“The Masked Truth” by Kelley Armstrong (2015)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Page Length: 340 (hardcover edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
The Masked Truth is a fast-paced thriller that jumps into the action of the story within the first few pages. The story follows a teenage girl named Riley who is sent to therapy camp to heal from a traumatic experience only for her and other camp attendees to be taken hostage by masked men. Will they be able to escape alive?
The situation in the novel is terrifying, dangerous, and realistic. Armstrong’s attention to detail puts readers into the heat of the story and asks them the question “What would you do in this situation?” Would you run, hide, or fight your way to safety? While reading this book you truly feel the fear embedded in each character and the intensity of the situation.
The novel is mainly centered on the plot’s two main protagonist’s Riley and Max. Riley dealt with a horrific incident and now suffers from PTSD. Max struggles to find the balance between his hallucinations and real life because has schizophrenia. I enjoyed how the characters developed over the course of action and how we get glimpses of Max and Riley’s backgrounds during the calmer moments of the story.
I really admired Max and Riley’s bravery and their ability to be quick on their feet throughout the novel. Though both are scared to death they push they fear back down inside in order to assess ever-changing situation. When things got too hard to handle, one of them always stepped up to support one another in order to give them the strength to go on.
The Masked Truth gave me a another insight into the lives of people who struggle with various mental illnesses. By looking deep inside the two main characters minds we get a feel for their emotions, what coping methods help them, and what it’s like to deal with something you feel you have no control over at time. Armstrong also touches on the issue of the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses.
This book is also equally a psychological thriller. It puts you on edge and you’re not sure who is telling the truth and who is lying. Just when I thought the climactic part of the story was over, the plot takes readers for a spin. Though there was a bit of romance in this book I appreciated that it was a thread rather than being the center of the story. Max and Riley end up depending on each other for survival before pursuing something further than their initial attraction.