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Ruined: A Ghost Story [Hardcover]

Paula Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 2009 Point
When Rebecca goes to New Orleans to stay with her voodoo-obsessed aunt, she finds the beautiful old city haunted by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca is also startled to discover a haunting of a different kind; near a graveyard one night, she meets a ghost girl by the name of Lisette, who has been dead 150 years. A former slave, Lisette helps Rebecca unearth an ancient mystery along with some troubling history truths. Meanwhile, Rebecca must deal with her snooty new prep school, a serious crush, and an elite group of popular girls who may be linked to the mystery themselves.

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Review

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.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great paranormal read Nov. 23 2011
By Karoline TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
What I loved most about this book was the setting. I love just about anything New Orleans. The setting was richly described and I loved the cemetery scene, and especially the Mardi Gras scene. Everything about the setting was wonderful and the book swept me away with it. I loved the ghost story as it fits hand in hand with the setting so you have this underlying paranormal feeling (although I think it's not needed as New Orleans itself gives you that paranormal feeling anyways!).

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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too April 15 2010
Format:Hardcover
In RUINED by Paula Morris, Rebecca feels out of place and homesick when she is suddenly shipped off to stay with an "aunt" in New Orleans while her dad travels to China. She doesn't make friends at school, but she does make a friend in the most unexpected place- the cemetery that her aunt has forbidden her to go to.

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
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4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and Atmospheric Dec 29 2009
Format:Hardcover
Rebecca does not believe in ghosts. Until she meets one, that is.

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!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly goodness July 22 2009
Format:Hardcover
Loved it! Ruined started out strong and kept going that way. The book distinguished itself right off from so many others in this genre because it is told in the third-person, rather than the first. At first this threw me off a little, but I think it also gave the story more depth by enabling descriptions of things that Rebecca wouldn't necessarily notice.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  286 reviews
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruined - A Ghost Story Aug. 26 2009
By Keith Blodgett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In a nutshell: Pleasantly Surprised.

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.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ghost story! Sept. 17 2009
By Nanciejeanne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Without giving too much away, this book is a great New Orleans ghost story. It offers the younger reader (I would say tween and up) some nice info about the city, especially Mardi Gras, and a little history. The author makes the main character real and easy for the reader to relate to. There are also some underlying messages of racism, privilege, and bullying. The character does do some things a parent wouldn't like (such as sneaking out of the house at night to go into a graveyard) but nothing that is not in the realm of many teens' imaginations. I read it an immediately passed it onto my daughter, who is appreciating the story and now wanting to learn more about New Orleans history. Most of the main characters are female, but it isn't about fashion, hairstyles, etc. that would preclude it from a boy. Overall, I thought it was a great ghost story that wasn't overly scary and not inappropriate for a younger reader. Nice treat for Halloween-time!!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Ghoul Tale Aug. 2 2009
By Lost in a Book - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book was as much a historic delight as a ghost story delight. I really enjoyed learning so much about New Orleans past and felt I could really picture the setting of the story because the author spent so much time describing New Orlean's past and present. Every time I pass a cemetary now I get disappointed knowing that in New Orleans there are these elaborate tombs and elevated cemeteries.

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!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sweet ghost story Sept. 16 2009
By Nearly Q-less Gertrude - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
From the very first page, it is clear that Rebecca is going to be in trouble. She is sent to New Orleans to stay with an 'aunt' while her father works in China. While this may all seem contrived at first, the setting in New Orleans is vibrant and well told. What fifteen-year-old has ever appreciated being picked up and moved to a new city and new school to live with a relative she has only ever met once? And this relative? Aunt Claudia reads Taro Cards for tourists, dresses like a gypsy, and lives in a tiny house that leans so far to one side that it almost touches the next door house. Her first warning? Rebecca should not go in the cemetery across the street.

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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the book June 2 2010
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is wonderful. I really loved the story. I just finished reading the book yesterday. I was reading the book for 3 hours strait. The way that this book is written the words, the emotions, very thing, it makes you feel like you are in New Orleans. The book has some parts that are scary, romantic, and more. If there was a movie I would watch it on the first day. I loved all of the chapters in this mysterious book. i took me about 2 weeks to finish reading this book. I was amazed at the story of Rebecca Brown. Paula Morris is such a great author and I think she is one of my top 10 (she is on first place to me). I think there should be a sequel to this story. And if there was one out now I would buy it and read it every day and never put it down. Anyone who likes mysteries and ghosts and more should read this book and if Paula Morris makes a sequel please read it too!!!
Thanks for reading my review!
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