Cover Image: A Ruined Girl

A Ruined Girl

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Member Reviews

Just from the synopsis alone, this was quite a bit deeper than I expected. That being said, I did really enjoy this book. It kept me guessing until the end. Would recommend.
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An area involving children in care. It’s set in the past and present and it’s a hard read. I really enjoyed it and it won an award which I totally appreciate. The story is tense and complex and one you will remember for a good while.
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This was a great read, enjoyed it thoroughly, was hooked from the first page, loads of twists and turns, would recommend it x
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Full of thought-provoking moments, A Ruined Girl is a psychological thriller that travels between the past and the present in order to solve the mystery of “what on earth happened to Paige?”. Paige disappeared two years ago after breaking into her school counsellor’s house with her friend, Rob. Rob has been behind bars ever since but now, a government scheme set on reducing the population of the overcrowded prisons means Rob is released early. Probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. Wren is convinced Rob knows more about Paige’s disappearance.

This is a tough one to review because every single sentence I type seems to sound like a spoiler so I end up deleting everything because I really don’t want to give anything away. What I can say is that the intriguing plot pulled me in right away and I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth between the “now” and the “before” as I tried to find the clues between the teasers in an attempt to figure it all out before it was revealed to me. Some of it I got quite easily, some of it I didn’t see coming at all.

However, I must admit there were moments in the book where my interest started to wane and I was desperately longing for something, anything, to happen and shake things up. But the latter part of the book more than made up for that when it felt as if everything was suddenly happening all at once and I feared I might end up with whiplash trying to keep up with it all.

All in all, A Ruined Girl is a cleverly plotted psychological thriller that ended up on a much deeper level than I was expecting. This was my first time reading a book by Kate Simants but it won’t be the last time. One to watch!
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A Ruined Girl, Kate Simants. 

Two boys loved her. Which one killed her? One dark night Rob & Paige break into a house, the beat and traumatise the occupants, leave, taking only a bracelet. Nobody knows why, not even Luke, Robs brother and Paige’s closest friend. Paige vanished that night and Rob ended up in prison. Now Rob is free, Wren Reynolds has been tasked with helping Rob make amends with those he wronged as part of his probation. But Wren knows something else is going on, what does Rob know about where Paige went? Why was Wren so desperate to take Rob on as a client? And with everyone keeping secrets, how many is Wren keeping?

This book is one of the few crime thrillers that is impossible to figure out, with so many threads to follow, you, like Wren will find yourself tangled very quickly. 

With a flickering narrative between past and present this novel also exposes the flaws and let downs in our fostering systems. Paige and Luke are devastating characters, Wren and Rob too are brutally let down by systems designed to protect and help them and so a cycle of destruction and abuse continues. Luckily, with Wren we see a flawed but ultimately, successful character who is desperate to rebuild her life and make amends. 

A well written, clever, devastating book that is well worth a read. There is much more to this story than just your average thrill. 
Instagram @laurenslittlebookcase
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I really enjoyed this book however it is a right royal pain in the backside to review because of the dreaded spoilers, it would be impossible to fully review without spoiling the very well crafted plot so whilst I figure out how to do it justice, lets look at our setting and our main characters.

The books jumps between timelines, lets start with this part of the book.  It takes us back a couple of years to the English city of Bristol, two of our main characters, teens (they are around 15) Luke and Paige live in a care home, their parents unable or unwilling to look after them. They aren’t alone in their home, they share it with many other kids but for Luke he may as well be by himself as he only has eyes for Paige.  His unrequited love is plain to see but Paige thinks of him as a friend, a brother and nothing more. 

Joining Luke and Paige we have Rob, Luke’s older brother who at 18 is recognised as an adult and is living by himself, he wants to take care of his brother but to do that he also needs to stay on the straight and narrow.  But that is never going to happen as the three of them find themselves tangled up in a mess that ends up with one of them in prison and one of them missing.

