Contemporary · Young Adult books

Masquerading Our Love by Audrey Rich

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way and the thoughts expressed are my own.

Thalia and Christopher’s love story has more than a few challenges to overcome. Set in a couple of neighbouring small towns the two teens accidental fall in love with the one person that they shouldn’t. If that doesn’t have you intrigued I don’t know what will!

In the beginning of the novel, Thalia is consumed by thoughts of a boy she met for half an hour at a local Parade months ago. No matter how hard she tries she can’t get him out of her mind. On top of that, she has to deal with being a transfer student in a challenging new school and the unwanted advances of Dave, the school’s top sleezes-bag. One day at the beach Thalia is a boat accident and rescued by none other than her Parade Guy.

I loved seeing her first meeting with Christoper after months of daydreaming about him. Like many people, she tries to play it cool, downplaying her interest in Christoper for fear he doesn’t feel the same. It was very relatable, making my stomach turn with Thalia’s butterflies and smiling at her amusing thoughts. From the every beginning we were deep in Thalia’s mind, knowing her thoughts and feelings. She was well developed with multiple layers to her personality. Doing well in school, obeying her parents, being a good friend and her religion are all very important to her. It’s hard trying to suss out if your crush is interested in you, let alone knows you exist. Thankfully for Thalia, Christopher confesses he likes her that same day. I was so grateful, I don’t think my nerves couldn’t handle not knowing for much longer.

Unfortunately, that’s when things became complicated. Thalia’s parents are very conservative with a strict rule that she isn’t allowed to date until she turns seventeen. Even when she doesn’t turn seventeen, they have strict dating rules; she can’t go out with a boy they don’t know, it has to be in a group, etc. Such strict rules on dating are something many teenagers can relate to, much to their frustration. But Christoper won’t let that stop him! He’s so into her that he is determined to wait and be her first date after her birthday. I love Christopher, he’s such a sweet, understanding and downright determined guy. He’s determined to jump through so many hoops to date a girl he hardly knows, all the while not knowing if she’ll say yes to going out with him against her parents’ strict dating rules. His joking, teasing banter with his friends is very entertaining but all the time he’s thinking of Thalia, making sure no one’s jokes will upset her. He’s constantly looking out for his sister, Cynthia, even chaperoning her dates like a good, protective brother.

All the characters are well-rounded, developed and interesting. That alone deserves praise. Even the school sleeze has multiple layers to his personality. It feels like the author has taken real people and turned them into a story, but, unlike many that attempt this, it actually works. It sounds like there are a complex line up characters which could make keeping track of them all very confusing. Luckily, there are enough characters that it feels like a real girl’s life in a small town but, not too many that it’s difficult to read.

Once the two have decided to be together that when everything falls apart. For Thalia’s entire life she’s known her parents have a feud with another local family, the Coopers, refusing to even let their children speak to each other. To her horror, Thalia discovers that Christopher is their son. Though she knows she shouldn’t have feelings for him, Thalia can’t help it. Christopher feels the same. Over the next couple months, he develops a complex plan in order to be able to date the girl he’s infatuated with.

Things just get more complicated as the novel continues. From the very first page, I found I was completely sucked into the story. The various conflicting elements made this contemporary novel one that I actually enjoyed for a change. I give it 4/5.

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