- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 309 pages
- Publisher: Point; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0545042151
- ISBN-13: 978-0545042154
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 267 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ruined: A Novel Hardcover – August 1, 2009
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A brief summery is having Rebecca move to NOLA when her father needs to work in China for six months. He ships her off to a friend, a woman called Aunt Claudia. Aunt Claudia is a fortune teller, a tarot reader, and really isn't a fake. One night Rebecca follows some fellow students into the cemetary and she encounters Lisette, a black girl who we find out is a ghost. When Rebecca holds her hand, she becomes invisible to the human world but is able to see the ghosts of New Orleans. We learn of how Lisette died and we also learn of a curse that linked to her.
There are many pros of this book. The writing is engaging, I actually read this in two days because Ms. Morris brought the world of New Orleans to life. Her descriptions, her authenticity to the surroundings, her attention to historical detail was what made this book. Rebecca is an outsider learning about the life of upper crust NOLA families, and through her eyes we (the reader) also learn.
But there are also a few cons to this book. Ms. Morris didn't really flesh out her characters too much, and many were very one dimensional. The love interest for Rebecca, Anton, was a very wishy-washy person and his motives murky. The bad girl, Helena, very cliched. Rebecca, herself, seems to fluctuate between being a girl who stands on her own two feet and one who wants to be popular. The twist at the end was slightly predictable and slightly eye-rolling.
This book would have benefited from several things...drawing out Rebecca's interest in Habitat for Humanity, fleshing out Anton as an interesting person, making Helena more than a spiteful, hateful girl. Alas, this book does follow the outline on how YA seems to be written, but there was enough originality to make it an enjoyable read. I recommend this book, even buying it new.
This great book was a true ghost story. I truly enjoyed reading it. It took place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I loved the historical references in the story. They gave an aura of truth to what I was reading. In a nutshell...
Rebecca has been told by her father that he has a 6 month stay in China. They are New Yorkers and Rebecca is not happy about the fact that because of this she must spend the next 6 months with her Aunt Claudia in New Orleans at a private school. Of course the girls who "matter" do not like Rebecca and love telling her as well as showing her that she is an outsider and unwelcome. Rebecca deals with this and sort of relishes her role as an outsider. Her aunt's house is conveniently just across the street from a cemetery that Rebecca has been told to stay away from. Of course she doesn't and secretly follows them one night as the "in crowd" gathers to drink a bit and party. This is when Rebecca is welcomed by a mysterious new friend that only she can see.
The main stream of the story revolves around a 150 year old curse that affects a founding New Orleans family. The story at this point becomes action packed and mysterious with a reasonably exciting ending.
Again...I loved the setting...the story was not predictable but exciting and absorbing. I loved learning about the history of various parts of New Orleans. I would love reading more from this author.
Rebecca finds New Orleans to be strange and the girls at her new school to be very stand-offish and cliquey. Though warned away by her aunt, Rebecca is drawn to the nearby Lafayette Cemetery, where she meets a disheveled girl named Lisette. Rebecca finds that everyone around her is keeping secrets and she is determined to find out the truth. Even if it means alienating the very cute and popular Anton Grey, who is part of the privileged group in the Garden District.
I enjoyed this debut YA novel. New Orleans was the perfect locale for a ghost story, set in the Garden District and the backdrop of Carnival and Mardi Gras, old curses and voodoo. Aunt Claudia reads tarot cards and tells fortunes for tourists, but seems to have a real gift. Rebecca doesn't care about fitting in with snobby girls, who care about nothing but debuts and belonging to exclusive societies for the rich. She befriends a ghost and searches for the truth. This was a really good ghost story!
my rating 4/5
In summary, great read but dumb title.