Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Terrific book with all the feels
Very enjoyable yet emotional book. I really liked this book overall, though in a way it gave me the same feeling I had the first time I watched the movie Titanic. I knew going in that the ship was going to hit that iceberg and the majority of its passengers would die, but I was still hoping for a different outcome and even though the ship sank, the story was so good. This story begins with a prologue that is written in a way that it is hard to tell exactly what is happening, but you know it is bad. Then the first chapter begins three months prior to what happened in the prologue.
The story takes place at the University of Washington, where new freshman student Kiersten has a nightmare and her roommate Lisa runs in from her own bedroom after hearing Kiersten screaming. Kiersten blows it off as night terrors, but Lisa is a great roommate and sleeps the rest of the night on the floor. Of course we, as readers know that when a girl in a romance novel has nightmares it usually stems from some type of past trauma. Though we are kept in the dark as to what exactly.
The following day at some point, Kiersten’s inner monologue tells us that she takes medication, for either depression or anxiety, though we don’t find out much more than that. Kiersten meets a guy with blonde hair and an eight pack when she literally runs into him. She apparently comes from a very small town and gets embarrassed easily. She ends up running into him again and though she wants to stay away, he seems interested in her.
Her roommate Lisa and Lisa’s cousin Gabe fill Kiersten in on who he is afterwards. The guy is Weston Michaels, the current Big Man on Campus, son of one of the wealthiest men in the world, and quarterback of the University football team. He told Kiersten that he doesn’t date Freshmen, but he wants to be friends.
The romance between the two main characters starts out very sweet, but there are all kinds of things going on. Weston has a secret and has things in his past that are alluded to, part of which the reader can guess at due to the hints and what he says and thinks. However, I was trying to guess at so much through the greater part of the book.
I was also wondering for quite a while what happened to Kiersten that left her medicated and with nightmares. In addition to all the secrets, the relationship is strange, they both seem to not want a relationship but they also seem to want to be together. Weston is always thinking and saying how attracted he is to her, but he just wants to be friends.
Kiersten is a bit dense in some ways though she is a likable heroine. She thinks Wes couldn’t possibly like her because he is a senior and she is a freshman and he garners attention wherever he goes but she is from a very small town and is a Virgin. It bothered me a tiny bit because her roommate mentions how beautiful she is, and he is always saying things like how much he wants her. Maybe because he used to be a player, she thinks his wanting her is different than his wanting to date her.
This book is written in a way that you end up really liking all the characters. Lisa’ cousin Gabe becomes Kiersten’s best friend and a bit of a protector. The relationship between them is cool. Almost like a big brother. Weston has an “entourage” as he and everyone at the University calls them. They are the bodyguards his father hired. Weston’s father turns out to be much less stern than you would think for someone in his position and Kiersten’s Uncle Jobob (Yes Joe-bob) is a nice guy. All of the characters are well developed and have clear voices of their own.
The writing is very good. Like I said earlier, there are secrets that the reader knows partially but I was kept guessing on a lot of things so I truly couldn’t put the book down until I finished. The world-building in the book is really on point. I could totally picture the campus, the dorms, Weston’s father’s home, and all the places they went. The romance was great. Weston and Kiersten developed true love over the course of the book. It was not a hot and steamy book, though their kisses were off the charts. And I really enjoyed it. The book is a standalone and I bought the next two books if that tells you anything.
Buddy Read with Anonymous Girl Link to her review
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