Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
About: 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?
Having just finished this book, I feel like the crazy one. Which, I guess, is what’s supposed to happen with a book like this? I feel like the beginning of this book was strong: Annie leaves her dead end life in Detroit to go to college in San Francisco and already has a nannying job lined up. She’s going to live with the family that she found over the internet and watch their two kids when she’s not going to school. Libby, the mom, welcomes her with open arms, even giving her some of her clothes upon Annie’s arrival. Annie feels a closeness with Libby, something that had been missing from her life since her little sister’s death four years ago.
It’s very soon that things start turning a bit sinister. They take the door off of Annie’s bedroom (with the excuse of fixing the hinge) and it doesn’t go back up for months. Her time off is super limited, to the point where Libby suggests cutting back school to part time, so she can take care of Zoe. That’s another thing, originally taken on to watch both children, she actually winds up being Zoe’s primary caretaker, watching her all day, comforting her in the middle of the night (Libby basically wants nothing to do with this child) and doesn’t watch the baby at all. Libby actually sees that Annie is reading The Yellow Wallpaper for school and tears down the wallpaper in her room and replaces it with yellow wallpaper. Libby also convinces her to break up with Owen, the boy next door that she spends her very limited time off with.
I don’t want to go too much further into plot, because it does get twisty and weird. I guessed the twist pretty early on, but it really isn’t confirmed until the very end. The end’s circumstances reminded me of the ending of The Skulls a little bit. I will say, I didn’t love the end of this book. I feel like it’s not as strong as it started out. Another thing I didn’t love was Owen. I started out really liking him, but as their relationship developed a little bit, I feel like it became a little too generic relationshipy. He started calling her babe all the time (gag me) and their drama (aside from the crazy stuff) was so basic, I don’t really feel like it fit with the insanity level of the story. If I had to sum it up, I’d say The Ruining was just okay. I’ve read some better crazy nannying books, but it was still enjoyable if you like feeling a little crazy when you’re done reading.