Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Title/Author: Ruined by Paula Morris.

Genre: YA/Supernatural.

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

Source: Purchased through Amazon.

Favorite character: Lisette.

Favorite quote: “It’s strange to think of how the past gets swept away.” "The past doesn’t go away…you just can’t see it anymore.” P. 141

All in all: Rich and intriguing. This review may seem short and not too deep because I tried not to give too much away. I thought this was a YA book, but somewhere else it said Middle Grades, so maybe that made me give it more slack as well. I liked this book a lot and would recommend it.

What I liked: First of all New Orleans. Yay!!! It’s one of my favorite cities, so I can’t get enough of visiting, even if it is only through a book. The author painted the city so beautifully and delved into some history and dynamics; The Yellow fever epidemics, the intricacies of Mardi Gras, race and class division, Haitian culture, the Garden District, Katrina. The City itself was the most complex character in the story.

Rebecca has to spend a school year in New Orleans with her aunt because her father got a temporary job in China. She attends a snooty upper crust school in the Garden District where she doesn’t fit in because she is not wealthy and she is an outsider. She is distanced from her friends in NY, distanced from making any friends in NOLA because of her status and then to rebel she lies about her origins in order to distance herself further.

One night when she sneaks into the cemetery she meets Lisette, a ghost who becomes her only friend. (This is not a spoiler since it’s on the book jacket.) They connect because Rebecca can actually see her, because they are both lonely and probably because they share a common bond…being separated from their mothers: Lisette because she is earthbound and Rebecca because her mother died when she was a baby.  Rebecca soon uncovers secrets about the local wealthy Garden District families and in doing so, stumbles upon one about her own family as well.

There is also a budding romance between her and Anton Grey, one of the wealthy kids in the neighborhood. He professes not to be like the rest of his crowd and is drawn to Rebecca. I suspect because she does not fit the cookie cutter mold that all the other people in the school and Garden District adhere to. He also seems impressed with the fact that she is from New York and even mentions her “cool New York friends”.

I also really liked Lisette’s story and her “life” as a ghost. It was bittersweet and at times humorous. It was also a good plot device not only as a key to the story, but to give background into the city of New Orleans past and present.

(Also, I think the cover is lovely).

What I didn’t like: *SMALL SPOILER ALERT: Without giving too much away, I feel that a secret that came out didn’t lend itself to the rest of the story. It was jarring in comparison to the quiet, spooky tone the book had until that point and therefore I had a hard time suspending my disbelief in regards to it. But to take the other side, I realize that is something you have to do in stories, throw rocks at your character and then throw more rocks at them. Plus, yes it was exciting. END SPOILER ALERT*

I also felt that the characters were not that rich, but the story moves along so well and fast that this didn’t bother me as much. There were also some plot points that I had issue with, but again, it didn’t ruin the book for me.

I give this book 4/5 stars.
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