The Ruining by Anna Collomore

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 7, 2013
Length: 313, Hardcover
Source: ARC
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads
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.

MY MIND IS REELING! If you enjoy a good psychological thriller then READ THIS BOOK. I felt like I was loosing my sanity right along with Annie (or was it Nanny?).

You know what they say "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

Annie just escaped the poverty of Detroit to start anew in California where she will be attending SFSU while Nannying for the Cohen's. Annie takes to the Cohens quickly, especially Libby who seems to understand Annie and care about her wellbeing. Libby fills a void in Annie's life, enabling the attachment that Annie forms so quickly. But too soon, the Cohens catch Annie after she accidentally stumbled across some seemingly unimportant papers and the entire dynamic changes.

Libby's behavior towards Annie becomes erratic. One moment she is warm and motherly, the next she is cold and patronizing. Since Annie is so fond of Libby, she internalizes Libby's displeasure and believes it is her responsibility to be better. Libby applies more and more pressure, demands more and more from Annie, and Annie finds herself giving in. She can't go back home and has no where else to go. She played her hand with the Cohens so she's desperate to make this work.

She feels the boundaries that should exist slipping away but Libby offers just enough push and pull that Annie is constantly doubting herself, and as a reader I was doubting everything too. More and more weird stuff starts to happen that Annie can't explain or remember, small changes that prey on Annie's weaknesses. She's overworked, stressed and exhausted and it all starts to take a toll on her mental health. 

The progression of events in this novel and decline of Annies mental wellbeing is really believable. This book is written in such a way that you question everything even if you already have an idea of what's supposed to happen or who is to blame. I found myself cataloging almost every detail wating for the next page to point a finger at someone new. Everything and everyone is suspect. And Annie's thought process as she tries to make sense of things is really convincing which only adds to the suspense and confusion. I was freaking out by the end of this book because becoming crazy doesn't seen so unlikely if you have the right triggers. Reading this was a total mind f%#k.

Throughout the book, Annie finds comfort in the wholesome boy next door, Owen. She feels clear-headed and herself when around him so he's kind of like her small hold on reality and normalcy. But this relationship really takes a backseat to the rest of the story and I was a little upset by the lack of detail, my only real negative comment. Annie and Owen practically went from just meeting to fullblown relationship with baggage which made me feel as if this romance was just used as a tool for the rest of the plot to progress and wrap-up cleanly.

This book is fantasically creepy. Its hard to give to much more detail without the risk of giving too much away but the setting, characters and events just work together so well. Anna Collomore drops just enough red flags in the dialogue that keep you on the edge of your seat. This book reads more like a contemporary for at least the first half but then really picks up at the end as the weirdness starts to happen more frequently. The resolution is a little brief but still sufficient.

Overall, this is a suspensful and gripping read. If a glimpse at mental illness and instability sounds enthralling to you then this is definitely something you should read.

4/5 stars.


  1. Ohhhh, that sounds very good to me! I like suspenseful books, so I'm going to remember this one! Great review :)


  2. Love your review! This book sounds really good. I love a good creepy mystery. It is now on my TBR pile!

  3. Great review! This has been on my TBR list for quite some time, so I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Wow, this sounds amazing! I'm dying of curiosity now, that's for sure! I'm not sure I had even heard of it before. Absolutely fantastic review!

  5. Thank you all so much! I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :D

  6. This book sounds so amazing!


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