Sunday, January 9, 2011
Ruined is an odd little gothic piece for the Twilight set.
Somewhat self centred and spoilt New Yorker Rebecca Brown is sent to live with her father's old friend; Aunt Claudia, in New Orleans while her father is working in China. The New York native finds it hard to fit in to her new surroundings, doesn't make friends amongst the cliquey set at her upper class prep school and just wants to go home, until she meets Lisette.
Lisette is a pretty young girl Rebecca's age, the problem with Lisette is that she's been dead for over 100 years and is largely confined to the cemetary near Rebecca's 'aunts' house. There's a mystery surrounding Lisette's tragic death, there's also a curse associated with the ghostly girl and only Rebecca can lift it.
The plot and the characters in Ruined are fairly unremarkable, except for Lisette, who I quite liked and could not help feeling a litle sorry for. What does set the book apart from much of the other YA fare out there are the beautiful and heart felt descriptions of the exotic New Orleans and it's turbulent, often violent history. The sequence when Lisette takes Rebecca on a tour of New Orleans hauntings is also extraordinary and it's a shame that the rest of the book does not live up to that.
Author Paula Morris describes New Orleans so well and has such depth of feeling in her depiction of the town that I was surprised to discover that she was not a native New Orleanian, but hails from New Zealand. She must have been one of many who came to the gulf town and fell in love with it.