Review: Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin  - Rachel Van Dyken
“Right, women and thinking. That never causes any problems for the human race.”

I might be forgetting some event in time, but I’m pretty sure a woman thinking hasn’t caused problems for the human race. Sure, perhaps some women overthink sometimes, but has it ever caused problems for the human race? Sorry bro, don’t think so. 

However, I can prove it over and over what causes problem is people not thinking. And that, we have a lot of. Proof #1: I didn’t think before picking up this book.

Seriously, there are so many things that bugged me with this book. I know some of my friends loved this, and I’m okay with that, but I’ll just apologize if this upsets anyone, but I can’t leave it unsaid. So, to all you who loved this, continue to do so, but I can’t. Now to the actual review.

Ruin is the story of Kiersten and Weston, both characters full of struggles in their lives. Kiersten is moving to college hoping to get a new start since her parents died in an accident two years ago. She’s still haunted by it and has built up walls around her for protection. When starting college, she meets Weston, the hottest person in school. She doesn’t know why, but Weston starts to break down her walls, forcing her to live again. Weston, however, has his own secrets and dark past. Soon secrets start coming to show, and they have to ask themselves what’s worth living for. Well, kind of.

So our main characters, Kiersten and Weston. They’re both kind of perfect. Sure, Kiersten has a tragic past with her parents dying in an accident. She hasn’t been living for two years, and now finally decides to go to college for a new start. As we soon come to know, she’s perfect. Sweet, kind, beautiful. Actually, she’s a stereotypical small-town girl. So she’s unable to trust people and let them in, yet she opens up to Weston after about a day or two. And while we’re touching Weston here. He’s pretty perfect too. And in the good looking department:

Lisa’s mouth dropped open. It looked like she was going to pass out. Even Gabe looked stunned. Okay, right, Weston was hot, but not hot enough to render both sexes speechless.

Okay, so Wes has his own past too. A mother dying and a brother committing suicide. Neither topic is ever really touched on in deeper scale, so they were just there to add to the story when needed. This is one of the major things that bugged me, but I’ll get back to that. I want to talk about the plot for a minute.

The plot is solely about them falling for each other – which they do, fast. That, and the struggles Weston is currently facing. Now, I’m not sure if this is a spoiler, because it’s hinted already in the first few chapters. From Weston’s POV he talks about doctors and medicine, so the ”plot-twist” didn’t surprise me in the least. I’ll put this in spoiler tag anyway. 

Weston is sick. Very sick. With cancer. He’s been through treatments and such, but none have worked. So now, with his rich dad’s money, they’re trying experimental drugs before a surgery. (This alone came off as… strange. I’m not an expert, but I’m suspicious to if you give a patient experimental drugs before a surgery that might kill him.) The next thing about this, he still plays football on a college level. I do know people with cancer can work out, but on college level? Okay, maybe he can manage it, but what kind of people would actually let this person do it full scale? None. While I can find it plausible he trains, I can’t fathom him managing doing it on this level. So the biggest problem with all of this is the lack of explanation. Because I can’t remember being told how long he’s had cancer, what other treatments he’s gone through, why his father lets his son do all this. None of it is really explained. (And someone can please be so kind to tell me how Weston can look like a freaking sex-god after going through all these treatments.

(show spoiler)

That’s the plot, and it’s really loose. I couldn’t find it in me to believe it realistic in any aspect. The real problem is the execution. The plot needed to delve deeper in the bigger tracks in the plot. Instead, everything is just grazed on the surface: Kiersten’s back story with her parents, Weston’s current situation and what/how they’re doing to fix it, the characters’ personalities. As it is, there are so many sidetracks the story takes up. One of them: there’s a rumor Weston raped a girl. This is a pretty heavy thing, but it’s dismissed after he begs Kiersten to trust him instead of others. After that, it’s barely mentioned. Yeah, I got pretty damn upset about this, especially when this conversation happens later:

My grin was so huge, I swear I couldn’t see out of my own eyes as I laughed and turned away from him. “Stop!”
“Not used to hearing that particular word. What ever does it mean?”
“It means no.” I pushed at his hand as it rested on my hip and lifted my shirt to touch bare skin.
“Hmm, what’s no mean?”
“It means…” The movie suddenly blasted across the screen.

Yes, this is taken out of context, and yes, this is used as playful conversation. Should that matter? No. Fuck no. This is the kind of crap that makes me loose trust in NA, because if this is going to be a regular thing, and not discussed how it’s used, I’m out. This is not acceptable, and had this been earlier in the book, would’ve DNF it within the second. Now, it’s somewhere in the middle and I figured to read on. But seriously, why isn't this discussed more? Because this is no the first time something like this is put into NA books and not taken seriously.

That smaller rant aside, there are so mane double-standards here. We have Weston urging Kiersten to make new friends one day. And she does. It’s just that they’re male so Weston freaks out. Then we have Kiersten being forced to cover up when they go out for a run so guys won’t stare at her, while Weston is allowed to run without a shirt. There are more instances like this, but I won’t drag this review on that much more. I’ll end this with how funny Weston is when he thinks he knows women. This is what he thinks we assume whenever we go home to a partner for the first time:

I knew how girls worked; the little wheels in her head would be turning ‘round and ‘round, imagining Christmases, birthdays, all normal celebrations. Hell, even New Year’s.

Because it’s not like we’re able to just look at the house, right?