a teensy white lie, they decide to tell a much bigger lie because "go big or go home", right?? and "going home" will get them grounded.

"going big" will have much more serious consequences, but youth is shortsighted. and dumb. so very dumb.

for a while, the lying thing works out quite well - they even end up looking pretty heroic and get sympathy shopping sprees, and boys with curiosities. but then the lie catch
Emily Cassady
Oct 30, 2007 Emily Cassady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA readers and parents
Mariah, Anna, and Emma all come together during their freshman year at ODS. Mariah has an older boyfriend at public school who constantly is giving her hickeys. When the girls become friends, Mariah introduced Anna and Emma to his friends. There was alcohol at the party and Emma ended up having sex with one of the boys she just met. This fundamentally alters Emma. She knows it was not rape, but she also knows she wasn’t ready. She silently struggles with this issue.
Meanwhile, the other girls ar
Brian Herrera
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW, that was INTENSE. I haven't felt that uncomfortable reading a book since The Shining. Mariah, Emma, and Anna told a big lie. And this is what happened. I was so uncomfortable reading this because I WAS a teenage girl, and I'll soon HAVE a teenage girl. And these girls were not bad girls. I or you or anyone could have a lapse in judgement as a teenager and make such a mistake, and then not have the maturity to correct it. The three different points of view made the story really strong. Anna ...more
Kristen "Kirby"
Didn't enjoy it.

I felt the major conflict, 3 girls lying about being nearly raped as a cover for being out partying, was unrealistic. I would hope that 15 year old girls wouldn't believe such a story is taken lightly and craft that sort of lie. Sure, they'd fib, say they met up with someone and got a ride someplace, but claim to be attacked? Doubt it. (Being a teen myself, I wouldn't concoct such a story.)

The characters were highly unlikeable, by not only sticking to their lie, but reeling in an
Jasmine Drayton
Apr 28, 2014 Jasmine Drayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys mysteries and consequences
Harmless is about three girls who are best friends. One day they go out to a party without their parents knowing. At the party some of the boys stake interest and In them. Before they know what's happening, they find out that their parents don't know where they are. Their parents didn't find them where they said they were going to be. They didn't want to get in trouble so they made up a little white lie to cover the truth. But this lie turns into a big lie that will change their lives forever.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

Everyone's told lies. Most lies aren't even that bad. They don't hurt anyone...they're just harmless.

One night, Mariah, Anna, and Emma are off at an older boy's house, instead of at the movies like they said they would be. But when their parents show up at the movies and can't find them anywhere, they are caught in their lie. They're okay, but they don't want to be grounded for life. Telling a little lie would be a lot easier than telling the truth,
Nov 04, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yafiction
Emma, Anna and Mariah are somewhat unlikely friends: Mariah is the girl everybody would like to be, Anna is frumpy and unkempt, and Emma has always hung around with Anna in the background. When the three decide to go to Mariah's boyfriend's house for a party, they have a good time hanging out with a few of the local high school guys. A good enough time that they decide to do it again the following weekend.

However, this time the parents begin to ask questions. Panicked, the three girls concoct a
Nov 06, 2007 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story about how small lies can turn big. Well, their lie wasn't so small, but the consequences were much more far reaching than the girls ever imagined. The voices of the characters, 3 freshman girls, are distinct and lend believability to an otherwise after-school-special kind of story. Explores the usual theme suspects; popularity, family relationships, individuality, etc but the real heavy hitters are teen sexuality, violence and self acceptance. Yeah yeah, I know. What's new? But Har ...more
May 19, 2016 Lyrazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The summary in the back of the book is what caught my attention. Three girls named Anna, Emma, and Mariah do something they aren't suppose to do, and try to make up a lie to cover up their other lie. As their lives goes on the little lie they told seems to unfold piece by piece. Their friendship begins to be questioned, the relationship with their families slowly decrease. How could some little lie affect so much?

