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Review: Toxic (Ruin #02) by Rachel Van Dyken

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Title :  Toxic (Ruin, #02)

Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Date Published: March 4, 2014
Language: English
Buy Links: Amazon
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Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He’s been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him–obsess over him–driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice.
But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever.
Pretending isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn’t just be his life at risk–but hers.

Saylor doesn’t hate men.
Just Gabe.
Only Gabe.
He’s a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn’t afraid of flunking, she’d be long gone. She hates that she’s attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he’s attracted to her–and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn’t form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn’t who he says he is, and he’s hiding something big.

What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever–the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he’s been craving for the past four years?

Everyone has a secret…What’s yours?


Rachel Van Dyken does what Rachel Van Dyken does. She writes beautiful stories with wonderful characters. In Ruin, Gabe is introduced as the cousin of Lisa, Kiersten’s roommate at Ruin. Nicknamed “Turtle”, Gabe actually acts like a big brother to Kiersten. He is said to sleep around, bagging coeds anytime, anywhere. But in Toxic, it is shown that this the exact opposite. Gabe is actually loving and loyal. This facade he shows is from a secret he carries, which he refuses to share.

On the other hand, there is Saylor. A play it safe music major freshman. All she wants is to be able to have a job, to provide a stable life for her mom and brother. But what happens to music if it is stable and safe?

It was a very bad first few meeting. Basically, Gabe becomes a bit of a jerk, and Saylor was pretty annoyed and confused. But the attraction between them was definitely undeniable. And as Gabe’s past slowly catch up, it was music that brings them together. Music plays an important part in the story. Its where Gabe finds his release and its where Saylor finds her passion.

Toxic uses alternating PoVs between Gabe and Saylor, with those short thoughts from the characters at the beginning of the chapters. Through out the story, there are glimpse of Gabe’s past through his flashbacks.

We also see how much Gabe and Lisa care for each other. This is actually one of my favourite parts of the book. Van Dyken highlights Gabe and Lisa’s relationship.They would do anything for each other in a hearbeat. They have a bond that only a shared tragedy or a similar past can create. Van Dyken also gives us some of Lisa’s back story, setting up the stage for a book of her own.

Of course, what is Ruin #02 without Wes and Kiersten? One of my favourite couples, we see how close Wes and Gabe have become. In true Wes fashion, it is Wes who becomes Gabe’s sounding board, his nagger and his supporter. Wes’ “strength was like gravity, pulling everyone within a fifty-mile radius into its center”. Who doesn’t love Wes?

Van Dyken also has another surprise in the book, that beautifully ties it up with Ruin. Look for it.

Toxic is about letting go, forgiveness, facing your past and finding strength for the future. It is an excellent read. I love Saylor, and like I always say, I love seeing old characters. Its like seeing old friends. But I love Gabe the best. His pain and struggles are so heartbreaking, you can’t help but share in it. And although you get a glimpse of Gabe’s wonderful capacity to love in Ruin, in Toxic, it is shown in its full beauty. To me, Gabe, who has shut himself in the darkness, has become the light, just as bright as the sun.

Toxic is book two of the Ruin Series, with book 3, Shame, which is Lisa’s story, set to come out on October 6.  To know more about Rachel Van Dyken and her other works, visit her website, facebook page, and goodreads page.


Author: Lorn (pakwanstripes)

Yogi, book lover, comic book reader, cat moma and diabetic :)

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