Ruined – Stratford High Series, Book One
by Marian Cheatham
When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?
Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on
her ex, Stratford High’s lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that’s what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who swears to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.
When scandalous photos of Bonni and the team captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni’s virtuous reputation is ruined. She professes her innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?
Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance.
“Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance–Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado
About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!”
Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie
All books in the Stratford High series will be modern retellings of a Shakespeare classic. Ruined is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.
I headed for the Sports Arena, Sly and Slash trailing behind like the obedient lackeys they were. “The idea of that fool, Cory, dating Messina money makes me wanna puke.” I stopped in front of the Basketball Throw and swiped my card in the slot. “I’d love to find a way to bust Cory and Bonni up.” Four balls rolled down the shoot into the pocket in front of me.
“I could beat the crap out of him for you,” Slash offered.
“That could make them even tighter. Bonni would feel sorry for Cory. Want to nurse him back to health.” I took my first shot. “No, what I need is a way to humiliate them.” The ball circled the rim and then dropped off to one side. “I want to ruin their spotless reputations.”
“Like that Facebook incident,” said Sly, “that happened to that Maggie chick I dated freshman year. Some of her friends posted some embarrassing pictures of her. Mags was so ashamed, she missed two weeks of school.”
“I saw those pictures.” I took another shot. “Hysterical. Especially that drunk one of her puking in her dad’s Escalade.” The ball bounced off the backboard and forward over the rim. “We need something more damaging, like photos of Bonni hooking up with another guy.”
“How we gonna get those?” asked Slash. “When she’s all over Rash?”
I took my third shot. The ball hit the outside of the rim and dropped like a boulder to the floor. “What if we got Cory to think she was cheating on him?”
“That would kill him.” Sly sniggered. “His good girl gone bad.”
“And what if the guy turning the good girl bad is my brother? That would get Paolo into hot water with his tight buddy, Leo Messina.” I spun on Slash. “Can you get your hands on some Roofies?”
“The date rape drug?”
“You got a problem with that?”
Slash shook his head. “Nope. I’m your guy. But those pills cost.”
“Don’t sweat it. I’ll front the money. In fact, there’ll be some serious cash for both of you if you help me pull this off.” I raised my last ball and released. The ball slipped right through the net. “Slam dunk.” Slash and Sly jumped up to shoulder bump each other. “Let’s do this. First chance we get.”
“When will that be?” Slash asked.
I wandered past the sporting games. I wasn’t in the mood for baseball or golf. I wanted to pound something. “When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll know.”
What a brilliant book. Yes, brilliant. I’m really enjoying the YA’s that I have read lately. They are topical, straight forwarded and just brilliantly written. Yes, there is angst but it’s needed in a YA novel. Ruined takes on a socially relevant topic that happens every day that its frightening.
Based on Shakespeare, Ms. Cheatham retells a story that is shocking, evil and oh so delicious. Told in alternating points of view, you can fully understand what each main character from the cousins, hero, and even the villain have to say. This is not the first time that I’ve read a story like this and I love it. I felt more connected to the characters and understood them better. I know some people like one POV but not me. I want to know what the villain’s motivation is, etc.
While there is a romance per se in the book, it’s not heavy-handed. It’s a sweet story that anyone can read. I realize that this is based on Shakespeare but I’m often reminded about a film that came out when I was in high school…The Breakfast Club. Socially relevant then and I still think that EVERY high school student should see it today. Trust me, I made my cousins watch it when they got to that age.
Ruined is that book that I think should be in every high school library. Its stays on topic, delivers a good, clean message but also some humor and the power of friendship. Does the villain in the story get theirs? Maybe…you will have to read it to find out. I can’t wait for the next book in the series and hopefully some of the same characters will show up.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Marian is a full-time writer of contemporary and historical young adult fiction. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught special education and worked in the business world before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. She would rather be at her desk than almost anywhere else, but of course, that isn’t always possible. So when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, walking the dog, travelling with her husband, and researching new projects. Not necessarily in that order.
She adores anything Shakespeare. An avid reader of Shakespeare biographies, she has travelled the world to see his plays, visiting Stratford, Canada as well as Stratford-Upon-the-Avon, Great Britain, and the new Globe Theater in London. Her latest YA novel, Ruined, Book One in her new Stratford High series – modern retellings of Shakespeare’s plays – is inspired by the Bard’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. Book Two, inspired by the Merchant of Venice, is due out fall 2014.
Her debut YA, Eastland, came out in February 2014. Based on the real-life story of the 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago, Marian lectures about the Eastland to schools, libraries, and book clubs, as well as co-hosting haunted Chicago tours of Eastland disaster sites. She writes a post on the subject on the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog site. Visit her at:
Marian will be awarding an eBook copy of Ruined to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour. A Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Ruined plus a new DVD of Much Ado About Nothing starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson will be awarded to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY).