Trusting You & Other Lies
Genre: YA Romance
By Nicole Williams
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.
Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years—do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum—the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out—and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?
“What elevates this novel…is the witty and realistic dialogue and excellent character development.”
It felt like hardly any time had passed at all before the bike slowed when we made it into Flagstaff. Callum took a sudden turn that led away from the main part of the city, and we weren’t on that road long before it opened up into a parking lot.
My arms tightened around him when I scanned the parking lot. Other than the bike’s headlight, I couldn’t make out any-thing else.
“Okay, we’re stopped now. Think you could ease up your death grip on me before you crush my liver?” He parked the bike and turned off the engine.
It was so quiet out here. Scary quiet. “Where are we?” I loosened my grip, but I didn’t let go.
He glanced at me over his shoulder. “Don’t you like a surprise?”
“Not when I’m in the middle of some dark parking lot late at night.”
Callum fought a smile. “It’s barely eight. Not quite the witching hour.”
An owl hooted from somewhere in the woods. I jumped. “Where the hell are we?”
He stopped ﬁghting his smile. “The Lowell Observatory. Perfectly safe and nonthreatening, I swear.”
“What are we observing?”
Callum waited for my arms to drop at my sides before sliding off the bike. “Pretty much anything you want to up there.” He tipped his head and looked up at the sky.
My head followed. “The stars? That’s what we’re going to be looking at?”
“Stars, moons, planets. Take your pick.” He helped me undo the helmet’s chin strap after I fought with it on my own for a few seconds. “This is one of my favorite places.”
“Anywhere,” he answered, pulling a small ﬂashlight from his pocket and turning it on. He pointed it in the direction of a sidewalk and started toward it, making sure I was close beside him.
“How many times have you been here?” I asked.
“I come a few times every summer, more when I was coming here with my family.”
I kept my focus on the light in front of us. With that bright beam, the black didn’t seem so thick around us.
“So are you into astronomy?” I asked.
“You could say that.” When another owl hooted, I didn’t leap out of my boots. This time I barely ﬂinched. Callum’s presence calmed me. “But I didn’t know it the ﬁrst time I came. I only started getting into astronomy a few years ago.”
“Why did you ﬁrst start coming here?” We were getting closer to what I guessed was the observatory, but nothing about it screamed tourist attraction.
“It was Ben’s idea, I guess. He knew about the trouble my brother was getting into at home and that I was following in his footsteps. He has this freaky way of looking at a person and knowing what they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. Those ﬁrst couple of summers at camp he used to be able to take one look at me and know when I was about to do something I’d probably regret.” He paused and shook his head. “I really hated Ben at ﬁrst.”
“And now you love him.” I nudged him as we approached a doorway.
“And now I respect him. I appreciate what he’s doing and why he does it.” He turned off the ﬂashlight and held open the door for me.
“So your mom would bring you here to look up at the sky and your problems were solved?”
He chuckled softly. “That’s what Ben tried to sell. He said there was nothing like looking up at the universe to make my problems shrivel into nonexistence.”
“Is that doubt I’m detecting in your voice?”
“That’s I- know- better- from- experience in my voice.” Callum
waved at a lady sitting behind a counter at the front and led me inside. It was dark in here, too, which made me shift a bit closer to Callum. “Ben tried really hard to sell me on the perspective thing, but, I don’t know, looking up at the stars or thinking about the size of the universe didn’t make my issues seem any smaller or less signiﬁcant. They were still the exact same size when I walked out of this place.”
“Then why did you keep coming back?” I asked as he stopped behind the biggest telescope I’d seen in real life.
“Because it got me out of my head, you know?” he answered immediately. “It got me to focus on something else for a while, and even though I’d leave here with the same problems I walked in with, they felt more manageable. More like I could handle them.”
I hadn’t expected him to open up like that. That was becoming a trend when it came to Callum. One minute he came off as the most closed- off person I’d ever met, and the next he could spill his guts. “And then you fell in love with the stars,” I said, watching him as he looked through the telescope, making a few adjustments on the dials.
“And then I did.” He made one last adjustment before motioning me to look. Even though it was dark, his eyes were glowing. I’d seen him in his element this summer, but never like this. If this wasn’t passion, I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen it.
“So you’re saying this place has played a totally insigniﬁ-cant role in your life?” I smiled at him as I moved up to the telescope.
“Completely insigniﬁcant.” He stepped aside to give me room to look.
I wound my hair around one shoulder, closed one eye, and leaned over so I could peek through the eyepiece. I could have been looking at a star just as easily as I could have been looking at a planet or a moon. I didn’t feel my problems drifting away from me by the masses, disappearing into the Milky Way, but just like Callum had said, somehow they felt less overwhelming. Less powerful.
The longer I stared up there, the stronger I felt down here. “I get it,” I whispered after another minute, feeling like the entire universe was staring back at me as I gazed into it.
He took a step closer. “I knew you would.”
Nicole Williams is known for her contemporary romance and new adult novels. Her latest release, Trusting You & Other Lies is a Young Adult romance novel targeting the high school audience. This charming book is more than a first love romance, it’s a story of change, acceptance, self discovery, and individual growth. Something all teenagers are dealing with on a daily basis. They are evolving from dependent children to independent adults while still heavy influenced by their family and friends. They are also paving the path for their future. The pressures of their academic endeavors could make or break their future. The peer pressure and social media also heavily influence their lives. Add family expectations and issues, it makes their lives all the more difficult. Nicole Williams captured all of this in Trusting You & Other Lies.
Readers are first introduced to Phoenix, an angry teenager being forced to spend her summer with her family at a remote camp rather than hanging out with her friends at the beach. She hates her parents because they have been keeping secrets that could destroy her life as she knows it. They seem to be indifferent to her and her younger brother. She cannot imagine why they would want to spend a whole summer together when they can’t even sit down together for a family dinner. To top it off this camp is in a remote area where internet and cell service are sketchy. She’s going to be cut off from her friends completely. The only reason why she’s cooperating a little bit is her younger brother and the job as a camp counselor. Harry is excited about the camp, the activities, and the possibilities of making friends. For her brother she will suck it up. The job as a counselor will earn her enough money to buy a car when she returns back to school.
They say summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will change a person for the better. The first few weeks are a complete disaster. Her family is still not connecting, she’s hopeless at her new job, and her little brother has made friends and no longer needs her as much. Something changes when she gets to know her boss, Callum,the head counselor at the camp. Even though this boy is the same age as her, he’s completely different from anyone she knows. Callum doesn’t take his responsibilities lightly, he holds her to a higher standard and pushes her too much. When she thinks they are becoming friends he pushes her away. Callum seems like he’s got it all together but beneath the surface he has insecurities just like her. He has his own problems and is not immune to the growing pains of becoming an adult.
By the end of the summer Phoenix and Callum walk away from camp different people than they were in the beginning. Phoenix’s family dynamics also change for the better. Life looks a lot different when you open yourself up to new possibilities and accept what life has to offer.
As a parent of teenagers I was impressed how Nicole Williams captured the realities of everyday teenage life. She captured their inner turmoil as well as their exuberant spirit for life. She also captured the modern day family dynamics rather than duplicating the old fashion family dynamics of the past.
I think most teenagers will be able to relate to this novel and appreciate the story.
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.