Review: Toxic by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin, #2
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance


Everyone has a secret…

Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He’s been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him–obsess over him–driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice.
But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever.
Pretending isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn’t just be his life at risk–but hers.

Saylor doesn’t hate men.
Just Gabe.
Only Gabe.
He’s a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn’t afraid of flunking, she’d be long gone. She hates that she’s attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he’s attracted to her–and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn’t form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn’t who he says he is, and he’s hiding something big.

What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever–the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he’s been craving for the past four years?

Everyone has a secret…What’s yours?

  ★ ★ ★ ★ 


I knew I loved Gabe after meeting him in Ruin, but I had no idea how much more I would fall in love with him in Toxic. 

In Ruin, Gabe was a badass with a soft side. And while he’s still those things in Toxic, he’s also brittle and broken. I had no idea his backstory was going to be so heartbreaking or touching. His demons and past controlled him. It was so sad to see him fighting himself and his past.

There was a bright light in Gabe’s life, though; and that was meeting Saylor. She was sweet and innocent to his dark and brooding. His plan was to help her put feeling in the music she played. In turn, she helped him conquer his feelings through music.

The music therapy aspect of this book was so cool. I loved seeing both Gabe and Saylor work out their feelings through their talent. I really wish I could have heard them both play piano in real life. I imagine it would be so beautiful!

I also loved the push and pull of Gabe and Saylor’s relationship. It was almost an enemies to lovers book, which is one of my favorite relationship tropes. Their interactions were so much fun to read.

Another thing I really loved about Toxic was the connections that continued on from Ruin. I can’t really explain it without giving things away, but you should definitely read Ruin if you’re interested in reading Toxic. There’s some very cool tie ins I wasn’t expecting.

Oh, and I can’t leave out how much fun it was to see the rest of the gang, too. I loved catching up with Wes, Kiersten and Lisa. They continued to be amazing supporting characters.

As you can tell, I loved everything about this book! Toxic was a beautifully written story about love, heartbreak, forgiveness and redemption. I would highly recommend Toxic and the rest of the Ruin series to New Adult readers.

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