Jumping forward in time the government have created a scheme to release offenders early back in to the community but to do it they have to visit all the people affected by the actions, Wren Reynolds is a probation officer who finds herself in a new role, she will be shepherding these offenders and her first case is Rob.

Wren is ready for a challenge, she is about to be come a mum for the first time, her heavily pregnant wife could go in to labour at any time.  She is going to help rehabilitate Rob and as she starts him on his path to a new life she becomes convinced that Rob knows more about the events that landed him in prison than he is letting on, what is he hiding and why?  Where is Paige and where is Luke?  

A great book, it has it all and I had no idea whatsoever where it was going, I thought I did for a while but then I fell foul of some crafty twists.  It is a dark book, any book that tackles children in a care home is not going to be sunshine and rainbows, A Ruined Girl doesn’t exploit these kids but it does show how vulnerable and impulsive children at this age can be.

A dark, well twisted web of a read.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Such a gripping and beautifully written novel. The main character was believably flawed and drew me in completely. Like the care system itself, the characters are complex and good intentions sometimes aren’t enough. I thought I knew where the story was going but it kept surprising me.
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Published 27th August by Serpent's Tail A Ruined Girl is the story of Paige, a young girl locked in the care system. As noted in the blurb, Paige went missing following a robbery she and her friend Rob carried out. 

No spoilers here but the story does open with a body being buried in the woods...

A Ruined Girl is one of those books that is almost impossible to review without giving too much away. But, trust me - it's very, very good. 

Although the story is about Paige it does focus on Wren Reynolds, the probation officer charged with easing Rob back into society. Following Wren and Rob as they go round each and every person who was affected by the robbery and the disappearance of Paige, you get a real feel for the consequences of the crime.  

Meeting Luke (Rob's Brother), Leah (Paige's best friend), the children's home owners and the school teachers and counsellors we are drawn into the story and begin to actually care what happened to Paige. The book also has a healthy dose of domestic drama between Wren and her pregnant partner as the case begins to take its toll on their relationship.

A Ruined Girl is a psychological thriller that's well worth your time.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. My thanks go to the publisher for allowing me a complimentary copy for review.  This review forms my honest and unbiased opinion.
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I already knew that A Ruined Girl had me in its literary grasp from the prologue, the way in which Kate wove the sentences that beautifully tied into paragraphs and then chapters had me immediately edging the end of my seat, I knew that this book was a thriller that was going to have me hooked on its every word.

We are introduced to Luke and Paige quite swiftly, we also come to understand the bond they share - one that many of us may be lucky enough to not understand. Both Luke and Paige live in a home for children who have yet to be fostered, where everyday is dog eat dog and where the bonds created mean everything. Luke is in love with Paige, in a life where nothing is sure, she is his sanity and someone who shares his personal burden. The way Kate ties these characters together will create for an emotional level. One part of the kaleidoscopic storyline that will have you angry, sympathise and fall in love with the characters, while keeping your focus on the mystery that echoes throughout the storyline. Two brothers, one missing girl and a tale of friendship that also feels like it borderlines obsessive love will utterly intoxicate you until before you know it, it's over and you're left in a catatonic emotional state.

One thing that grips me as a reader is a dual storyline, whether that's a narrator or timeline. Well Kate has created both! We have Rob's story after he's released from prison, Wren's POV as she digs deeper into her parolee while juggling her personal life - with these POVs we also get a trip to the past through the eyes of Luke prior to Paige's disappearance. Each viewpoint adds further layers to the already deep storyline, creating a more disturbing revelations and adding to the book's getting under your skin factor. Each piece of the puzzle allows us, the readers, to submerge ourselves into the lives of the characters, allows us to be drawn into the setting and feel the every changing atmosphere of A Ruined Girl.

What I admire about Katie's writing, is her attention to details which is apparent throughout the pages of A Ruined Girl. Kate has taken extra care to research the themes throughout the novel, from probation to children's homes, while also drawing from her own investigative history into profiteering at the expense to vunrable children. This, I think, gives a whole other dimension to the storyline, one that creates a new level of horror. Together, A Ruined Girl is a stunningly crafted thriller, knitted together with threads of real life to create a fictional tale of love, heartbreak, lies and scandal. Bravo Kate!
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Oooooo this is dark!!! Complex relationships, complex storyline, and conflicting emotions made for one dark and disturbing read. Well, that and the fact that someone died but let’s not split hairs, shall we?

