Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Book #: Standalone
Publish Date: February 7th 2013
Date Read: August 13th 2013
Rating: ★★½ / out of 5
"I already had my chance," She whispered close to my ear. "This is yours. Get out of here and don't come back."
Annie has struggled in life, traumatized by her little sister's death, and wants nothing more than to pack up and leave for college to start a new life. And then, she gets the opportunity, takes it, and begins again in California.
At first, her new life seems perfect- her employers are great, her job is enjoyable and she is even falling in love with the boy next door. Suddenly, though, cracks begin appearing in the perfect scenery and Annie begins to question her grip on reality as it all comes crashing down.
I love these types of stories. Mental illnesses are my favorite part of studying psychology, and I hope to one day write a book that blurs the lines between reality and imaginary, sane and insane.
Unfortunately, this book doesn't pull the insane concept off as well as I thought The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Insanitydid. Those stories were complete mind-f***s. This story, however, was not.
First off, the story. Like I said, I really enjoy books that deal with this concept of mental illness. However, in The Ruining it felt all too obvious that something was off and that the main character was not right in the head. The one major twist, (view spoiler), was something that I was able to predict though I could see how some people might find it surprising. It definitely was a good twist, I felt.
I just didn't like how obvious so early on it was that something was up. And, in the end, the fix wasn't really there. I guess besides some medication and a little treatment, I was expecting some sort of big breakthrough (besides the twist). I had hoped for more, really, and the story just fell too flat for me and fizzled out instead of going out with a bang.
Annie, the protagonist, wasn't really like-able to me. I actually found her to be rude and self-centered. And, even though what happened to her was horrible and all, I never really felt it emotionally. We are told she believes she is responsible for her sister's death, but I never really felt it in the feels. She had some moments when I liked her, but she never ascended to the level of connection or even admiration. As far as she is concerned, she wanted to live the "college life" of drinking and partying. That made it hard for me to connect with her at all to begin with.
The love interest was good, I thought. Not great. Definitely not great. But I loved his interactions with Annie (when they weren't being all melodramatic, which was another downfall of this story). You can really sense the connection between them and I thought their relationship was paced well.
Libby.. well, Libby was pretty messed up. No need to sugar coat that at all.
Overall, I felt this story had a great premise but didn't live up to my expectations of it. Like Wendy says in her review of this book, it just became way too obvious and overly dramatic instead of mysterious mind-fuckery.
"The smartest lady doesn't carry and baggage. She knows how to leave it in the past."
"Sometimes when things are broken, baby, you just can't fix them, no matter how hard you try."
I spent the rest of the night in my room, crying. But not amount of crying made it any better. The pain was deep and aching, worse that anything I'd ever felt. Worse than any amount of physical I could imagine. I felt sick inside, and incredibly alone.
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