Trusting You & Other Lies by Nicole Williams
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Kindle E-Book
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Total Pages: 304
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this impacted my opinion of this book or the review provided below.
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’s going to happen is going to happen. It’s your choice if you sink or swim.”
This was a very cute contemporary YA that delivered exactly what I would expect a YA contemporary to deliver. It focuses on Phoenix, a soon to be high school senior whose family is going through a rough time and decides to spend the summer getting “back to nature” at a family summer camp. Though her family is simply participating in the camp activities and enjoying the summer, Phoenix opts to be a camp counselor in order to earn money for a car and college. So kudos to Phoenix, because I totally would have chosen the “sleep in, have fun, enjoy summer” route. This is actually a nice segue into what I want to talk about first – the setting of the book! S U M M E R C A M P! Maybe it’s just because I never went to a sleep away summer camp as a child, but the setting was so wonderful and magical. I love camping (well – I guess GLAMPING (though I kind of hate that word), because I don’t do tents, I’m more of a trailer/cabin kind of person) and I love outdoor activities and I most definitely love disconnecting and getting back to nature, so it really sounds like an awesome way to spend the summer. I think for the purposes of this book, it offered Phoenix and her family the opportunity to get “back to the basics” and try to resolve the issues that they were experiencing. It also brought them out of their comfort zone, which does wonders for perspective and attitude.
In terms of Phoenix as the main character, I have mixed feelings. First, I truly loved the voice of the character, it felt real and relatable. She was sarcastic and a bit childish in the sense that she gave silly nicknames to things (for example: she referred to Callum as Camp Counselor America), which I enjoyed. However, she was a bit too selfish for my taste (in terms of everyone except for her little brother). There were also a few too many eye roll moments where how she was acting or reacting was annoying, like how she somehow forgot something that had her infuriated prior. YOU DON’T FORGET THINGS THAT YOU WERE THAT FURIOUS ABOUT! Also, while she did grow at a character throughout the book, it just felt too rushed for me, and a bit unrealistic.
One thing I wish was done a bit better was character development. Most of the development efforts were focused on Phoenix, which makes sense considering she’s the main, but it was TOO much. I feel that it would have helped give the overall story more depth if some of the secondary characters were built up a bit more. Even Callum, the next largest character, is seriously lacking in the depth department. They throw out some information about him, information which should have a serious impact on his personality and why he does the things that he does or is the way that he is, and instead it’s simply stated and then brushed under the rug as no big deal. But then something else from his past, which is SO DUMB IN MY OPINION, has the biggest impact ever on him. It all just doesn’t add up. The same goes for Phoenix’s father, who is such a huge driving force behind why her family is struggling and why Phoenix is hating on her family, yet we are given minimal information about him and he’s given like zero page time to help build his portion of the story.
Overall, though this certainly wasn’t perfect, it was a cute story and I did enjoy it! I suppose this may be considered a slight spoiler by some, but really it shouldn’t be because it’s her name, but the whole “bird names” joke between Callum and Phoenix reminded me of The Notebook. At one point, Phoenix even thought: “He’s a bird. I’m a bird.” or something very similar, and I couldn’t get these images out of my mind:
How big of an impact do settings have on your book reading experience?