Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin** 10 out of 5 Amazing/Heart Breaking Stars **


**WARNING:  I apologize now for the length and for the quotes.  This was one of the best books I've ever read!**

I'm not your typical girl.  I've been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort.  I was content in the darkness...until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn't know that time wasn't my ally--that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself.  He tried to warn me.  He promised me all he was able to offer--each moment as it came--but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it's the end, it's only the beginning.  Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me.  Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn't--I wouldn't ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.


Oh wow...simply wow.  I don't know where to begin.  If you haven't read this book go right now and read it!  It's been awhile since a book grabbed me and every emotion that I have.  This book floored me.  I cried, begged, and laughed until I cried some more.  It takes every emotion you have, drags it out of you, throws it on the floor and then stomps on it while you stand and watch...but then it puts you back together again and shows you that miracles can happen.  I loved the story line.  It was a topic many deal with and few feel like discussing.  What happens when you find everything you've ever wanted but you know you're on borrowed time?  I loved the characters.  Wes was amazing.  So determined not to let his circumstances define him and yet scared at the same time.  He was perfect in every way.  I loved his inter monologues when he was thinking of other men being around Kiersten. Kiersten was stronger than she gave herself credit for and the perfect person for Wes when he needed someone the most.  I have read a lot of books by the author but this was by far the best.  It contains no sex, has many references to God, and the language is minimal.  It's a great read so if you haven't read it do it now...just have your tissues ready because you're gonna need them.

"Don't give up yet.  Sometimes when we think God has written The End, what he really means is The Beginning."


Kiersten is a beautiful redhead.  She's been through the death of her parents and suffers from severe depression because of it.  She's been living in the dark so long it's all she knows.  She's not looking for love but then we never are when we find it.  Her ghosts follow her wherever she goes but she's trying to get on with her life.  She's beginning her freshmen year of college and adjusting to life away from home.

Wes is perfect.  He's beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes.  He's a senior in college, the quarterback of the football team and oozes sex appeal.  He has a very powerful father and he's wealthy.  He has few friends and he's sort of untouchable at school...almost revered.  He is the RA in Kiersten's building.  He's hiding a huge secret from everyone except the close few who already know.

Wes and Kiersten meet a registration her first day on campus.  She literally runs into him.  She's very awkward and literally counts his 8 pack with her fingers before releasing him.  He's cocky and she peaks his interest immediately.  He tells her he doesn't date freshmen but as the book progresses he can't stay away from her.  They begin a friendship that's  a little one sided since it's obvious he wants more.  And by obvious I mean he flats out tells her he wants more but will settle for being friends.  He nicknames her Lamb because of her innocence.

I had no idea that one look would devastate me.  Weeks from now I would regret that one look, for that reason and one reason only.  His eyes held my ruin.

Her roommate is Lisa and she turns out to be a great friend to both of them.  Her cousin Gabe turns into their best friend.  I really loved his character.  He genuinely cared about Kiersten to the point that he didn't want her to even date Wes.  I think it's possible that he may have actually felt something for her but aside from innocent flirting never acted on it, especially once he began to approve of Wes.

As they begin spending time together on a daily basis it becomes apparent early on that something isn't quite right with him.  He's sick but we don't find out later what it is that he's battling.  I had a pretty good idea from the beginning but it was still hard to take when the truth came out.  He's constantly talking about time limits and time not being on his side.  He's on a ton of meds and he has an entourage following him at all times.  The students think they are friends but in truth they are his doctors.  She gets glimpses of this sickness but doesn't really put any mind to it.  I mean how sick can he be right?  He's the star quarterback with a bright future ahead...

We find out that he lost his brother to a drug overdose and that his mother is also dead leaving only his dad and him.  After a conversation with her uncle in which he tells her to live a little she marches up to his room, knocks on the door and kisses him.  She ends up staying the night with him lying in his arms and talking most of the night.  They are developing a strong bond but it's more than that even though he refuses to entertain the idea of more.  She wakes up the next morning and starts acting weird and he gives it to her straight.

"Oh, I see, you're going to do the whole avoiding thing.  Well, let me shoot you straight.  We didn't have sex, so you're not doing the walk of shame, things aren't awkward, and if you avoid me like the plague, I'll just stalk you."
"That's not creepy."
He shrugged...

She creates a bucket list and he makes it his life's mission to fulfill almost all the details on the list aside from the falling in love and getting her heart broken part.  He gives her a new way to view her parents deaths so she can really begin the healing process.

He'd picked up every little piece of emotional baggage I'd brought with me to college, unzipped it, and cleaned house.

He asks her on a date (just friends) and then he kisses her and I mean really kisses her.

"I'm going to make it so hard for you to forget this first kiss that you don't want anyone else kissing you ever again.  When the guy you fall in love with kisses you--it better put this kiss to shame--if it doesn't, then he isn't the right guy.  Because I'm going to do a damn good job, and I want the guy that earns you, that takes that heart of yours and holds it in the palm of his hands...I want that guy to be able to make you feel things I'll just be tapping into.  Do you understand, Kiersten?"

