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New Release Review: RUINED by Mariam Cheatham (Stratford High #1)

I can’t wait to read more from this series!


by Marian Cheatham
Publication date: July 2014
Genres: Romance, Young Adult


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 professes to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.

When scandalous photos of Bonni and the lacrosse captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni’s virtuous reputation is ruined. She pleads 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


Such a fun read! I’m a total sucker for modern remakes of classic stories, and I can’t wait to see where this series is going.

Ms. Cheatham did a great job of adapting Shakespeare’s story to a modern YA tale, taking the elements of the original and tweaking them to fit today’s teenagers. The chapters were short and readable, told from several different characters’ points of view (mainly Blythe, DB, Paulo, and Jon with a few others as needed) and the story moves along quickly. Many character names were clever allusions to the original–Prince Don Paulo becomes high school lacrosse star Paulo Prince, for example, and Leonato, governor of Messina becomes Leo Messina, owner of Messina Motors and wealthy sponsor of the lacrosse team.

Dr. Bard, Stratford High School principal and theater aficionado, cracked me up as he peppered his conversation with “doth”s and “hath”s left and right.

Blythe and DB didn’t quite have the same playful antagonistic relationship of the original (or of the Branagh or Whedon movie) version(s), but it was close. Watching them get played by their friends and loved ones was very much like the other versions, and really entertaining to read.

Though this would be a decent story on its own, I definitely recommend reading it with a working knowledge of the original story–you’ll appreciate it so much more if you do. If you haven’t read or seen it on stage yet, no worries–just free up two hours or so and grab one of the aforementioned film adaptations. Then pick up Ruined. You won’t be sorry.

Now I’m off to re-watch Joss Whedon’s film version while I wait for Ms. Cheatham to finish the next in the series.

And yeah, then I’ll probably throw in Branagh’s for good measure. I’ve got time. 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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