Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Genre: Psychological thriller
Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.
All too soon cracks appear in Annie’s seemingly perfect world. She’s blamed for mistakes she doesn’t remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she’s always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie’s fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?
This book was the definition of creeptastic. Along with Pretty Girl-13 and All I Never Wanted, The Ruining is at the top of my creepiest books of all time list.
I was hooked from page one and never wanted it to end. Anna Collomore’s writing is addictive and suspenseful. She knows how to get into your head and play with your mind until you’re not sure what’s real and what’s not. The Ruining genuinely kept me guessing until the very last page, making for an exceptionally thrilling read.
About halfway through the book, I started developing a few theories:
– Libby was possessed by Adele’s ghost
– Zoe was actually Adele’s child, explaining why Libby never wanted to be around her
– Libby was a nanny for one of Adele’s kids and Walker cheated on her with Libby
– Walked cheated on Libby with another of Zoe’s nannies
– There was going to be a Now You See Her type of ending where we found out that Annie had just been hallucinating the whole thing because of the trauma of losing Lissa
I am not saying how many of my theories were correct, but I felt pretty pleased with myself by the end of the book for sure.
The reasons this book wasn’t a solid five for me was because of issues surrounding believability and the strength of Annie as a female character. I had a little trouble believing Annie would feel so strongly about Libby after one night and feel like they were sisters that quickly, so I guess I wasn’t really surprised when she started acting crazy like Annie was. I guess Annie was so taken with Libby because of their similar backgrounds and everything, but I wasn’t sure Annie would open up that quickly to someone because of her family history.
I also wasn’t sold on Annie as a strong female character. Throughout the book, I just felt like she let a lot of things happen to her, even when Owen pointed out ways that Libby was mistreating her. Even when Libby first suggests going to the hospital, Annie just accepts it, thinking she should go and deserves to go, that there really is something wrong with her, rather than trusting her instincts that Libby is manipulating her. I also didn’t really like how once Annie was released from the hospital, she went to live with Owen, a boy she has only known for a couple of months. Annie never becomes truly independent, which just bothered me a bit as I was reading. She lacks confidence in herself for understandable reasons, but she also doesn’t seem to know how to deal with her problems.
Still, The Ruining has definitely made my list of favorite debuts of 2013. Anna Collomore’s strong writing and ability to keep such high tension in her debut makes me very excited to see what she’ll come up with next. The Ruining is a wonderfully dark and twisty beach read that needs to go on your TBR list NOW.