by Anna Collomore
Review: Eighteen-year-old Annie Phillips dreams of leaving her bleak existence in Detroit. Her mother doesn't care for her and her step-father is more often drunk than sober. So it is a blessing that she is hired as a nanny for a family in San Francisco. But her new idyllic life suddenly takes an unexpected turn into terror in The Ruining, a young adult novel of suspense by Anna Collomore that is best suited for older teenagers.
Annie's job is to take care of two young children while she starts an education at local college. A condition of her employment is that part of her salary be directed towards paying her college fees. She lives with the Cohen family on Belvedere Island off the coast of California. Libby Cohen, the mother of two children, asks Annie to tend to three-year-old Zoe while she cares for Jackson, her infant boy. Annie settles in quickly, considering Libby to be the older sister she never had, and even making friends with the handsome neighbor Owen, just a year older than herself. All seems perfect in Annie's world until Libby starts blaming her for mistakes that she doesn't remember making, and treating her more like a stranger than a sister. The door is removed from Annie's bedroom and she is constantly watched. What has happened — what has she done — to deserve this sudden change?
The Ruining is an effective suspenseful psychological thriller, where it's never quite clear what's real and what isn't. Is Annie seeing things as they are, or is her mind creating the scenes and situations that she finds herself in. Or is Libby hiding secrets, and cleverly manipulating Annie for reasons known only to her? The ending may not provide the closure many readers have come to expect in these kinds of books, but that does not make it any less interesting.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Ruining.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Ruining for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Ruining: California
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The Ruining by Anna Collomore
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $17.99