Rated Reads

Trusting You and Other Lies

by Nicole Williams

Rated: Moderate

Phoenix Ainsworth is facing a long summer. Her parents have decided to take her and her little brother to a family camp in Arizona for the whole school break. Considering that she’s from Santa Monica and is used to hanging out with friends at the beach during vacation, she’s not eager to be bunking in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Add to that the strange notion of spending plenty of time with her parents, who haven’t been very involved in her life for a while, mainly since her father lost his job a couple years earlier, and it’s not looking fun at all. Phoenix’s parents haven’t been there for her, and on top of that, they’re clearly keeping secrets about how bad their financial situation is. She’s sick of them saying everything’s fine when she knows it’s definitely not — she just found an eviction notice in a pile of papers — and she wants to be told the truth so they can face reality together.

Though she’s never camped before, Phoenix has a job lined up to be a counselor, thanks to an old family friend who runs the camp. She’s not too thrilled about the job itself but is glad for the opportunity to earn some money to buy a car. Her little brother, Harry, is pretty excited about the camp, and he immediately jumps in and starts making friends and being busy with all the activities.

Meanwhile, Phoenix meets Callum, the uber-capable counselor who’s been going to and working at the camp for a long time. She can’t help but notice he’s cute but does NOT want to get involved with anyone after getting cheated on recently by her now-ex-boyfriend. He is fun and friendly at times but then when he’s assigned to train her, he’s pretty strict and exacting.

Trying to figure out how to deal with Callum, trying to lead when she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and worrying about her family and future make it a complicated summer.

Trusting You and Other Lies is a pretty good summer read, with characters to care about and a fairly believable setup. There were still a number of times that I, as an adult and parent, was just kind of annoyed by Phoenix. But she did seem to ring true as a typical teen. And some things that happened seemed to be a little forced to make the plot come together the way the author wanted. Overall, an enjoyable summer read but nothing I’ll love and come back to.

Rated: Moderate, for some mild and moderate language and crude sexual references here and there. Sexual behavior is mostly kissing and making out, but one scene has the characters talking about probably not having sex but then nearly going “all the way” anyway.


*I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Trusting You and Other Lies
  • by Nicole Williams
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: