You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: June 13th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Adult, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Summer and Leo would do anything for each other. Inspired by the way each has had to carve her place in a hostile and unforgiving world, and united by the call of the open road, they travel around sunny California in Summer’s tricked-out Land Cruiser. It’s not a glamorous life, but it gives them the freedom they crave from the painful pasts they’ve left behind. But even free spirits have bills to pay. Luckily, Summer is a skilled pickpocket, a small-time thief, and a con artist–and Leo, determined to pay her own way, has learned a trick or two.

Eager for a big score, Leo catches in her crosshairs Michael Forrester, a self-made billionaire and philanthropist. When her charm wins him over, Leo is rewarded with an invitation to his private island off the California coastline for a night of fabulous excess. She eagerly anticipates returning with photos that can be sold to the paparazzi, jewelry that can be liquidated, and endless stories to share with Summer.

Instead, Leo disappears.

On her own for the first time in years, Summer decides to infiltrate Michael’s island and find out what really happened. But when she arrives, no one has seen Leo–she’s not on the island as far as they know. Plus, there was only one way on the island–and no way off–for the coming days. Trapped in a scheme she helped initiate, could Summer have met her match?

First Line:

I learned to pick a pocket when I was about eight.

You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard

Summer and Leo are best friends and would do anything for each other. Summer, abandoned by her free spirit mother as a teenager, took Leo in when she found her panhandling one day. From that day forward, they have survived by doing petty crimes and trying to con the rich together. So, it was no surprise when Leo, eager for a big score, latches on to the tech billionaire, Michael Forrester. It is also no surprise when Leo is swept away to Michael’s private island. But, when Leo doesn’t answer any of Summer’s texts and when she doesn’t return from the island, Summer gets worried. Summer’s plan: to infiltrate the island, look for Leo, and get out. While infiltrating the island is easy, finding Leo isn’t. Met with more questions than answers, Summer intensifies her search. What happened to Leo? Can Summer find her? Will Summer (and possibly Leo) be able to escape the island?

I am a big fan of psychological thrillers. They make up about 75% of what I read (the other 25% is split between romances, dystopia, mystery, and different genres). So, when I kept seeing You Can Trust Me floating around the blogosphere, I knew this book would be right up my alley. I am glad I read this book because it was a great read!!

You Can Trust Me is a fast-paced book set mainly in Los Angeles and an island off Catalina Island’s coast. The fast pace of this book suited the storyline. Why? Because You Can Trust Me takes place within a week of Leo disappearing. Any slower pace would have ruined the storyline.

You Can Trust Me has dual 1st person POV storylines. The storylines break into Summer and Leo right from the beginning. But then the author does something interesting. She goes back a few days to detail what Leo was doing while keeping Summer’s POV in the present. I liked that. It upped the thriller aspect of the book and kept me guessing what would happen next.

You Can Trust Me has two major storylines and one significant secondary storyline introduced about halfway through. The two major storylines are centered around Summer and Leo. The author details their backgrounds and how they ended up together. Then the storyline splits between Summer’s search for Leo and Leo’s time on the island. The back and forth between the two storylines was almost exhausting in places, and I was on edge, wondering if Summer would find Leo.

The author introduced the secondary storyline halfway through the book. I didn’t think anything of this storyline until it exploded towards the end of the book. There was a point where I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was absorbed when Summer and Leo’s storylines were merged back together.

I liked Summer, even if she did some questionable things. I did find her backstory very sad. She was born without a birth certificate, and her mother refused to tell Summer her last name or anything about her (the mother’s past). Summer was left to fend for herself when her mother abandoned her when she was sixteen. Without a birth certificate or a last name, Summer had limited choices of what she could do to support herself. Becoming a petty criminal was the most straightforward and obvious choice. So, I understood why she felt she needed to do something when Leo disappeared. Going to the police wasn’t even a thought. She was going to save her friend.

I liked Leo, too. Her backstory was even more tragic than Summer’s. Leo lived with an overwhelming sense of guilt. She was the last person to talk to her sister before her sister was found dead in a forest. She blamed herself, and it did seem like her parents blamed her too. Leo’s way of dealing with her trauma was to leave. I liked Leo’s enthusiasm for the crimes that she did with Summer. She was desperate to get a big score, so she took the chance with Michael.

I was very cautious about Michael. He seemed almost too good to be true. I am going to leave it there because, well, anything else about Michael will be a huge spoiler.

The psychological thriller angle of the book was well-written, and it kept my attention. I invested in both Summer’s and Leo’s stories.

The mystery angle of You Can Trust Me was terrific. Again, I can’t go into why but I will say that a couple of massive twists surprised me towards the end of the book. I was internally screeching when the author revealed everything; that is how explosive everything was.

The end of You Can Trust Me did disappoint me. After everything that happened, it was a letdown. I was expecting some closure with a couple of the storylines, but the only closure I got was with Summer’s. Again, I can’t go into details because of spoilers but arrrggggh!!!

I would recommend You Can Trust Me to anyone over 21. There is language, moderate violence, and moderate sexual situations (the actual sex scenes were fade to black).

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, and Wendy Heard for allowing me to read and review You Can Trust Me. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of You Can Trust Me, then you will enjoy reading these books:

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