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The Ruinous Sweep

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A rainy night. An empty highway. And no memory. From award-winning author Tim Wynne-Jones comes a riveting murder mystery that will keep readers enthralled until the last page.

On the night Donovan Turner is thrown out of a car on a highway in the middle of nowhere, he can barely remember his own name, let alone the past twenty-four hours. Where is he? Where is his girlfrie
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Candlewick Press
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3.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  131 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Eve (Between The Bookends)
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it

Before I started reading this one I wanted to take a peek at a few reviews and get a general feeling about the book. I saw that this book was getting mostly negative attention, and after skimming a few of them, I was more than a little tentative to start it. However, I ended up liking this one a lot. The story had me hooked right from the beginning.


Oh, sure there were parts that were a bit confusing and chaotic (especially the sections told from Donovan's POV). And parts that I am still not ent
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Did not get the ending , book was doing good till then but why did it have to end like that . I felt like the writer felt forced to finish it a light tone , I don’t agree but otherwise till then the book had been pretty good , you had solid characters and well written main characters, recommend this book if you want a quick read , just keep in mind that you might be dissatisfied with the ending .
Catherine ♡
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's something about Tim Wynne-Jones' writing that doesn't always appeal to people, but for me, it always keeps me on my toes and makes me turn the page. The Uninvited did that for me, and so did this one. I was really into it in the beginning, and towards the end I was too. The book did seem to be a little dragged out in the middle, and I was definitely a bit confused, but in the long run this was still a really interesting read!

This book is a mystery/thriller, but it definitely doesn't have
Julie Parks
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
A bit of everything: intriguing, well-flowing, slightly messy, addictive at time and completely flat at others... it's a book for those who're tired of the expected and usual format.

Thank you Netgalley for the copy in exchange for my honest review.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

I was very curious throughout this book, a boy who's lost his memories, who may be a possible murder suspect? YES. I am really interested in crim and unsolved mysteries, so this type of story is certainly appealing to me. I think my main problem with this book was Donovan's POVs. In the beginning I was pretty invested in his chapters, but as they went on I started thinking 'WHY do we need this aspect?". Everyth
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-books
I chose this book because it was unlike any other I’d seen from Candlewick Press thus far. Covering death and murder under the guise of a suspenseful read, while remaining light enough for young adult seemed like hard shoes to fill.

The Ruinous Sweep was certainly bizarre as it toed a fantasy-like world between life and death. Donovan finds himself suspended in a coma, producing a dream state that is confusing to the reader. We are led through Donovan’s dying state and Bee’s hunt to uncover the
Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.

Ambitious is the main word that comes to mind. Retelling Dante's Inferno is intense and quite a load to take one. Unfortunately, it did not work for me. I gave it 100 pages, and when I was just as confused and uninterested as when I started, I decided to call it quits. I have 11 other ARCS on my plate, 3 in July. I live by the motto, "life's too short to waste time on books you're not feeling"

I don't think this book was bad, not by any means. It just simply wa
Sarah Hannah
INCREDIBLY unbalanced, with a lot of what happens in the beginning serving to do nothing but confuse the reader and try to do some weird Inception meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind business, and that does not work. I feel like it started out an exercise in adapting, riffing on, and modernizing Dante's Divine Comedy (which I've never read) and then became an actual crime novel, but everyone forgot to go back and edit out the Dante bit that was never really resolved or particularly inter ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The premise for "The Ruinous Sweep" is an intriguing one, but there was quite a bit lacking in the execution. For me, the pacing was the problem. It felt like it was either dragging or being rushed, with an ending that felt forced. That being said, it wasn't a bad book, just not one that lived up to its potential. If the synopsis sounds like your type of thing, I still recommend giving it a try.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for honest feedb
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
An interesting idea for a retelling intermixed with a murder mystery sounds like just the thing I’d get excited for but unfortunately in this case it fell flat.

“The Ruinous Sweep” is a story told in two parts as Donovan desperately tries to determine if he’s responsible for his father’s death all the while dealing with his own chaotic situation as his girlfriend Bee struggles with the detectives eager to pin the entire crime on him while he lays in a hospital bed. As the story unfolds and secre
An ambitious literary YA murder mystery inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy which has a blend of dream-like fantasy and intricately dense characterization. See my full review here.

Thanks to Candlewick for the ARC.
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

Donovan closed his eyes. He couldn't take much more of this. He was so tired. Too tired to keep his guard up. Words were seeping from him in a slow drip. What was he doing? How did he get here? He searched the empty highway ahead. He was running from something. That had to be it. He glanced back over his shoulder and saw only darkness out the rear window, and below it the darkness of something under wraps, something still breathing but smelling as if it had stopped.

Twice the winner of the Gover
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J-F Dubeau
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to go into details about this book.

It sort of half-delivers on expectations, but then compensates for the missing half with unexpected surprises. Thematically it hits all the marks, though it takes a while to get there.

