Review: Charade by Nyrae Dawn


Title: Charade (Games 1)
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Date of publication: 22 Oct 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 3 stars

Goodreads Blurb

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.

My Review

This is one of those popular stories of pretend-lover-to-real-ones but it was well done and I enjoyed reading it.
At the beginning it seemed like a typical  New Adult - college setting, a heroine proposes to a tattooed bad boy to pretend to be her boyfriend in order to make her ex jealous. It sounded rather naive and clichéd but the author took the story in a completely different direction.

Both, Chey and Colt have their personal dramas connected to their mothers to deal with but despite trying to keep it casual the pretend game they play gradually becomes the only real thing they feel. It is a very touching and emotional story of two young people opening up to and ultimately changing/saving each other. 

The story is told from alternating POVs and liked both the voices of Chey and Colt, though I think his was came as stronger, more distinctive. 

I was a bit annoyed with how long it took them to accept that what was happening between them was real and not just a game. I felt the author overdid their hesitancy to admit their true feelings and act on them. 

I liked the supporting characters a lot - Adrian (who is the hero in the next book in the series) was not described in detail but his presence added a lot to the story, Colt's mom also had a central role, as well as Chey's aunt and uncle. Her ex-boyfriend and his new girl were rather cliched, yet they fitted well in the overall plot.

Now, there a few things that didn't work for me in this book. 

First was Chey's background. She is Native-American and I was rather curious about that since I don't often come across ethnic characters in the novels I read. I was really disappointed that this element was not further developed by the author. It was just mentioned as an explanation for exotic beauty and was not further elaborated.

The other thing I was disappointed with was Colt's incident towards the end of the story. Its inclusion in the story was over the top for me, just adding unnecassary drama. It helped highlight Ardrian's character and put further emphasis on Chey's feelings for Colt but the book would have been less melodramatic without it.

Overall, I can recommend this book for all NA fans. It is a great start to a series and things only get better in its sequel, Facade, which tells Adrian's story (my review). The series will continue with a book about Madox whom we meet in Facade, which is to be released in January 2014.

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