I mean will another kiss ever live up to that?!  He realizes that he's created a problem he didn't foresee with the kiss though.  He wanted it to change her life, he didn't count on it changing his too.  He gives her a book that's on her list just like the kiss.  He's falling hard and for the first time realizes he doesn't want to be on a time limit.  He's found a reason to live.  The rest of the date is great aside from a moment where he gets sick.

2 months pass and they continue to spend every free second together which just gives her more time to notice that something is definitely wrong with him, he's loosing weight, his color is changing and he has dark circles under his eyes.  He asks her to spend Thanksgiving break with him and his father.  He also decides he's going to date her for 2 weeks, she'll be his girlfriend for 2 weeks, and by then she'll decide she doesn't want him anymore.  You know this plan will backfire since he can't seem to help himself when it comes to her.  She agrees to go with him and to the "2 week girlfriend" plan.

Gabe overhears Wes talking to his doctors and then Wes admits exactly how sick he really is.  Gabe plays a huge role for Wes here.  He tells him not to tell Kiersten since he's going to be fine.  No one has showed any hope.  He tells him he can beat it.  It being cancer that is growing around his heart by the way.  Gabe is showing him support and hope in that simple sentence and he decides because of that conversation from a guy he barely knows that he's willing to live, to fight to be healthy, and to fight for Kiersten.  That one conversation changes his whole mindset.  Once he gets her home to his house he changes his mind about the 2 week thing and tells her he will give her as much time as he has.  Here is the perfect timing to tell her his secret since she's beyond confused at that statement but he doesn't.  He has 3 weeks until the surgery that will either fix his issue or he'll be sent home to die.  He's been taking experimental drugs but refuses to have the tests done to see if it's working because he doesn't want to know.  He tells her his heart will always belong to her and admits to his dad that he loves her.  She realizes that this guy is her forever.  Noticing how pale he is one night she asks him if he's ok.  He promises to tell her everything after they go to homecoming together and she gets to see him play ball.  She doesn't know it's his last game because he's not physically able to play anymore.

At the game he feels funny while on the field.  He ends up collapsing on the field in front of everyone and his last thought is, "I didn't tell her I loved her."  Gabe hits the field running for him and she's close behind but he and Wes's father stop her and she cries in Wes's dad's arms.  At the hospital they get him stable and he confesses everything to her.  He says those 3 little words and her world drops from under her.  she falls apart and Gabe is there to pick her up off the floor.  Wes explains everything and then asks her to stay with him.

At some point we don't get to see Wes and Gabe have become best friends and Gabe is not taking this well at all.  He's prayed that God would pass it on to him and spare Wes's life.  Kiersten tells Gabe that he will keep fighting, and he will live.  They are in the hospital for days and the surgery has been moved up.  He has an amazing nurse who is positive and encouraging.  She even tells him that his heart is beating strong than the day before.  The day before the surgery the four of them (Wes, Kiersten, Gabe and Lisa) spend the day hanging out in his room and just being close friends.  He has a huge support system that he didn't even know was available to him.

But beating this for her?  Yeah, I'd fight demons for her.  I'd fight the darkness in me, the sickness.  I'd fight that damn tumor.  I'd live.  Because I sure as hell wanted a 2014 with that girl in my arms.

He and Kiersten have a conversation about her list later that night.  He apologizes for not being able to help her finish it and she tells him it's already done...including the falling in love and having her heart broken part. They confess they love each other.  He then tells her he's going to marry her some day and they set a date for 1 year from his surgery date.  That will be the day he marries her.  Gabe will be his best man.

She has absolutely no idea what she does to me...She's my medicine, my cure, my everything.  If only hearts could heal that way--through someone else's beating.

The surgery happens and things are tense.  After 5 hours the doctor comes to talk to them and explains that the tumor near his heart had shrank to 1/4 of it's original size.  They were able to remove it all and he's going to live a healthy normal life.  The doctors are baffled.  That ladies and gentlemen is what we call a miracle.  When he wakes up we find out that he knew he was going to be fine before he went to sleep.  His nurse was there and right before the drugs pulled him under he saw the ring his dad gave his mother on their wedding day on the nurses finger (it was his mother).

2 months later he pulls her on to the field at half time of their bowl game and proposes to her in front of the entire school and she says yes.


This book it an easy 5 stars but it deserves so many more.  Simply amazing.  Read this book and you won't be disappointed!  I loved everything about it and I can't think of a single thing that I found wrong with it.  Go.  Read it now!

My Gabe / Kiersten


Favorite Quotes...

Note to self, when a girl's smile makes you forget your own name--you're in some deep shit.

"I can tell you have a good heart because the minute I met you, I wanted to fight for it."
"That's how you can tell when someone has a good heart?  When you want to start a war?"
"Nah.  When you want to be the one to make it beat."

Three months ago I wouldn't have been strong enough to go through this.  Now?  Now I felt like The Hulk--I'd hold his hand through it, we'd walk through the battle together and in the end, we'd still be holding hands.