Author: Carolyn Lee Adams
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.
Ruthless is a fast-paced and gripping young adult thriller that will suck the reader inside of its story and not let go until the very end. The story follows Ruth Carver as she wakes to find herself with a bad concussion and shoved in the bed of a moving truck. She has no idea what happened, where she is, or where she's going. When the truck finally stops and Ruth is able to take off the blindfold she's been wearing, she discovers that she's been abducted and taken to an old cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The man who abducted Ruth is convinced that it's his mission to punish selfish, bad girls like Ruth - and she definitely isn't his first victim. There were six other girls before her - all younger than her and never heard from again after being taken by this man. Ruth knows without a doubt that she must escape the cabin and the man if she has any chance of surviving. Using her inner strength and determination - traits that have earned her the nickname "Ruthless" back home - she decides that she's not going down without a fight. She will do whatever it takes to beat this guy at his own sick game. She's going to win and then bring him to justice for what he did to her and those other girls who were never found. But first she has to survive alone in the deep forests of the mountains until she can find help - all while being hunted by a crazy man who knows these woods like the back of his hand. Will Ruth be able to survive in the forest until she finds help? Or will it come down to a more personal fight - one that will end with only one of them walking out of there alive?
I absolutely love thrillers - they're by far one of my favorite genres. Being such a huge fan, I believe that there aren't enough good YA thrillers out there. After reading the description of this book, I knew that I had to read it. I went in with pretty high hopes that it would be worthy of the genre label - which, thankfully, wasn't an issue at all. Almost all of the aspects of the book were incredibly well done. The characters all had distinct personalities and weaknesses, especially our heroine - Ruth - and the man who abducts her. These two characters were very complex and they both developed nicely throughout the story. We get to know them both on a personal level - we learn what makes them tick and how they came to be the way they are now. The story was told in first person point of view from Ruth's perspective, which I think was absolutely perfect for the book. By getting such an inside look at Ruth's personality, along with her fears, doubts, inner thoughts, emotions, and memories - among several other things - I was able to really connect with her from the very beginning of the book. By the time I had finished reading, I felt like I had gone through every experience right alongside her - or that she had told me personally what she had gone through. By using the first person POV, the author was able to make Ruth incredibly realistic and easy to identify with.
Throughout the book, there are sections of flashbacks. These are written from the past, as memories, and alternate between Ruth's life as well as the killer's. It's through these small peeks into their lives that allows the reader to get to know them better and to see how certain circumstances and events have helped shape them into the people they've become in the present day - when the story itself takes place. I think this was a fantastic addition to the story in many ways and it also gave a new depth to both the characters and the story line itself that couldn't have been achieved any other way.
The plot was pretty straightforward - just from reading the description, you get the overall gist of the book. It's a thrilling story by itself, but when you add in the detailed imagery and vivid descriptions along with all of the twists and turns the plot takes - you get something truly remarkable. I was hooked from the beginning paragraphs and didn't come up for air until I had finished reading the entire book - which actually wasn't that long because I was compulsively reading as fast as I could to see what was going to happen next. I loved the attention to detail the author gave to every single part of the book - from the characters, their personalities and backgrounds, to the setting as well as the plot line itself. Every aspect of the novel fit perfectly together to create a gripping thriller that breathes some much needed fresh air into the genre. I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre, as well as to readers who enjoy mysteries, suspense and realistic, gritty contemporary fiction. If you are a fan of YA thrillers - you need to get your hands on this book! I promise you won't be left disappointed!
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Carolyn Lee Adams is originally from the Seattle area, breeding ground of serial killers and those who write about them. She attended USC Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. RUTHLESS (Simon Pulse, Summer 2015) is her first novel. When she isn't exploring the dark side of human nature in her writing, you'll find her on stage as a stand-up comedian. Because those things go together.
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