Ruined: A Ghost Story Hardcover – Aug 1 2009
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Priase for Ruined
"The moody tale throughly embraces the rich history, occult lore and complex issues of race, ethnicity, class and culture that have defined New Orleans for centuries, turning the city into a character in its own right." ― Publishers Weekly, starred review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
PAULA MORRIS is also the author of several adult fiction novels. She lives in New Orleans and knows the city's nooks and crannies first hand.
Top Customer Reviews
The only catch is that her friend, Lisette, is a ghost. Once Rebecca finds out why Lisette is still haunting the city, she's determined to figure out her murder. But she soon finds out that her own past is one of secrets and that her life may be in danger.
I think my favorite part of the story was reading all about New Orleans. I loved reading some of the history of the city and of Mardi Gras. I went there last spring so it was neat to read about things I have learned.
This was a fun ghost story. There were several big twists at the end. Two of them were complete surprises and one I saw coming. I really liked the characters of Rebecca and Aurelia. I found them both believable and Aurelia seemed so cute. This is a fun paranormal read.
Reviewed by: Andrea
There wasn't as much of a romantic storyline to Ruined as I thought there was going to be. Based on the book cover blurb, I thought Anton was going to play a bigger role. He didn't have much dialogue, so while Anton was present at a lot of scenes, he didn't feel like a huge presence. There also isn't a lot of obsessing about him on Rebecca's part. What? A sixteen year old girl who doesn't obsess about her crush! Is that even legal in this genre? While the lack of dialogue and teen-girl obsessing definitely make this book more Joe-friendly, I might have preferred a few more "talking parts."
However, Ruined is, first and foremost, a ghost story. Rebecca's mission is to figure out what happened to Lisette, why she is stuck here as a ghost, and how that relates to the mysterious curse placed on some of the most prominent families of New Orleans. The strange thing is, and maybe this is just me, but it wasn't really scary. I don't read a lot of ghost stories, but aren't they supposed to be scary? Hmmm... anyway, in order to discover the answers she's looking for, Rebecca must delve into the history of her new city, and of the families she's trying to help.
The city of New Orleans is really the star of the book, if you ask me. I loved reading about the krewes, parades, debutantes and balls. There is also a lot about Katrina and its aftermath, so I really felt like I got a feeling for the city after reading this book. Which is great, since I can't really afford to travel there.
In the end, I really liked this book. Its rich descriptions and vivid storytelling make it a captivating read.
Rebecca's Dad has sent her to New Orleans to stay with her offbeat aunt, who reads tarot cards. Rebecca doesn't fit in at her new school, but that's the least of her problems. Why does her aunt warn her to avoid certain families? Who is the girl haunting Lafayette Cemetery?
There is a terrible tragedy approaching, and Rebecca must discover her role in it ' before it's too late.
Morris paints a fantastic backdrop here with her vivid descriptions of post-Katrina New Orleans. The characters are believable (for the most part) and interesting, and the mystery surrounding the ghost is great. This book isn't scary, but it is creepy and atmospheric. A great ghost story!
I really liked Rebecca. I liked how her social status at her school didn't matter to her and she went on with life however she pleased. I liked how she didn't let snooty girls like Helena and Marianne dictate her life. Who annoyed me the most were Toby, Claire, and Amy. Toby because he was such a jerk and the urge to punch him in the face got stronger whenever he appeared in the book. Claire and Amy were immensely annoying because it felt as if they were with Rebecca out of convenience, and to have someone around to make themselves look better. I just couldn't stand their chatter and the way they tried to make Rebecca look stupid (although Rebecca hardly cared less about what they talked about most of the time - which I thought, was cool and why I liked Rebecca even more).
I'd have to say, Anton started to grow on me. He did seem like such a nice guy and he fit the similar mold to Rebecca - that he didn't care what others thought. So in that sense, they did look nice together.
The ghost story plot with Lisette was really interesting. It gave the story a good feeling of mystery and the setting helped a lot to give the plot a good creepiness factor.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When I first started this novel I worried that it would be an angsty, teenage complaint fest. It does start off that way a bit. But then angst and complaints are not an unexpected reaction from a fifteen year old who has been taken out of her school and sent off to live with an 'aunt' for the next six months.
Fifteen year old Rebecca's father, a high powered tech consultant, has to travel to out of the country for an extended business trip. Not wanting to burden the elderly neighbor who normally looks after Rebecca during short business trips he packs her off to stay with 'Aunt' Claudia a Tarot card reader (and something of a clairvoyant) and Claudia's daughter Aurelia in post Katrina New Orleans.
Moving away from her friends would have been bad enough but Aunt Claudia's damp, strange, shotgun style house is stuffed to the rafters with Voodoo talismans, monkey skulls, Buddha statues and the like. Topping that off she's also been enrolled in a snooty, upper-crust, school where friends are few and far between.
Upon spying several of the popular kids sneaking into a nearby cemetery late one night she follows to see what they're up to. After nearly being caught eves dropping on the partying teenagers she runs into Lisette who helps her escape unseen.
After several more chance encounters she learns Lisette is the ghost of a girl about her age who met a horrible end and is told about a terrible curse laid over a hundred years ago on one of her new schoolmate's families.
The story paces well. I finished it rather quicker than expected. It's well written. An easy read. It moves enjoyably from beginning to a rather dramatic and exciting ending. This was categorized on Amazon as 'Juvenile Fiction' but I feel that it will appeal to adults and teens alike who are looking for a bit of light reading.
I could tell that this book was written with a lot of love. The author put care into even the most despicable characters which made the book that much better. It was written so well, too. I felt like I wasn't reading, rather sneaking into the Lafayette Cemetary with Rebecca and watching the parades of Mardi Gras.
Exhilarting. That's what that last half of the book was. I never knew what was going to happen and when it did I had to have an inhaler on hand. It was the kind of ghost story I used to hear around my campfire (less paranormal and more human) and I think those are the scariest. The ghost had history and her own character and after I really was connected to her story then something happened that totally threw me off. In a good way. I didn't know what to believe until the end!
I reccommend this to anyone who likes history and truly just a well told story. It didn't have any superficial layers. If you like ghosts and curses you'll love the way this story fans out. I think the author did a fabulous job and I can't wait to read her again!
It keeps getting worse for Rebecca. The girls in her school are especially troublesome: the daughters of privilege, they are used to getting their own way. But there are two families who are especially troublesome, the Bowmans and the Suttons. And a boy, of course, helps liven up the mix.
A new Orleans Mardi Gras is a lot more complicated than what the average tourist sees and this makes very interesting reading. While the history of the story is pretty glossed over with the stories of the parades and Krewes, it is still very well described.
Add one ghost and this makes a great story. Doesn't it seem like teenage girls always get the bad end of the deal in a ghost story? This one is no exception while being somewhat predictable.
This is a very good high interest book for pre-adolescent and adolescent girls. It would also work well with reading groups in a middle school setting, and perhaps with some fifth graders.
Thanks for reading my review!