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?
The Ruining is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity.
Synopsis taken from goodreads.
Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Genre: Young Adult, contemporary.
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Penguin/Razorbill for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the Razorbill blog tour.
My Rating: 4/5
Annie Phillips jumps at the chance to nanny for a family in sunny California when she realizes it would mean she could leave her current life, and family, behind. She falls in love with the Cohen family, and idolizes Libby. The adage be careful what you wish for comes into play as she realizes that not everything is ideal in her new life. She fights to hold on to her sanity as she tries to figure out if Libby is truly the person she thinks she is; or if she is the cause for all of the weird and crippling situations that are occurring with a frightening regularity.
The Ruining has oppressive undertones that nag and worry the reader as they are reading. It is easy to see Annie's descent into madness, even though she herself cannot see it. Within the first few pages we get a glimmering of Libby's personality. However, Annie, who is completely enraptured with creating the ideal life for herself with a new family, does not see that there is something off with her 'perfect' family.
The undertones throughout the novel continue to build this web of confusion, and madness around Annie, leaving the reader unsettled. As we find out more, we realize, long before Annie does, how dangerous Libby can be. Nothing is as it seems, and Annie will need to figure out what is going on before she loses herself, her identity, completely.
I would have liked more closure, for Annie's sake, as I felt that there were some things left unresolved. Collomore weaves a brilliant tale of madness and horror as Annie realizes that things are not alright, that she cannot trust herself, or those around her. I just wish that there had been a more visual, more tangible interaction between Annie and Libby at the end of the book once Annie comes full circle and realizes just what has happened to her. I felt the ending was a bit anti-climactic for my taste. That is not to say others won't enjoy it, I just wanted a little more action.
All in all, The Ruining is a chilling and disturbing read that does not pull any punches. Annie struggles with identity and madness. The sheer insidiousness of the book alone had me reading along wanting to know more, with the hope that Annie would realize what was happening to her before it was too late. Even now, the book has gotten under my skin, and it has left me feeling a little unsettled.