‘A Ruined Girl’ is definitely a case of ‘whodunnit’, as well as being the case of whether anyone is going to own up to their misdemeanours. That would be too easy though, so thankfully Wren Reynolds was on hand to try and slot all of the puzzle pieces together. Naturally a case as complex as Paige’s, ends up having a detrimental effect on Wren’s well being and her mental state becomes compromised as her obsession with finding out the truth explodes.

Like I said; dark! There is a lot of ooomph to ‘A Ruined Girl’ and I really appreciated the fact that Simants makes her readers work hard for the truth. She doesn’t hand it to us on a plate by making things obvious early on. Some things are definitely worth waiting for, and this was one of them!

A carefully constructed, complex, devious novel which made me catch my breath more than once. Uber impressed!
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If your favoured reading material is a novel with a good sprinkling of suspense, hope, unpredictability, adversity, and a sense of foreboding, then feel at liberty to read this psychological crime thriller by Kate Simants - A Ruined Girl.

Teenagers Rob Ashworth, and Paige Garrett committed a robbery at school counsellor, James Yardley’s house, two years ago, resulting in Rob being sent to prison. That night, Paige disappeared from the care home where she was living, the same place that Rob’s brother, Luke also resided. Rob is due to be released early on a Community Atonement Programme overseen by probation professional, Wren Reynolds. Wren is meant to take Rob to visit those affected by his crime and apologise for the repercussions but, for her own reasons, she decides to delve into the past especially regarding Paige’s disappearance...

The story is told in the past, around the time of the robbery by Luke, and in the present by Wren. Kate Simants gave the reader some excellent characters, most of whom had appeal despite their flaws and I cared about them from the very beginning though of course, there was the odd less palatable one. I appreciated that Wren told part of the story as this enabled me to have more of an understanding of her and the reasons for her probing and blurring the lines professionally, risking her job. I also liked Paige, despite her problems and it was lovely that Luke cared about her and wanted to protect her.

The author released her information in such a way that I did not want to put down my kindle and wait for the next chapter. The writing really flowed and there were wonderfully crafted descriptions of the people and events. A Ruined Girl was a taut read and the author’s great talent made this a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated for the entertainment it was. The eye-popping ending was something of a surprise.

Overall, I'd say that A Ruined Girl is a little gem and it is a book that I'm so pleased to have read!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request from Serpent's Tail / Profile Books/ Viper via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Amazing read so many twist and turns the care system is a very sceptical area and this was shown so well in this read your allways thinking it's going to go one way and the next it's total redirected
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Part way through I thought I had A Ruined Girl all worked out; a few minutes from the end, I was just doing a celebratory dance around the ring when Kate Simants landed a right hook and a knockout blow that wiped the smug look off my face.  A Ruined Girl is an absolute cracker of a novel; it's fast-paced and gripping with a dark and gritty storyline that grabbed me from the start and didn't let go until I had turned the final page.

The story opens with a girl being buried in the woods by a boy and a man.  The boy is so tender with the body that it is clear that he has deep feelings for the girl.  Of course you then wonder why he killed her, or helped to kill her.  Why else would he be burying her in the woods?

Rob is a prisoner eligible for the Community Atonement Programme, whereby he meets and apologises to those affected by the crime that saw him sent to prison.  Rob and Paige, a young girl from a care home who later disappeared, were seen on CCTV after breaking into a house and stealing a valuable bracelet.  Rob went to prison and Paige has never been found.  Wren Reynolds is Rob's probation officer and she has the unenviable job of taking Rob to meet his victims.  With what happened to Paige being the big question on everyone's lips, Wren can't help digging into the past even when it puts a strain on her family life.

