Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ruined by Paula Morris

Ruined (Ruined, #1)Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads Tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city.

Hailed as Twilight with a ghostly twist, Ruined happily exceeded that dubious description.  I picked this up from the last school book fair.  I was intrigued by the cover art and the mature warning sticker on the cover.  While I didn't find anything objectionable in the book, certainly nothing more daring or shocking than in many other books we carry, I suspect the violence of a murder story line was what prompted the warning.   The ghost story and mystery are interesting and well written.  The characters sometimes fell into stereotypes of evil vs good and could have been a bit more fleshed out, but the detail surrounding the story of our ghost, Lissette, was very well done.  The highlight of this novel is the city of New Orleans.  Morris brings the beauty, history and strength of the city to life throughout the pages.  It was quite unexpected, especially in a YA novel. This is what elevated the book from being not bad, to one I will recommend to my students.
Morris has followed Ruined up with Unbroken (Ruined #2) where we catch up with Rebecca one year later as she returns to New Orleans and becomes involved in another ghostly mystery.

13409499Welcome back to New Orleans.Where the streets swirl with jazz and beauty.
Where the houses breathe with ghosts.

A year ago, Rebecca Brown escaped death in a New Orleans cemetery. Now she has returned to this haunting city. She is looking forward to seeing Anton Grey, the boy who may or may not have her heart.

But she also meets a ghost: a troubled boy who insists only she can help him. Soon Rebecca finds herself embroiled in another murder mystery from more than a century ago. But as she tries to right wrongs, she finds more questions than answers: Is she putting her friends, and herself, in danger? Can she trust this new ghost? And has she stumbled into something much bigger and more serious than she understands?

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