Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris (August 1st 2009—Point)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary: “Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her aunt. And at the snooty prep school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There's just one catch: Lisette is a ghost.
A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.
As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend -- and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey -- she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?”
Review: Ruined relied heavily on the feel of New Orleans. Despite the fact that it’s smack dab in America, it has an exotic presence that the locals embrace. Ruined brought this feeling along with voodoo magic, haunting, and family ties. Emphasis on the family tree.
Morris does an exceptional job tying history to the book. She explains briefly of New Orleans’s background, a detailed life of Lisette—cause and effect—and the ties that each family has of the city. This was Morris’s greatest strength for me. Her ability to mold a story within a story.
Lisette’s story was one of tragedy. Karma comes back a full 180 when her death is the main cause of the death of 16 to turn 17, 7 daughters in one family. Not to say that the family is kind of crazy and demented (there sort of are, half tempted to shove one of the girls off the roof myself). Of course Lisette isn’t bitter about the whole thing—150 years can do that to a girl—but she has a great personality. I was completely beguiled of her story from beginning to end.
However I would to mention that some things threw me off. There was this issue with the colons. As in a lot of them. At odd times.
"She couldn't seeor hear the group she'd followed: They'd left the central path and disappeared down one of the alleys."
"And there was another strange thing about the students at Temple Mead Academy: They were all white."
"The layout of the school was confusing: It seemed to be a maze of locked doors, roped-off staircases, and dark hallways that led nowhere in particular."
"This was a lie: Rebecca didn't have a middle name at all"
"Rebecca felt out of step: The curriculum in Louisiana was completely different from the one she'd been following in New York."
Another thing was that the narration would lose at points. I got confused easily and had to back-track to set things straight. The ending needed a bit of clean up. A lot of it was assumptions albeit very easy assumptions, but it would be nice for a clean break. Also the conflict after Lisette’s passing was left unanswered.
In person the cover is much pretty. There’s a smidge of a stencil work of leaves near the girl on the cover. It pops in the right light. I found it to be a very nice touch.