>Ruined by Paula Morris
Rebecca Brown couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads tarot cards for a living. 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 a cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to show Rebecca the nooks and crannies of New Orleans. There’s just one catch: Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret and a 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? (From Amazon.ca)
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. There’s also a nice rich sense of history behind the book and it’s well explained and thought out so it gives the reader a good comprehension on why things are like they are in the story. Although the mystery deepens as you progress through the book. The real action is at the last third of the book. The suspense really does build up – especially the Mardi Gras scene and I got so mad that these old families would ever think of such a thing to do against Rebecca.
What I particularly did not like is what in the world happened to Toby??!! he just disappears despite his actions??!!! I wanted him to get his comeuppance! I just thought the ending was a bit rushed.
Either way, the rich descriptive setting with a wonderful ghost story does make up for the shortcomings. It’s a well written book and well worth the read. It’s an excellent choice for those that like ghost stories or paranormal young adult fiction.