Diana Rainville first appeared to readers as a minor character in Caviglia’s (Masks, 2011) previous book, best friend of Rebecca Jacobs, who finally confronted her about her selfish, boyfriend-stealing ways. Now 22, Diana has no friends left, although she’s lately begun to develop a conscience and a wish to gain independence from her wealthy, domineering father, Mathieu, 52. Freedom, though, proves difficult when Mat sabotages her job search, ensuring she’ll have to live at home and work for him at Montreal’s Rainville Digital Media. While shooting video footage for a client, a sports store expanding its inventory to skateboards, Diana runs into high school acquaintance Ron Pearl, once known for his piercings. Now he sports only one and has become taller and more manly. When not skateboarding, Ron drives a taxi to support his mother, who is dying of cancer in a hospice. Despite their differences, he and Diana are cautiously attracted to each other, and they have parental abandonment in common: Ron’s father took off when his mother was diagnosed, and Diana’s mother left when she was small. (Arianne Deschamps has actually been writing letters to her daughter for years, a secret shared between Mat and Diana’s older brother.) When Ron seemingly leaves Diana in the lurch, she’s tempted to flee to her father, who hates the guy, for support—but it’s time for family secrets to come to light. Caviglia creates three-dimensional characters who are realistically mixed up, and the reasons for parental desertion are complex. But not all of the book’s psychology is well-observed; hoarding—Ron’s affliction—is a serious disorder, not one easily solved with a good shot of determination. The tale is well-paced, but the plot copycats Masks, which also features a young woman whose chief conflict is with an angry, dictating father, who also tries to make her date the man of his choice. Since the characters don’t come from cultural backgrounds that would help explain this pattern, the conflict is a little unconvincing, and doubly so for this second outing.
Rich girl and poor boy forge a believable relationship.