Riley Vasquez and Max Cross each have their own problems but neither of them wants to be shipped off to a residential therapy camp. Events take a turn for the worse when three masked men break in, holding the teenagers hostage to extort money out of the richest of them. With the door locked tight, troubled kids kept captive and guns don’t mix. When the deaths start, Riley and Max must turn to each other if they’re to survive.

The Masked Truth is a really strong YA thriller. Behind a lot of Kelley’s fantasy novels have been a core mystery or thriller plot and I was excited to read something that she described as a bit different from her normal stuff.

So often in thrillers, the schizophrenic is painted as the bad guy, the bogey monster or someone who we should pity but be wary of. Here he is one of the good guys but it also demonstrates how people are prejudiced towards the illness. You hide it because you don’t wanted to be treated like a dangerous person but when people find out they blame you for lying.

It was clever to leave Max’s narrative in third person whilst Riley’s is in first person. Max would have been an unreliable narrator telling the course of events himself. When others doubt what happened, the reader doesn’t. We’re led down the path of injustice rather than suspicion.

But it’s not whining. It’s guilt. Horrible, suffocating guilt, because I lived and the Porter’s didn’t.

The other main character is suffering from PTSD and survivor’s guilt. She suffers from flashbacks, freezing up, and she can barely get a rest from her thoughts telling herself she should have done more. She hates it when she’s called a hero because she thinks her act of bravery was cowardice. When is reality there was nothing she could have done to save

The overnight therapy weekend seemed a bit odd; why would you put a bunch of troubled teens together in a confined space? And the therapists were a bit rubbish, not appearing to handle the inevitable interactions in a manner that seemed sensible to me. Yet it all eventually comes together.

The timeline confused me a little too. At first it was as if they’d all just met but later on it comes out that they had known each other longer. Maybe they were doing these group sessions every week? Maybe the weekend thing was a one off.

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Book Source: Purchased