Masks: A Novella

Masks: A Novella - Patricia Caviglia "Masks: a Novella" was a quick, easy read with its heart in a distinct, riveting place, but I found the novella as a whole lacking in its execution, even for a story of its respective length. It touches upon some noteworthy themes and trials in the lives of two teens - and that's something I found refreshing when it came to its theme. Becca is a sixteen year old girl with unreasonably overprotective parents, especially with a father who practically drags her out of a dance in front of her classmates and accuses her of being careless and, in his words, "a slut." Not only that, Becca also has to deal with a best friend (Diana) who isn't really her friend at all, and ends up stealing her boyfriends. This becomes especially apparent when Becca falls in love with the resident bad boy at her school, David. David, like Becca, has a projected image that doesn't match his true self at all. He gets in trouble at the drop of a hat - overaggressive and quick to start a fight, but around Becca, he's willing to show a little more of his true self. I applaud Patricia Caviglia for creating a story about two characters with somewhat realistic problems in their internal and external lives, but unfortunately, the translations of these problems, and the characters themselves didn't feel fully realized. There were moments in the novella that I did connect to the characters for their respective situations (for example, Becca realizing her best friend was using her, and her fear and frustration with her parents not allowing her to date at her age), but the foundation on which some of these arguments were based on were one-dimensional. The fact that Becca's parents called her "a slut" so many times had me banging my head against the wall, and not because of their characters, but for the frequency and lack of expansion/context. There were moments where the dialogue was quite static and didn't feel like it added up to much. I had no concept of these teens' aspirations, desires, ambitions or personal traits to make them beyond a generalized scope. Not to mention there were points I thought the smoking and sexual inferences were a little too much for perhaps the scope of the novella - it didn't feel natural and was rather shallow. That's something I think both teens and their parents would probably take issue with in reading this novella.I think Caviglia has potential in her future works, because there were moments where I could see this novella shine, but unfortunately, its issues/cons ejected me out of the story despite it being a short read. Still, I did take some of its moments as being well intentioned, I just wished it was more fully realized.Overall score: 1.5/5