Title: Ruined: A Ghost Story
Genre: YA/TeenSource: Library
Upon her arrival, her aunt warns her to stay away from the cemetery across the road from their house. But Lafayette Cemetery doesn’t seem like a dangerous place to Rebecca, instead she can’t wait to make her way through its tombs. When a few of her classmates sneak into the cemetery at night she finds this the appropriate moment not only to spy on the snobby girls from her school, but also to venture through the cemetery. She not only gets lost in the cemetery but runs into a friendly girl, Lisette, who helps her find her way out of the cemetery in time without getting locked in or anyone finding out she was there in the first place. Lisette and Rebecca quickly become friends, but it doesn’t take long for Rebecca to realize that there’s something very different about her new friend... Lisette is a ghost.
Lisette is a ghost with a secret and she needs Rebecca’s help. But Rebecca soon find herself drawn into a multi-generation curse where danger lurks around every corner. Rebecca has made a pact to help Lisette - but can she trust Anton, the cute boy who tries to befriend her but is also one of the rich kids in town? What about aunt Claudia? How much does she really know?
Ruined is foremost a ghost story - but there’s also so much more to it. I absolutely loved Rebecca. She was a very refreshing character - brave, strong, not bothered by her lack of popularity and stood her ground when confronted by the “mean girls” of her new school. I liked that she wasn’t worried with how she looked or what anyone thought of her. None of that teen drama/angst about fitting in with the rich girls... I found her to be a very real voice. I also really enjoyed reading about post-Katrina New Orleans. When Lisette and Rebecca take a walk through town, you almost feel as if you are walking with them. All the details and stories along the way... I think this was my favorite part. I loved reading about the older New Orleans families, their homes and their traditions surrounding Mardi Gras.
I was intrigued from the start by Lisette's death - and the curse that ensued. It was a real page-turner for me... I just needed to find out what happened and how it would all end. There were a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming and that made for good reading. You were just never sure where the story was going. Did the rich girls really want to befriend Rebecca or did they have ulterior motives? Was Anton interested in more than a friendship or was he just playing with her? And what about Lisette? How much can you really trust a ghost?
I found this to be a very enjoyable read and would definitely recommend to anyone who likes ghosts, romance, quirky characters, history, all mixed together with the flavor of New Orleans.
**Originally reviewed October 2009**