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Harmless

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  1,313 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
There was a man. He had a knife. He attacked us down by the river.

It was just a harmless little lie.

Anna, Emma and Mariah concoct a story about why they're late getting home one night—a story that will replace their parents' anger with
concern. They just have to stand by it. No matter what. Suddenly the police are involved, and the town demands that someone be punished. And
...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published February 6th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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karen
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
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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
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Karen
Aug 30, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is one of the best young adult books I have read in a long time. Very realistic, not sappy, dealing with real issues high school girls go through. Awesome portrayal of consequences that accompany bad choices and actions. This book reminded me of the Pretty Little Liars series but on a more mature level. The story is told from the alternating point of view of three girls who decide to tell one harmless little lie.
Brian Herrera
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa
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
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Amber Gibson for TeensReadToo.com

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,
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Erin
Jun 15, 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
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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.
I
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Jenny
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
Sheryl
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.
Lisa
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
Nov 08, 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cU1k...
Nono
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.
NebraskaIcebergs
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
Kristen
Feb 17, 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
Despair Speaking
Well, that filled me a whirlwind of emotions that I have to take a break to sort things out. It's not good to write while you're still emotional because you might end up typing words you didn't mean to write or end up scoring the book more than it ought to simply because it managed to break your heart near the end.

Harmless is a book about how a simple lie was blown into some sort of scandal that will change the whole town. We read from three perspectives, from Anna to Emma to Mariah. It's someti
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Trish Simon
Jan 03, 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
Zoë
Jul 22, 2010 Zoë rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, ebook
"This is what I know about the truth: the farther you get away from it, or it gets from you, the harder it is to tell."

Harmless by Dana Reinhardt is the story of three friends, Emma, Anna and Mariah who after getting caught in a lie, they didn't really attend the movie they told their parents they were, make up a bigger lie to cover it up. There was a man. He had a knife. He attacked us down by the river. So is planted the seed of a crime which never really occurred, and as it grows it becomes
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Kimberly Hirsh
Jun 03, 2007 Kimberly Hirsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of what really happened. This is the truth.

When Emma moved to Orsonville back in the third grade, Anna introduced herself. They soon became fast friends, and Emma hasn't really spent time with anyone else. Now the girls are in ninth grade, and the glamorous and edgy Mariah has introduced them to her circle of friends, broadening their social horizons greatly. One night the girls tell their parents that they're going to the movies when really they're going to Mariah's boyfriend'
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Karin
Oct 06, 2009 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

Anna, Emma, and Mariah want to go to an older boy’s house for an informal party – the problem? They know their parents won’t let them go. Together they decide to tell their parents they are going to a movie for the evening and head to the party instead. As time does, it gets away from them and before they know it hours have passed. Realizing the movie ended a long time ago, the girls
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Caroline
Oct 26, 2010 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was about three girls, who became best friends extremely quickly. Mariah, was dating a senior boy from the public school. So, they all go together to a party. Things happen, one of the girls ends up having sex, Mariah and her boyfriend break up, and they all drink. Everything seems to be fine until Anna's mother calls her, asking her where she is. They get a ride back to town, but sit by the river trying to figure out a plan so they do not get in to trouble. They make up a lie, that a ...more
Shaya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Noa Meshorer
Harmless is a story about three girls named Anna, Mariah and Emma. Anna and Emma are best friends since they were little, but Mariah (the girl that everybody would like to be) become their friend and they start hanging out a lot together. Mariah's older boyfriend (who is in senior year) invites them to a party at his house for the weekend. They lie to their parents in order to go to the party. Encouraged by their successful lie, they do it again the next week by telling their parents that they ...more
Taylor
Dec 08, 2011 Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra
Jun 17, 2008 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anna: “This is what I know about truth: the farther you get away from it, or it gets away from you, the harder it is to tell. If only I had told the truth that night.”

Mariah: “Making up the lie seemed like the easy way out. A harmless little lie.”

When Mariah’s boyfriend D.J. invites Mariah, Anna and Emma to a party at his house while his parents are out of town, the girls tell their parents they are going to a movie. The girls are excited about the party and at first everyone is having fun but t
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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
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Melissa
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
Mire Ajeti
Ever since the 3rd grade, Emma and Anna have been best friends and still strong. But till this new girl, Mariah, comes along. Mariah, a speedy wild beautiful girl, enters this town with a reputation already! As the girls grow closer and become more like sisters, they all let each other in on their secrets and whole life. Having a college year boyfriend, Mariah believes she has to impress and stay with him. The girls plan to have a sleepover with Mariah's older boyfriend and his friends at their ...more
Anna
Feb 10, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens
This isn't a "feel good" kind of book. For most of the story, I felt anger towards all three characters (who are alternating narrators). I thought they were selfish and naive and I kept wishing they would tell the truth and they kept living this huge, horrible lie. Yet, that was the point of the story -- this enormous lie they told -- and despite how angry I felt towards the characters, I still managed to really like this book.

I think it's amazing when authors are able to get you to empathize w
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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
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More about Dana Reinhardt...

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“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.” 16 likes
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