young adult book reviews & more

Ruined: a Ghost Story by Paula Morris

Ruined: A NovelRebecca Brown is none too happy to be staying in New Orleans while her father is away on business. True, there is a sort of beauty to the city despite the lasting effects of Hurricane Katrina, but that hardly makes up for the fact that Rebecca has to live with crazy, voodoo-obsessed Aunt Claudia, who’s not even her real aunt at all, and attend a prep school with snooty rich girls who care more about who you’re related to than your personality. Rebecca couldn’t feel more out of place, especially since the only people who willingly talk to her are Anton Grey, a gorgeous and conflicted boy Aunt Claudia warns Rebecca to stay away from, and Lisette, a sweet and somewhat secretive girl Rebecca meets one night at Lafayette Cemetery, another forbidden place. The only catch is that Anton belongs to the same elite circle as the snootiest girls from Rebecca’s prep school, and Lisette is a ghost. It turns out there’s more to New Orleans than Rebecca could ever have imagined, including an ancient curse connecting Lisette, Anton, the snooty prep school girls, and even Rebecca in ways they never thought possible.

Ruined is first and foremost a ghost story, and a pretty good one at that. Morris makes this ghost story unique by incorporating history, culture, and the supernatural. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of voodoo, the history of the city of New Orleans, and the relatively strict social structure of the old-line families such an Anton’s. Morris portrays the historical, social, and supernatural aspects of this novel so well, which is why I liked the plot so much. However, in her characters, Morris falters. I felt somewhat detached from protagonist Rebecca throughout the whole novel; she wasn’t developed enough to be independent of the plot, and her actions within the plot did little to define her. None of the rest of the characters were sufficiently developed either. I particularly would have liked to learn more about Lisette and Anton; both remained mysteries to me. It isn’t so much their histories or personal stories I’m concerned with, but rather their intimate feelings which I never felt were quite revealed. I commend Morris for making Ruined with such a realistic plot, even with supernatural occurrences, but this novel was not as spectacular as it could have been had Morris successfully broken thought the wall between her characters’ outer selves and innermost thoughts.

Ruined will likely be enjoyed by those who also liked Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell, Sea Change by Aimee Friedman, and Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn.

Rating: 3.75

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

5 munch(es) :

Serena said...

this sounds like a good book. Putting it on the TBR list. thanks for the review

Briana said...

Good review! I'm really interested in reading this one :)


Eleni said...

Nice review, don't know if I want to read it though...maybe one day!

Lexie said...

I wanna read this book pretty bad. Its on my list to buy when I have money ever again (ie: next friday I hope!) and w00t I loved Shadowed Summer and Sea Change so right up my alley!

Tales of Whimsy said...

I can't wait to read this one! :)

Post a Comment

Let the munching begin.