Author: Paula Morris
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Genre: Teen/YA, Mystery
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rebecca is thoroughly unhappy about the situation she has found herself in. Her father has to travel to China for his job, so she’s being sent to New Orleans to stay with a family friend while he’s out of the country. She’s not thrilled about leaving her friends and her school and starting over in New Orleans, and what’s more, her aunt is just a little bit weird.
Once she gets there, she begins spending more and more time in Lafayette Cemetery, as she doesn’t fit in with anyone at school. There she meets Lisette, a young girl who Rebecca finds herself becoming friends with. But there is more going on than Rebecca realizes, and Lisette is not exactly who she seems to be.
I love ghost stories, so I was really excited when I received Ruined in the mail. I thought the setting of post-Katrina New Orleans was wonderful for a spooky tale. I don’t know much about New Orleans and haven’t ever visited, but Morris’ vivid storytelling and details really made me feel like I had been there. I could easily picture what she was describing; it made reading Ruined a lot of fun to read.
The mystery in Ruined was captivating and really kept me hooked through the entire story. I have to admit, the ending was a little bit disappointing, but I can understand why Morris wrapped it up the way she did. The ghost story aspect is a lot of fun to read, and mildly creepy, but I was never scared when reading the book. Morris manages to create a gothic atmosphere without resorting to scare tactics in order to entertain the reader.
Rebecca was a fun character. She wasn’t self-conscious, which was really great. She was a refreshing protagonist that was much more concerned with doing the right thing than what other people thought. However, that doesn’t mean she drew unnecessary attention to herself. She was very realistically portrayed – Rebecca tried to stay out of the spotlight, but when it was on her, she wasn’t afraid to stand up to others.
Ruined was an immensely enjoyable novel that was great to read. I was a little bit surprised at how much fun it was, considering I’ve been reading more than a few of these teen paranormal books lately, and many of them have been disappointments. Ruined was well-written and a real pleasure to read – I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good YA mystery.