Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ruined by Paula Morris (Point, imprint of Scholastic) RRP $39.95 ISBN: 9780545042154

"Do you ... do you know the way out of here?" Rebecca asked. Her voice was breathy: She was almost hyperventilating with anxiety. "The sixth street gate?"
The girl said nothing for a moment at Rebecca. She had a sweet, pretty face, her skin a flawless bronze: her dark eyes looked uncertain, as though she was a little afraid. She wasn't wearing shoes, Rebecca realised, and her shabby blouse was thin: She had to be cold on a breezy November night like this.

Rebecca is sent to stay with her cousins in New Orleans. She feels like an outsider from the beginning; not fitting in with the wealthy private school girls nor feels at home with her weird Aunt and young cousin. When Aunt Claudia tells her she must never go into the cemetery Rebecca rolls her eyes and intends to have a look sometime - she's not afraid of a small cemetery in a tiny city not after living in New York most of her life with her father. When she gets lost amongst the gravestones and asks for help from Lisette a girl her age; events spiral out of control. Is the handsome Anton Grey really interested in her or does he have a hidden agenda? Why does her Aunt have torn pages from a diary plastered on the wall and what do those dates have to do with her? Is anyone whom they pretend to be?

Ruined is a mystery story starting out in a familiar vein to the first Twilight story (teenage girl forced to live in another city falls in love with tall handsome aloof stranger)but instead of going down the vampire route we're introduced to ghosts, curses and revenge. Paula Morris has handled the racial and class tension in this story delicately, as well as expertly interweaving the history of New Orleans into the story. Paula has written several novels for adults whilst living in New Orleans hence her familiarity with the location. A recommended read for 12 years plus.

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