Don't get me wrong; there is no lack of events and character development throughout the first half, but the conceit isn't as clear as what we're used to in a narrative. I tend to often go into a book without reading the synopsis if I can (usually if they are recommendati
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is one of the hardest reviews I probably ever had to write or attempt to write. There were so many elements of the book I loved and others not so much, but settling on a rating was agonising. So before writing this review I began to researching the book and other reviews and found the other reviews to be rather negative and because of those negative comments I changed my view of this book. After all I found the negative reviews to have little merit as the flaws they plucked where positives ...more
Lisa Rowland
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
You shouldn't simply judge a book by it's cover, but this one was compelling to me, and it was one I rather wanted to read. However, from the get go, I was just confused. The main character was thrown into a state of confusion as well, but I was struggling to even figure out what sort of story it was. Horror? Realistic? Were there fantasy elements or was the guy on something? Who even knew. And I mostly got to the point that I didn't really care, even when I started figuring out where things wer ...more
Award-winning author, Tim Wynne-Jones. has written a mystery-thriller in the genre of magic realism for the young adult reader. Donovan has had a difficult relationship with his estranged father who has become an alcoholic. His father Al still has some control over his son and Donovan goes to see his father to end their relationship. The evening of this encounter turns tragic for both father and son. What did happen that night? As Donovan lays in the hospital in critical condition, his girlfrien ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Ruinous Sweep by Tim Wynne-Jones, 385 pages. Candlewick, 2018. $19.

Language: R (20+ swears, 10 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (sex, drugs, death); Violence: R



Donovan is in the Ruinous Sweep, trapped between life and death, in some nightmare scape. Donovan tries to work out the last night of his life with help from the living and the dead. Once he almost has it solved, he is able to offer clues to his girlfriend via his coma ramblings, to hi
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Nobody quite writes tension like Tim Wynne-Jones (think "Blink and Caution") and parts of "The Ruinous Sweep" are certainly nail-biting beyond belief. As the book opens, Donovan Turner is in a hospital bed fighting for his life and trying to share something important with his girlfriend Bee. He's incomprehensible. But, it's too late and when Donovan dies, it seems that not only was he run over by a vehicle but that he may have been responsible for his own father's beating and death. Bee instinct ...more
Wow. This was incredible.

The first two hundred-ish pages of this book were like an interdimensional mystery that reminded me of that one Twilight Zone episode (where the man's daughter gets stuck in a parallel dimension and he can hear her calling from it). After a major, upsetting event, (view spoiler) it sort of transformed into this thriller, where Bee (one of the main characters) is chased by a notable, murderous villain. When this guy is taken care of, the
Mrs. Kenyon
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018-audiobooks
It was a dark road, late at night, when Donovan was struck by a car and put in the hospital. His girlfriend, Bee, stays by his side and fears he will die. Donovan never really wakes up, but he mumbles some words and Bee writes them in her journal. She soon discovers that the police believe Donovan took part in a murder before he was hit by the car; now Bee is out to prove his innocence and maybe find out why Donovan was on that road to begin with.

The Ruinous Sweep is a stand-alone novel that wa
Skyler Kelley
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Supernatural romance and murder mystery wrapped in one. A young couple in small-town Canada come to a tragic end when the boyfriends' mixed-up family life comes back to harm them both. The story starts with him in the hospital and alternates from his unconscious imaginings of recent events and her time at his bedside, trying to figure out how he got there. She's the focus for most of the book as she pieces together clues even the police don't, trying to figure out what his mutterings really mean ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't know what's going on in this book, but I find it to be a hot mess. I have this thing where I don't like to read any books that keep you lost/guessing the entire way through without giving you ANYTHING in return. That's what this book is. You seriously have no idea what's going on. I read over 130 pages and it never gets better.

Truthfully, I like how the book started and I was intrigued for about fifty pages, but then I started to lose interest due to what I noted above. I flipped to the
Elena (ThePurpleCarrot)
Jun 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
The premise for this book was very interesting. However, it didn't live up to my expectations. I really tried to enjoy it, I gave it many chances and I read it all, but I didn't like it at all. Based on the other reviews I saw for this book, you either love it or hate it. Maybe it's not my type of book, since so many people gave it many stars.

From the very first page, I was lost. I found the book very complex, and I don't think it was useful, nor did it bring something more to the story.

I foun
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canlit-pub-2018
The Ruinous Sweep is a thrilling murder mystery that will keep you guessing long after you have finished the book. As Donovan floats between his past memories and current situation, he is desperately trying to communicate with his girlfriend Beatrice. The reader is constantly trying to determine what is real and what is illusion all the while trying to guess who murdered Donovan's father. The mystical elements run seamlessly throughout the novel and readers are taken on a brilliantly original st ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after getting a free copy from a writers workshop. I was confused at the low rating that this book got on here. It seems that people were confused with the start "dream sequence" and others thought that the last half of Bee figuring it out was bad. I thought that it was a nice balance. you slowly figure out the hints Donovan was trying to say in his coma-state and how the girlfriend was figuring things out and realizing stuff about what he said in his coma. I thought the ending ...more
Cheryl Schenk
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know, I give 5 stars quite often, but if I enjoy a book from start to finish, then that author is worthy of said rating from me. This book, in my opinion, deserved even more. Thank you to Susan M Toy for leading me to it.

A compelling story from the very start. It’s been a while since I’ve been kept on the edge of my seat so intensely, needing to arrive at the finish line. The drama, the heart-wrenching, the intrigue, the thrill of one young woman’s determination to reveal the truth of it all,
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Tim Wynne-Jones (born 12 August 1948) is an English–Canadian author of children's literature, including picture books and novels for children and young adults, novels for adults, radio dramas, songs for the CBC/Jim Henson production Fraggle Rock, as well as a children's musical and an opera libretto.

Arthur Ellis Award
◊ Best Juvenile (2001): The Boy in the Burning House
Edgar Award
◊ Best You