Book Review: Ruined
Ruined by Paula Morris
Point (Scholastic) | August 2009 | ISBN-13 978-0545042154 | $11.99 Cdn. (paperback) | 304 pages
Publisher’s blurb: When Rebecca Brown goes to New Orleans to stay with her voodoo-obsessed aunt, she finds the beautiful city haunted by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca is also startled to discover a haunting of a different kind: near a graveyard one night, amid the Spanish moss and beneath the moonlight, she meets a ghost girl named Lisette, who has been dead for 150 years. Lisette helps Rebecca unearth an ancient mystery in her aunt’s house, along with some troubling historical truths. Meanwhile, Rebecca must juggle adjusting to her snooty new prep school, developing a serious crush on a handsome boy, and dealing with an elite group of popular girls who may be linked to the ghostly mystery themselves.
My Review: I have to admit, it took me a while to get into Ruined. I must have started and stopped it at least half a dozen times. But once I got through the first few chapters, it really started to grab me.
Like Rebecca, I didn’t know much about New Orleans besides the Hurricane Katrina coverage I’d seen on TV. While the character relationships and multiple plot twists in Ruined are engaging, it was the powerful sense of place that kept me reading. The rich historical setting of old New Orleans as well modern day post-Katrina New Orleans were vividly described. I was intrigued by the many historical references and New Orleans traditions weaved throughout the story.
Although Ruined is a ghost story, its spookiness factor is actually fairly mild. There are some wonderfully gothic elements running through it, but it wasn’t the kind of story that kept me up at night (which suits me just fine as I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to ghost stories!)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start planing a trip to New Orleans…