As I started to read I couldn't get enough of it. This book pulled me in, the ma
Brandie McVicker
It was a harmless lie. “There was a man. He had a knife. He attacked us down by the river.” The book “Harmless” by Dana Reinhardt is a nonfiction story. Dana writes “Harmless” about 3 girls who told a simple lie that they didn’t think would be a big deal. Do they get into trouble? Do they tell the truth? Do they let somebody get into trouble? To find out you have to read “Harmless” by Dana Reinhardt.
This is a great book. I kept reading it and could not put it down. I would stay up late readin
Oct 15, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is what I know about the truth, the farther you get away from it, or it gets away from you, the harder it is to tell.” In Harmless, the three main characters discover that one harmless lie can grow to get them in a lot of trouble. If only the lie they told had actually been harmless. This story is based on three best friends making up a lie about where they had been one night, just to keep them out of trouble with their parents. That one lie changes everything. Harmless is a suspenseful pa ...more
Nov 02, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anna wants to be popular.
Mariah wants more time with her older boyfriend.
Emma wants to hang out with her brother and his girlfriend.
These three friends lie about going to a party. Afraid they'll get in trouble for being very late for curfew, they concoct a story about Emma being attacked, and Anna and Mariah fighting off the attacker.
Just a little lie, right? Nothing can go wrong if they stick to the story, right?

HARMLESS, told in short chapters by the three friends, is a fast paced, compelling
Mar 07, 2016 LaVonne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. I really enjoyed it, and think it would be a great book to use in the classroom. It can teach students that one little lie may not be as innocent as they think. It also could teach students that continuing to lie is probably not the best choice, if your lies are hurting someone else you need to speak up and tell the truth.
This book is about three girls who become good friends. They sneak off one night to go to a party at someone else’s house but tell their parents they we
Feb 09, 2011 Sheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful. Everyone should read this! It is scary to think how often this happens and how often those people living on the margins are accused of crimes and misdemeanors when they are completely innocent. Repeating hearsey -just as dangerous. Reinhardt makes the reader question themselves. Reading this book should make us all a bit more selfaware.
Mar 23, 2015 kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult, 2015

Emma, Mariah, and Anna are three upper middle class girls who go out drinking and partying one night with boys and end up making up a lie about it. The community believes them, their parents sympathize with them, and the police eventually catch a suspect. In the end it all becomes too much and the story unravels, to devastating consequences.

It was ok, I finished it. It wasn't horrible, but I never quite got sucked in. The characters weren't likeable, nor were they believable. All of them see
Mara Halpern
Life is going just fine, until they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, attending a party they shouldn’t be at. When their parents discover they are nowhere near where they said they would be, Harmless, by Dana Reinhardt, is an book. It tells the story of three best friends, Anna, Emma, and Mariah. Life is going just fine, until they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, attending a party they shouldn’t be at. When their parents discover they are nowhere near where they said the ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three girls sneak off to a party. To avoid getting in trouble with their parents, they make up a story: they were attacked, and one of them was almost raped. I really felt the girls' unease and dread as the lie grew beyond their control. Lying is bad, kids.
Abby Woodhouse
Dec 22, 2014 Abby Woodhouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, young-adult
I liked this book SO much more than I thought I was going to. Watch my full review of the book here:
Fifi Barash
Harmless, by Dana Reinhardt, is a book about three best friends named Mariah, Emma, and Anna. Everything is normal until the night of the party. Their next choice will change their lives forever, and will put their friendship to the test.
Dana Reinhardt’s writing is very good and kept me engaged but I think it could have been more explanatory at times. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys strong female characters and romance because romance is a very strong topic in the book and Emma,
Dec 13, 2007 Nono rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yabooks
I really liked this one. A story about how a small lie can have a life of it's own. Also about good kids making bad choices. The characters were likeable and totally believable.
Nov 02, 2015 Hhslibrary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will admit that this is not a work of literary genius. But its merit lies in how universally true/plausible it is. Imagine a very average trio of high school friends. One of them gains access to an older, cooler crowd and gets an invitation to a party. Successfully sneaking to this party leads to a second weekend of sneaking out, but this time they are caught. Rather than confess that they've been hanging with an older crowd, they make up a story that spins out of control. How does a series of ...more
Oct 08, 2014 Lilah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Harmless, by Dana Reinhardt is about three best friends Anna, Mariah and Emma and a life changing lie. When the three girls lie, and go to a party they shouldn't have gone to, and their parents find out, their plan falls apart. They end up telling a lie, and their parent are determined to punish someone. The police are involved, and the girls have to work together to get through their rough times. This is an exciting book with a lot of romance throughout this story. Many times there was too much ...more
Trish Simon
Feb 13, 2014 Trish Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the book was very good. It was about these three girls named Mariah, Anna and Emma. They went to the same school together. Emma and Anna had been best friends for like forever. Emma met Mariah at school and they had to work on some project together and that's when they became friends. Then Anna came in the picture and her and Mariah became friends too. Mariah was popular at school, she was dating a senior named DJ. But people called her names like really nasty names but they weren't tr ...more
I'm gonna be blunt: I am straight-up grateful that this book exists.

