Author: Nyrae Dawn
Release Date: October 22, 2012
Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.
Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom's dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it's what he wants too.
Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.
Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever
This book's premise is simple enough - one girl finds out that her ex-boyfriend is cheating on her and thus enlists one random boy (who happens to hate the ex-boyfriend in question) to help her make said ex-boyfriend angry. It's a plot point and a storyline that has been well overused in media and popular culture today, but as I wanted a quick read, I thought that a familiar story wouldn't hurt. All I can say is wow - I really should stop judging books based on book blurbs, huh? This book is nothing like I thought it would be! So kudos to you, Nyrae Dawn, because Charade is a page-turner filled with engrossing characters with emotional stories to tell.
Cheyenne is one captivating character. Reading about how Cheyenne shuts herself off from the rest of the world is painful, to say the least. Reading about her fighting for control in every single thing that she does is perplexing, but upon finding out just why she desires to be in control all the time, I couldn't help but feel that her feelings are justified. Moreover, she believes that someone who should have loved her unconditionally has abandoned her as a child, and as a result, she has this unwavering fear of being left behind. Cheyenne is one woman who is desperate to escape her past, yet in her yearning to leave everything behind, she's simply running away from the inevitable. She's just like all of us at one point in our lives, and that's what makes her a character anyone can relate to. I enjoyed watching her character grow throughout the book, and honestly, reading about how she faced her worst fears made me so proud of her.
Reading about everything Colt is currently experiencing in his life is just mind-numbing. I can't even begin to fathom just how awful it is to be powerless to stop the unavoidable. Watching his mom's life wither right before his very eyes is basically hell for Colt, and yet there is no way he can leave his mother to fend for herself. Moreover, he is stuck living a life his mother wants for him, because how can he not give his mother what she wants most for her son? I've said before that reading about Cheyenne's past was painful, but reading through Colt's interactions with his mother pretty much tore my heart into smithereens. Reading through his innermost thoughts was even worse. It was so adamantly obvious just how much Colt loved his mother, and it was equally obvious that it tears him apart that he can nothing about her impending death. The character of Colt is my favorite in the book based on one reason and one reason alone - he's human. He makes mistakes, makes rash decisions, and he continuously does something not for himself but for other people. He's lost, just like the rest of us. He's basically going through the motions in life, just like Cheyenne, and just like anyone who encounters noting but trouble in his or her life.
The way Dawn portrayed both Cheyenne and Colt is so bone-chillingly perfect - they're not just characters in a book. They're the people you see everyday who are fighting for control, for normalcy. They're the people you see in every nook and cranny of the world who are simply fighting to survive and face the future with hope. That's another thing Dawn does so marvelously in this novel - through the whirlwind of a relationship between Cheyenne and Colt, she shows us that hope can spring from the most random of places and that one can find it anywhere. It is only through each other that both Cheyenne and Colt face their deepest fears and look towards the future... together.
Charade is a book that will make you laugh, make you cry and ultimately make your heart ache. Aside from the accurate portrayal of the characters, the romance is spot-on - not rushed, but not painstakingly stalled either. How Nyrae Dawn is not a household name in the world of YA Contemporary and New Adult I honestly do not know.
Rating: 5 Stars