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She wanted to start again. To be someone---anyone---different . . .
Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh's first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.
It wasn't long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who'd do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker's brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure . . .
Source: e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
My main takeaway from In Ruins is that this is one angsty read. You can feel the immense weight of all the emotional baggage throughout the entirety of the book. I wasn't quite prepared for that, however, I was curious enough about what went down between Carleigh (Carl to her friends) and Tucker to stick with it.
Some of you may know that In Ruins the NA continuation of the series that was introduced originally as YA. I didn't realize that at first, therefore, I was nervous about whether or not it would be a hindrance to my understanding of their history. No need to worry there. Pearl does explain what went on between Carl and Tucker and the big secret that divided them - that is aside from the ongoing lack of communication that took place. Once the backstory is told, all the animosity between them makes perfect sense and why they despise each other. Actually to be clear, it's mostly Tucker. He is just so bitter and unforgiving while Carl is sad and remorseful; she's like a wounded puppy, having resigned herself to the fact that he will hate her forever. That's not to say that she doesn't carry any blame. Still, there's love there on some deep, hidden level which manifests itself into intense hate-sex. Seriously, they go at it like nobody's business but that's not necessarily my thing. Anyway, these two have to figure out how to coexist since they're at the same college and how convenient, in the same class.
The story had me up until the end thanks to a plot twist I didn't see coming. However, it was probable considering the big secret in Carl's past. I can't put my finger on it but something about it didn't work for me. Regardless, if you have a hankering for an interesting if intensely angsty read filled with lots of melodrama, then this is your book!