Reviews for An education in ruin

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A boarding school student on a mission infiltrates the in crowd. Collins Pruitt has relocated from Wisconsin to enter the Rutherford Institute, an elite California boarding school, as a third-year student. She has more on her mind than calculus and college applications, though. Collins’ beloved aunt, Rosie, has compelled Collins to attend Rutherford and gather intelligence on Jasper and Theo Mahoney, upperclassmen brothers and golden boys whose mother is in a secret relationship with Collins’ wealthy and influential investor father in order to get the Mahoneys out of crippling debt. Soon, Collins finds herself in over her head, not just with Theo’s fast-moving and thrill-seeking group of friends, but with Jasper, for whom she’s quickly developing real romantic feelings—even as he is wrestling with potentially life-ruining secrets of his own. Bass creates a vivid, evocative environment in both Rutherford and the coastal town surrounding it. However, the book is heavily front-loaded and wraps up abruptly, and it seems far-fetched that Collins would uproot her mostly happy existence on hearsay from her aunt without fact-checking with her father, with whom she’s supposedly very close. Whiteness is situated as the default for main characters; diversity in peripheral characters is signaled through names. Well-written suspense overwhelmed by a flimsy premise. (Thriller. 12-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.