Monday, March 21, 2016

Off the Bookshelf: RUINED, by Paula Morris

Sometimes you get the nicest surprises in raffle baskets.

This YA book came in a basket I won at a writing conference, and like so many others in my to-be-read bookrack (3 shelves still) it has been waiting more than a year for me to pick it up. I finally grabbed enough books to fill the small folding bookholder that sits on the table next to my bed, committed on Goodreads to actually read these specific titles, and now I'm going through them. It's actually turning into a good system -- you commit, you've written it down somewhere, and you actually go through with it ....

This one is rather sad, and a little disturbing, when you get down to it -- but I can't tell you the disturbing part without giving away so much of the story! Other than to say that some people are so selfish and consider themselves entitled to the point that they will do in their own family so they can come out on top.  Question: Why don't people ever learn that in trying to evade a prophecy, or twist it to end up your way, you're actually causing the prophecy to come true?

What's it about? Well, Rebecca is a New York girl sent to live with some relatives in New Orleans -- only she's pretty sure her aunt and cousin aren't really blood relatives -- when her father goes to China on company business. Immediately she is flung into the conflict of the class struggle in the microcosm of an exclusive girls' school. She's an outsider, a nobody, as the girls tell her, outright or with every action and look and word. Her "aunt" is an unique character, with her own style, and tells fortunes for a living. Then there's the cemetery across the street, and the snobby kids who go into the cemetery at night to hang out. As you would expect, one of the snobby boys turns out to be angsty and unhappy with how his "gang" treats other people, and he seems to want to be friends with Rebecca. What isn't expected is that one of the friends Rebecca makes is a ghost living in the cemetery.

Secrets and curses and prophecies and class struggle and the excesses and snobbery of Mardi Gras and krewes and a strong taste and feel for what it's like in NOLA in the winter ... this one grabs your attention and carries you along to a satisfying and sad ending.

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