Switching between 'Before' and 'Now' we get glimpses into the past where Rob's brother, Luke, is in the same care home as Paige.  Luke is obsessed with Paige, watching her movements and buying her gifts, and it's much more than a harmless teenage crush.  It tells you in the blurb that two boys loved her and one of them killed her, but I couldn't decide between Rob and Luke.  A burglary gone wrong or hormones gone crazy?

Both the before and now storylines had me absolutely gripped.  I wanted to find out about events leading up to Paige's disappearance but I also wanted to put together the pieces of the puzzle with Wren.  I loved Wren's character; she makes so many mistakes that I felt like slapping my forehead every time she did something stupid, I even hissed through my teeth and said 'noooooo' on one occasion.  Her emotions are running high with taking on such a high profile case while her partner is about to give birth.  She does seem to have bitten off more than she can chew and if she's not careful she might end up losing her job as well as her family.

Perfectly plotted, A Ruined Girl is dark, disturbing and completely compelling.  Kate Simants is definitely one to watch and I can't wait to read more of her books.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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Beautifully written. I really grew to care about the characters and was on the edge of my seat in suspense the whole time! The pages turn themselves - a fantastic read!
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This is a complex story that teased and prodded in present-day to find out what happened to a young teenager, who vanished one night two years ago. Paige lived in a care home at the time and had committed a robbery with an older boy. Paige had disappeared that night, while Rob had gone on to serve time for the offence.

To ease the overcrowded conditions of the prisons a new programme was being tried out enabling suitable prisoners’ to be released back into the community early. There was a condition though, they had to revisit the people who they had committed a crime against, listen to them stating how the incident had affected them then the offender had to apologise for what they had done. Probation Officer Wren Reynolds makes Rob her priority to get involved with.

It wasn’t long before this story became my bubble with so many of the characters seeming to have something to hide. The failings of a system to protect the most vulnerable in society feels tragically real with the people who do care having to make personal sacrifices to do a good job. I really liked Wren but obsession could be her personal downfall.

With each new chapter, the anger and frustration began to build on every page and soon it rubbed off on me. The further that I read into the book the less hope I had for a good ending to all of this. Paige’s past is complex making her look for what is missing in her life but her emotions are confusing, especially when she has never known what normal is. Is Rob the key to where she is? He was the last person to see her.

A tremendous storyline that won’t be forgotten in a long time. I wish to thank NetGalley, the publisher and Profile Books for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
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I read this for a blog tour.

This was a tense thriller, full of secrets and twists. As Wren tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to Paige and keep everything from her wife, she might have bitten off more than she can chew.

The writing is concise and compelling, the mystery of what happened to Paige and why she and Rob conducted their burglary are revealed slowly and add to the mystery, leaving more questions than answers as the plot unrolls.

Clever, gripping and with an ending you won't see coming, this is a smart, modern thriller.
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⭐⭐⭐ / 5
𝑻𝒘𝒐 𝒃𝒐𝒚𝒔 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒓, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒊𝒄𝒉 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎 𝒃𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒓? 
𝑻𝒘𝒐 𝒚𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒈𝒐 𝑹𝒐𝒃 & 𝑷𝒂𝒊𝒈𝒆 𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒌𝒆 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒍 𝑪𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒄𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒓 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒕𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒂 𝒏𝒆𝒄𝒌𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆. 𝑷𝒂𝒊𝒈𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒔 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒅𝒂𝒚. 𝑹𝒐𝒃 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒐𝒇 𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒂 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒃𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒆𝒓, 𝑾𝒓𝒆𝒏 𝑹𝒆𝒚𝒏𝒐𝒍𝒅𝒔, 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒘𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒆𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝑷𝒂𝒊𝒈𝒆'𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆. 𝑰𝒔 𝑹𝒐𝒃 𝒉𝒊𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒉𝒆 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒔? 𝑾𝒉𝒚 𝒊𝒔 𝑾𝒓𝒆𝒏 𝒔𝒐 𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝑷𝒂𝒊𝒈𝒆'𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆?