I've seen loads of YA lit about rape and general assault and the seriousness and fallout from that, but this is actually one of only a few I've seen that deals with the seriousness of false accusations and the potential consequences of it.

It doesn't get talked about as much; there are a lot of people who are made very, very uncomfortable by the idea that a woman would lie about the kind of assault like the girls lie about in thi
May 20, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harmless, a young adult fiction book written by Dana Reinhardt, takes place in Orsonville, a small town in which everyone knows everything that is happening. The three main characters, Anna, Emma, and Mariah, are all freshman at a private high school in Orsonville. Mariah is very popular, as she has dated many seniors at the local public high school. Anna and Emma are best friends and hardly anyone at their school notices them. Their friendship, status at school, and lives all change by the end ...more
Mrs. Tongate
May 14, 2012 Mrs. Tongate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, teen
Emma, Ann, and Mariah are out late one Friday night doing something they shouldn't. The three girls are just trying to get out of trouble by making up one little "harmless" story. However, it turns out not to be so harmless after all.

Emma, Anna and Mariah are freshmen in high school and best friends. One night they lie to their parents and attend a party with a bunch of senior guys from a neighboring high school. When they are caught in the lie, the three girls invent a story about being attacke
Aug 11, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books-read
To avoid getting in trouble at home, three, ninth grade girls: Mariah, Anna and Emma, make up a story about a strange man trying to attack Emma in the park on a Friday night. The truth of the matter was that these three freshmen girls were at an underage drinking party, not where they told their parents they would be.

When the parents of the girls get the police involved, one lie becomes so much more. The teachers and community are outraged, that a ninth grade girl was almost raped, and soon they
This is a story of three girls who came up with a lie to cover up the truth. They told their parents that they were attacked by an unknown man by the river, when in truth they had been at a party. I don't want to go into to much detail about the story its self (id hate to ruin it for anyone). but I gave this book 3 stars because for me their was always something missing and I really had to force myself to finish the last 40 or so pages. I was into the book right off the bat, mostly because I wan ...more
Harmless by Dana Reinhardt is about three adolescent girls who try to avoid being caught in a lie by telling a bigger one. The difference in the two lies is that being caught in the first would have only resulted in their own suffering, while the success of the second brought suffering mostly to an innocent vagrant, but also to the girls’ families, school, and even their community. As a result of the second lie, the girls are forced to face questions not only about who they want to be but also a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Quad
  • Safe
  • Almost Home
  • Head Case
  • Something Rotten (Horatio Wilkes Mysteries, #1)
  • Fake ID (Hunted, #1)
  • Remembering Raquel
  • Quaking
  • Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico
  • The Fold
  • Holdup
  • Ricochet
  • If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
  • Finding Daddy
  • Guyaholic (V Valentine, #2)
  • What Happened to Cass McBride?
  • The Missing Girl
  • Strays
Why don't you have a bio section?

Because I hate writing about myself.

But wouldn't that be easier than answering a whole bunch of FAQs?

Maybe. Probably. Go on...

So where are you from?

I'm from Los Angeles, but now I live in San Francisco. Except for the summers where I go back to Los Angeles in search of the sun.

What are you doing when you aren't writing?

Laundry, usually. Sometimes dishes. And I re
More about Dana Reinhardt...

Share This Book

“There's no going back from what happened. You can go back and understand the past, but you can't go back and change it.” 18 likes
“Sometimes things happen. Things happen even when you don't intend them to happen. Maybe at the beginning you had good intentions, or intentions you thought were harmlessm but before you knew it things got out of your control.” 17 likes
More quotes…