[594]: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

24733600 The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong
Double Day Canada | Hardcover, 352 pp.
Via Penguin Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 13th, 2015
Young Adult | Suspense | Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

Very few books have surprised me this year. Whether it be a twist I never saw coming or book I didn’t think I would like, this year has been a year of expected experiences. Admittedly, I chose The Masked truth on account of the author. Kelley Armstrong has always been someone I admire. I was surprised to find that this book is not Paranormal or Urban Fantasy, for that matter. So I was very excited to read something out of the ordinary. This book reminded me of The Breakfast Club featuring a group of slightly more troubled teens.  I’ve enjoyed every bit of this read. It was full of suspense and nothing ever turned the way I expected. Kelley Armstrong truly busted out some fresh new chops for this one.


Riley Vazquez has been through so much in the last couple of years. After her father was gunned down while doing his job, she witnessed the killing of the people she was babysitting for. Needless to say, she’s been in a dark place lately. When she agreed to join her therapy group at a sleep-away for the weekend, she didn’t think the scare tactics would be a part of the session.

Masked men armed with guns held them hostage all in the name of the almighty dollar. But is it really all about the money? She’d soon discover that it was all a part of a grander, much more elaborate scheme.


A lot of people would probably tell you that this book can be unbelievable at times (and they would be right). I don’t know anything about therapy, but I’ve never heard of a sleep-away camp held in a warehouse without doors and windows. That alone is a dead-give-away that something’s afoot. Couple that with Riley’s incredible expertise on investigative methodology and you’ve got yourself a Ripley’s Believe it or Not contender.  Oddly enough, I didn’t mind it at all. Fiction is funny that way.


The Masked Truth is one heck of a ride. Thrilling, suspenseful, a real page-turner. Oh and it’s got a nice romance to sweeten the pot. Riley Vazquez is a tough cookie who uses her smarts and intuitive candor to get out of sticky situations time and again. This is one instance when I wish it’s a series!

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[533]: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Greenwillow Books | May 19th, 2015 | Hardcover, 448 pp. | Young Adult Fiction | Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Reality is a scary master. That’s why some people resort to drugs because it’s easier to ignore its demands sometimes. But for some, reality is a different beast altogether. It becomes unreliable, frightening and deceiving. Such is the life of those suffering from schizophrenia.

Made You Up was a light-hearted, kind-hearted story about a teen suffering from  this disorder.  Her story is a bit of a ride. Because of Zappia’s compelling/very convincing writing, the reader will feel as if they are losing their minds along with her. Some would have a difficult time discerning what was real and what was a product of her “chemically-imbalanced” mind. Things, places, people become somewhat capricious. One particular person in her life left me with goosebumps once it was revealed they were not real at all. For a second, I thought I was reading a ghost story. And even after all that, she still keeps seeing this person.

You would never find a more unreliable narrator than Alex. Not because it’s a character flaw, but because it’s the nature of her disease. I don’t think I’ve read a book in YA tackling paranoid schizophrenia, but Zappia’s account is a great introduction, I thought. Alex describes every thing she sees and feels that the readers would know exactly what it’s like to go through life thinking she’s in constant peril. But she’s learning; she wants to live independently.

So she’s careful. She does everything to make sure that no one would ever know why she is the way she is (she sniffs her food for poison; she looks everywhere for bad guys lurking in the dark corners and alleys). She’s forever suspicious of people. And by taking pictures of things she thought to be a temporary product of her overactive imagination, she was able to detect what was real and what was not – on most good days, that is. I love the way Francesca created Alex. She’s so real; her disease is real. And yet somehow, there’s this whimsical persona that I just can’t help but love.

This book is an instant favourite of mine. ALL TIME favourite. You will cry. You will laugh. You will go, “holy shiiiite”. Basically, this book will put you through an entire list of feelings. But you will love this book. It was different, candid, heartbreaking, but hopeful. Very hopeful in a non-sappy way. You will adore the characters; you will smile at the sweetness  of the romance between two characters who are so awkwardly perfect for each other. They are everything. This book is everything.


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