Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier
Book Description: Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighbourhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley, watching movies and talking about boys. It comes as an unwelcome surprise then when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.
She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century …
My review: For a book that is very much a young adult (and by that I mean I don’t believe it would have wide-spread appeal to an adult audience), I was surprised how much I enjoyed Ruby Red. I was expecting “just another YA book,” with supernatural yadda yadda and boys blah blah. And while it did have that, I found the writing was very entertaining. It had a fantastic flow that just pulled you in. The original book was written in German, but the translation contained a lot of “Britishisms” that made me happy.
The lead heroine, I found, to be entertaining – I liked her voice. I read some complaints that she didn’t think or behave like a sixteen-year old girl, that she was acting much too young, but I didn’t get that sense; it seemed right to me.
I am also just figuring out that I love books about time travel. This one might have been a little overly simplistic, but it always makes me think up bizarre questions. My biggest question for this book – why are there no time travelers from the future coming to visit them (they can only travel back in time, but surely others are coming from future times?) What I didn’t entirely enjoy is that the story line didn’t even attempt to finish by the end of the book. Why bother turning everything into a trilogy when it is clear that it’s only one book, one story line, broken up in three places? I don’t know if I’m intrigued enough to read the sequel. I wouldn’t recommend this to an adult, but if you have tween or young teen kids, I think it is a good one – if only for the language.
Word of the day:
Obfuscate: to confuse, bewilder or stupefy