THE OFFICIAL BLURB: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Here are my pet peeves in YA: 1) unhappy teenage girl from dysfunctional family is uprooted to go to new place where she doesn’t know anyone; 2) said unhappy girl starts a new school and feels odd/out of place/self-conscious/unattractive; 3) said unhappy girl does something dorky on first day of school—usually spilling something; 4) said unhappy girl meets a boy (either a misfit himself or wildly popular, who immediately falls for her and thinks she’s the most ravishing thing ever); said boy has a deep dark secret of his own (gasp!); said boy and girl must beat the odds to be together. I like to call it Twilight Syndrome, for obvious reasons.
Ruby Red has none of those characteristics. Instead, it has Gwyneth. Gwyneth has a mom and siblings and a bitchy aunt and a stuffy grandmother and a nutty great-aunt. She has a best friend. She’s been going to the same school for a while. She and the hunky boy are thrown together by odd circumstances beyond their control—namely, that they both have a gene that makes them travel back in time. She’s likable. She’s believable.
I kept waiting for the book to take a misstep or hit a wrong note, and it just didn’t. It doesn’t read like an adult novel with teen characters, but it doesn’t read immature or childish, either. The worldbuilding is fascinating, and I can’t wait till the next one comes out. (This is the first of a trilogy.) You want this one.
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