There Will Be Lies walks the line between reality and fantasy

There Will Be Lies walks the line between reality and fantasy


There Will Be Lies
By Nick Lake
ISBN 978 1 4088 531 8
Published by Bloomsbury

Seventeen-year-old Shelby Cooper and her mother Shaylene have an uneasy relationship. The mother is demanding and overly protective, schooling her daughter at home and not allowing her to mix with the other people.

Shelby is kept on a very tight leash, mainly because she is deaf and her mother worries she'll get in trouble without her. When she was little, Shelby had an accident involving boiling liquid which left her scarred, and her mother is determined something like that will never happen again.

But in town one day, Shelby is knocked down by a car, and as she lies in the road, slowly losing consciousness, a coyote walks to her and appears to speak some strange words before Shelby passes out.

Shelby's injuries are not life-threatening, and life looks like it might return to normal. But her mother has been freaked out by the accident, and with no explanation to Shelby, announces that the two of them are leaving town.

Mother and daughter set off on a road trip, during which her mother drops a bombshell about Shelby's father: he's a dangerous man who may be chasing them.

As they travel further away from civilisation, Shelby realises things aren't quite as they were before. Each time she drifts off to sleep she finds herself in an alternate world known as the Dreaming. What is happening? And what are she and her mum really running away from?

The Dreaming is a magical place where Shelby is no longer a victim of her situation. She is befriended by Coyote who talks to her about lies and truth, and she constantly hears a crying child. Is she actually the child?

As Shelby spends more time in the Dreaming, the Coyote tells her she is there to destroy an evil entity called the Crone and save the child whose cries she is hearing. The struggle between truth and lies, and between the real and unreal, becomes more urgent as Shelby's two worlds clash.

Award-winning author Nick Lake's superb There Will Be Lies is a complex and emotionally-charged thrill ride for older teens who want a substantial read. At first the fantasy sequences seem an unnecessary interruption to Shelby's road trip, but Lake knows what he is doing. And the two stories soon collide and lead to a shocking ending that will leave readers wondering how they missed its set-up.

John Millen can be contacted on

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A road trip down the line between reality and fantasy


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