So first of all this book did take me a while to get into which I had to lower the rating as I always do. But after I hit that point, I was so involved in the book. It goes from past to present and once it got going, it was amazing and how both connected. I really got invested in some of the characters - especially Wren and Luke. I loved Wren's personality, but it did take a while for her to unravel. 

It was hard reading about the children's homes, as in the news etc you always hear about misconduct and how children have issues later in life. I did guess some of the twists however the main one (for me) I didn't see coming at all. It was brilliant and sucked me into the characters even more!! Especially the ending 😭 

Really good book 👏 just wish it was slightly more fast paced for me but the ending etc definitely made up for that. 

Thank you to @netgalley and Serpents Tail for allowing me to read this ARC! 😍
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The book begins with a shocking scene of a boy burying a girl and the book then flips to the present day and a prison. Wren Reynolds who is a probation officer is visiting a new client Rob. Rob needs to visit the people who were affected by his crimes and make amends for what he did. This includes friends of Paige, managers of the home and victims of their crimes. This is a new scheme and not a popular one.

In the before story it tells of how Rob and Luke are brothers, Luke has been put into care after his mother is sectioned. Rob is desperately trying to get Luke to live with him when he turns 18. Paige is also in the same care home as Luke and Luke is besotted with her and wants to protect her.Paige appears to be involved in something and Luke tries to find out what it is, he thinks she maybe being abused.

I liked the setting of the book as I live in the South West and there were landmarks in Bristol and Bath that I recognised. I quickly got into this book and I enjoyed the fast pace of the story and with the two timelines, there is an underlying feeling of something being very wrong with the system that the young people are in.

It is a sad tale of the care system and the children who are put in it to be safe and it will keep you engrossed until the end as Wren tries to uncover what happened all those years ago and what happened to Paige. It is also apparent that Wren also has issues that she has hidden and she will bend the rules to find out the truth about Paige.

This is a dark read that makes you question the very people who are supposed to protect these young people but also the scars that are left behind for the ones who survive. It has a really great twist that I definitely did not see coming and you will be desperate to find out the truth about what happened to Paige too.
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Set over two timelines, the past and the present. Here in the present, Wren is a probation officer working on a rehab program for newly released offenders. She’s helping Rob, who had committed a robbery with Paige. Rob was caught and convicted and Paige disappeared. 

As the story jumps to the past, you learn more about Rob, Paige and Rob’s brother, Luke. It deals with some dark moments as you hear of their backgrounds.

Wren begins to look into Paige’s disappearance…

This is a compelling psychological thriller with family drama at its heart. It’s dark, twisty and a thoroughly engrossing read.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC of A Ruined Girl. This is my honest and unbiased review
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Lock Me In, the debut novel by Kate Simants was one of my favourite books last year and so I was thrilled when I got a review copy of A Ruined Girl. To begin with I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as Lock Me In (which has a fabulous premise!) as the storyline was very different but gradually this book became a gripping addiction for me and I found myself completely immersed in its cleverly crafted characters and their lives.

There is a very sad, but unfortunately all too realistic, background to A Ruined Girl. The care system contributed greatly towards what happens to Paige, a young girl who goes missing after she commits a burglary. This child has been moved around the system and is desperate for love and attention after being removed from her abusive home. But what happened to her? Her partner in crime from the burglary has recently been released from jail and Wren Reynolds is in charge of his rehabilitation which involves talking to the victims of his crime. But with a heavily pregnant partner and secrets of her own to maintain, can Wren remain true to herself and keep her own family safe from harm?

I found Wren to be a complex character, one I wasn’t sure whether or not I liked to begin with as something felt “off” with her. As with any good protagonist, work seemed to come before her personal life and I just wanted to scream at her at times! But as the threads of the plot started to come together I found myself cheering her on to do the right thing for the young girl that no one seemed to care had gone missing. There’s some distressing themes under the spotlight here but Kate Simants handled them with sensitivity whilst never shirking away from the horror of the storyline.

A Ruined Girl was a twisty and unexpectedly emotional read that kept me guessing until the very end. I loved it!
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