Friday, August 3, 2018

Ruby and Olivia by Rachel Hawkins

Olivia can’t understand why she and her twin Emma have grown apart so quickly. But more and more it seemed like it was Emma and her friend Ruby, with Olivia tagging along, until Emma and Ruby had an argument. Now all three are alone. So why does Olivia take the blame for Emma and get stuck with community service? She’s not really sure. Now she has to spend three days a week at Camp Chrysalis and is horrified to discover that she’s stuck with Ruby - and, as she later discovers, Ruby and Emma’s rival crush Garrett. At first they are relieved that they won’t be picking up trash, but cleaning out the old Live Oak Mansion. They’re not so pleased when they start clashing - and discover that there’s something alive in the house. Something evil.

A ghost story, a friendship story, a story about growing and changing, this has a little something for everybody.

The story is told in text exchanges between Olivia and Ruby and in alternating viewpoints. Readers will get swept up in the spooky mystery of the house, but also become invested in the stories of the individual girls, so different and yet slowly growing into a better friendship than Ruby and Emma ever had, for all their similarities. This book definitely reminded me that middle school girls go through a lot of drama (boys aren’t immune to it either, but the girls seem to have more of it) but Ruby and Emma, with the support of their families, do a good job weathering the storm and giving great promise of the people they will become.

Verdict: Hand this one to readers who like spooky adventure stories but also those who enjoy more introspective slice-of-life, realistic fiction.

ISBN: 9780399169618; Published October 24, 2017 by Putnam; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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