“Tempting Fake” by Tracey Morait

“Tempting Fake” by Tracey Morait 683 1024 Reader Views Kids

Tempting Fake

Tracey Morait
K & T Mitchell (2023)
ISBN: 978-0955855054
Reviewed by Stephanie Elizabeth Long for Reader Views (10/2023)

Sixteen-year-old Cherry Hill is starved for attention, longing to feel loved and appreciated. These feelings are amplified after her wealthy stepfather, Lord Milborne, coaxes her mother into sending Cherry away. Helton Manor is an all-girls boarding school in the Lake District, and Cherry is skeptical about how she will fit in with these born-into-wealth schoolgirls. Despite bonding with her new roommates—Suki, Rahma, and Tasha—Cherry still feels a gaping hole in her heart. That’s when she turns to Pictapost, an online platform for messaging and posting pictures. Nothing gives her more thrill than posting racy photos and receiving countless likes. Cherry quickly begins messaging Adam Fisher, and her life is turned upside down.

Adam Fisher, the son of a US Air Force captain, is attending boarding school in Suffolk (and loathing every minute.) He is over his head when he begins messaging beautiful Cherry Hill under false pretenses. Fueled by revenge and desperately seeking payback for being bullied by the wealthy boys in his boarding school, Adam creates a twisted plan. He knows he should be honest with Cherry. Still, she has become his addiction, and lying is much easier than the alternative.

You can be anyone you want when hiding behind a screen—it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

This provocative young adult novel will have readers on the edge of their seats! “Tempting Fake” by Tracey Morait pulls back the curtain on the elusive world of online dating, including predators, catfishing, and its destructive effect on mental health. The author has intricately woven a tale of vulnerability and deceit combined with the sort of dopamine-boosting, thrilling experiences teens are drawn to. If you are a parent or a teen with an active online presence, this book is a must-read!

Morait’s cleverly written novel is loosely based on actual events. The author has captured the thrilling excitement and the dark side of pursuing online relationships. Cherry is seeking validation and finds it in one of the most dangerous places. The author expertly illustrates the unraveling of the young girl’s confidence as she becomes increasingly entrenched in a relationship that is not what it seems. While shockingly disturbing, it’s a story that needs to be told, one that unearths the sobering reality of what’s happening online.

Offering alternating perspectives enabled the reader to delve deep into the personality traits of Cherry, the victim, and Adam, the deceiver. We saw Cherry’s mental health waver as she took more significant risks to appease him. And Adam, desperate to quell feelings of self-doubt, was thirsty for control. Becoming more and more unhinged, he used gaslighting and narcissism to maintain power over Cherry.

“Tempting Fake” by Tracey Morait easily reeled me in with its intriguing storyline and relevance in today’s world. The tactics used by scammers and catfishers were eye-opening. Young readers—the author advises fourteen years and older—will undoubtedly be shaken by Cherry’s story, which is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly more common as the use of social media apps has exploded. You’ll want to add this young adult book to your reading list!

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