Gier, K. (2011). Ruby Red. NY: Henry Holt & Company.
YA Lit / fantasy
First, I will admit that I was completely put-off by this book because of the cover. Ick. I am definitely not into any Victorian Era stories and the cover on this one would not in any way entice me to read the story. It has a very Somewhere In Time /Jane Seymour feel to it (which, as a side note, is one of the best movies ever made and similarly about time travel). At the end of this blog are a couple of other covers, (different countries, different formats, different titles) but I'm not sure any of these is right for this book, either. . . thoughts?
That it was on the Texas Library Association’s 2012 Texas Lone Star Reading List did pique my interest, but what got me reading it was that my daughter brought it home as her next book club read. Since she was conveniently finishing another book, I snagged it.
The main character, Gwenyth, is very believable, as is her best friend Lesley and the BFF relationship they share. That Gwenyth shares all the most secretest of family secrets with Lesley makes it even more realistic (‘cause this is what real teen BFFs do), and Leslie provides a convenient and plausible source of historical information for Gwenyth.
Though Gwenyth is supposed to be a sixteen-year-old, she initially seems a bit younger. This could be intentional by the author to show that she may have been babied some at home and to show the contrast at how she steps-up and acts maturely when thrown into time travel and the family drama surrounding it. I dunno.
As expected, there's a drop-dead gorgeous nineteen-year-old boy who also carries the time travel gene, and as expected, sparks fly. This was one gripe about the story -- clearly we have a trilogy (at least) coming out of this, so I think I would have preferred some tension and mixed signals to prevail throughout this story and a hint of potential romance to come. Not the case.
I was most appreciative of the several illustrations and explanations of family trees and connections between the time travelers. LOTS of characters roll across the pages, but the charts kept it manageable. There are numerous candidates for bad guy of the book, but there's definitely one REALLY bad guy who makes me think of Rasputin in the Anastasia movie out some years ago. He's a creeper, and his presence really adds to the story.
|sassy girl and sassy title|
|sophisticated girl. . .favorite|
|Mysterious girl in spookyland|
UPDATE: See my review of Sapphire Blue, the next installment in the Ruby Red Trilogy.