When North Anchorage High School student and rising star is found dead at the bottom of the film club staircase, everyone assumes it was an accident. After all, the stairs are poorly lit, and a person in a hurry could easily miss a step and take a tumble. Besides, who would want to kill someone so universally loved? Except, it turns out, the dead girl wasn’t loved at all.
Virginia and Katie, amateur sleuths and former 8th grade sweethearts, are determined to find out what really happened to their classmate, a girl keeping some very dangerous secrets. But first they must work through their own issues, like why did Katie and her parents suddenly leave Alaska, and why does she want nothing to do with Virginia now—three years later?
Can Virginia and Katie find their way back together and trust each other to tell the truth?
GCLS Goldie Awards
Can I Trust Her? — Winner, Young Adult Fiction.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"As a suburban Midwest gal for most of my life, I was awestruck by Alaska. Half ton moose clambering up the front deck to gaze in through the picture window, shoveling a mountain of snow from the roof so it wouldn’t fall in, digging a tunnel from the back porch to the ninety-foot blue spruce for the dogs, finding bear scat in the yard (okay, later I learned it was loose moose poop, but still), I loved it all. So it made sense to set my first young adult mystery/contemporary romance novel, Can I Trust Her? in Alaska where I lived and taught technology for seven years.
Badass Virginia Eaton and the oft-times timid Katie McRanes are near and dear to my heart. Matty, Tally, Lilly, Yoon-hi, Zach, David, Sonya, and Rocky are blends of former students. Kids in my afterschool and summer filmmaking classes introduced me to young adult novels. And my secret confession? I’m weirdo Mr. Ivy.
I live in southern Colorado now and am hard at work on a sequel, Is She Lying? with many of the same characters I hope you’ll love."
Brady R. - I found this to be a thrill ride! I love the background of Katie and Virginia and the awkwardness of their past relationship! I enjoyed the twists and turns and the dynamics of their relationship! I also liked the backstory for Katie, sometimes I think it can take away from the mystery, but Frances Lucas intertwined them well! I also love that there is going to be more books, I can’t wait to read what Virginia and Katie get up to next! And there has to be more Matty, he was absolutely fabulous! I highly recommend this if you like mysteries especially ones with LGBTQ+ characters!
Rubie C. - Can I Trust Her? Is Frances Lucas debut novel, and I must say it’s a wonderful read. I enjoyed the writing in this book. I did feel like the pacing was perfectly executed. Virginia and Katie, plus the “side” characters were so fun and realistic! I really enjoy YA mysteries like this one here. It kept me guessing. Kept me glued to my Kindle. And me not wanting this story to end so soon.
Della B. - Can I Trust Her? is a well written and engaging story. The second chance romance works in seamlessly with the mystery while both keep the reader on their toes. Lucas has a deep understanding of high school teens and life in Alaska which shines through in the storytelling. I was thoroughly entertained by this novel and highly recommend it.
Heather D. - Perfectly paced, written, executed. Characters are well crafted with a background that’s layered. This story was impossible to put down.
Robyn D. - I loved this story! I was rooting for Virginia and Katie from the beginning, as their story was initially told in flashbacks to when the girls were in middle school and first falling in love, interspersed between shots of the present, as one of their classmates is found dead in a stairwell. The girls' families couldn't be more different, with Virginia growing up loved and cared for, while Katie grows up doubting her worth and watching as her mom goes through the impossible and barely comes out alive.
I love the representation of a wide variety of teens in this novel, and felt like I was being shown both what it's like to be white in Alaska, as well as the discrimination Native kids face in school and in their everyday lives. A definite read for teens who love mystery, it's also a great book for teens looking for queer representation outside of coming out stories. Can't wait to add it to my classroom library!
Elizabeth W. - I’m not generally one for mysteries or thrillers, but this book captivated me. There were so many elements in the plot to keep you guessing. I loved the side characters, Matty, Yoon-hi, Lilly, Tally and the girls’ families. They made the story feel whole. The little snippets of facts about Alaska throughout and in the Author’s Notes did not go unnoticed. I had no idea about the 2005 same sex legal case that granted same sex couples equal protection as heterosexual couples in regard to health, pension, and insurance benefits. I cannot wait for Is She Lying? next year!
Nathalie D. - This mystery YA book was an enjoyable read as we dive right into the story with the death of a classmate. Was it an accident or was it a murder? I love how our main characters complement each other and have the history of trying to solve mysteries. So, when Katie returns after some time away and a fellow student dies, it doesn't take much for Virginia to convince Katie to investigate it with her. This book is great for everybody that loves a good mystery with a little sapphic on the side.
Raelynn S. - Oooh this book was filled with so many things: murder, mystery, deception, family drama and trauma, culture, heartbreak and love. I really enjoyed the way the author wrote the MC’s past into the present using the girl’s different perspectives to show what lead them to their current situation. Their lives were changed in heart-aching ways, because people couldn’t be true to themselves but ultimately love wins. The mystery in the story was also well written as it kept a reader guessing and wondering who was the culprit, reminding me a bit of Veronica Mars or Nancy Drew. I really look forward to more in this series and this cute crime solving couple.
Katy G. - Thrillers and YA—two perfectly matched genres, and this is a perfect example. The two main characters are excellently written, each with a poignant back story and a fierce love for one another which can definitely be felt; they certainly bring the mystery they're investigating to life. I really felt part of this story, which isn't easily done, and I just thought it was fantastic all round—with a cracking twist too.