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."
When I first started to read this book I was excited- it had all of the elements that I enjoy in books of this nature, psychological thrillers, where the main character struggles to differentiate between fact and fiction- a fast-paced plotline where you are constantly sitting on the edge of your seat, a build-up and swell of emotions as the main character spirals more and more downwards into insanity, and a villain who is so convincing that you can't help but wonder if they actually are a villain. That being said, I feel that at the crescendo of the book, the most epic part, it just... fell flat, ending on a sour note, or, in this case, too normal of a note, bordering on domestic.
Additionally, I did find the romance element of the book, between Annie and Owen, to be fairly unconvincing. Only after a few encounters, in all of which Annie was horrid to Owen, he was willing to do anything for her. While I think that the author had intended for this to come across as being romantic, I thought that it was anything but- I couldn't help but think that Annie had ended up in almost an identical situation to that of which she was in with Libby, with Owen (being bossed around by another, not having control of her life, etc.)- you'd think that with everything that she had suffered through she would know better than to do that again.
As becomes evident, I am quite torn about this book, perhaps the most torn that I have ever been while rating a book before- does the awesome first 3/4 of the book outweigh the iffy last 1/4? Or is the last 1/4 do disappointing that it colours everything else? Is the book worth 3 stars? 4? Or even 5? Would I recommend this book? Or would I recommend similar books instead? Overall, while I do love the concept of the book I think that the execution is lacking, especially at the end. I personally find that "The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer" by Michelle Hodkins and "Lucid" by Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass are more successful at tackling this genre than this book is. That being said, I can see myself rereading this book again in the future- a sign that I like it enough to do so.
I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.