I checked Ruby Red out in Texas, but didn’t manage to get through it before we moved, so it was one of the first books I requested when I got my library card in North Carolina.
First off, this book is NOT high-quality literature – it’s definitely in the “fluffy YA” pile. Consider yourself warned. That didn’t stop me from reading it in about a day and a half. If you’re picky about writing, this book may
bother you a bit (it’s translated from German). I know everyone loves to
trash on Twilight for being poorly written, but frankly, I never
noticed (clear proof that I am a serious student of literature, etc).
This book, though, I definitely noticed the writing. Not enough for me to give it up, but enough to take note that it’s not the most amazingly written book you’ll ever read.
And, there’s this big “surprise” that’s revealed at the very end, which I called halfway through the book. I am not one to usually guess those plot twists (Bart is the plot guesser in our relationship), but this one? Either it’s really obvious or I’m just getting smarter. I’d love to pretend I’m getting smarter, but I fear that it’s just really obvious.
Finally, if you hate books that end with no closure and force you to read the next book, you will hate this book. I requested the next book within five minutes of finishing this one.
With those three disclaimers aside, this was just a fun, quick summer read. No slogging at all. It’d be perfect for an airplane ride or the beach, but it was also excellent for sprawling out on the floor and pointedly ignoring piles of unpacked boxes.
The story is narrated by Gwyneth, who is sixteen and lives with her mom and two siblings in the family’s London home shared by their grandmother, a crazy great-aunt, and an aunt and cousin. That cousin, Charlotte, is notable because she’s the family member who carries the time-travel gene.
The whole family is just waiting for Charlotte’s first time-travel jump, which will manifest between her sixteen and seventeenth birthday. Charlotte has had a very abnormal childhood since she’s spent it all prepping to travel back in time, cramming her head with history, etiquette, and dancing/fencing/violin lessons. Want to know the details of what happened in 1868 in London? She’ll know.
Gwyneth has kept herself a bit removed from the whole thing – she’s gone about her regular teen life, attending school, watching movies with her friend, and basically been completely normal. But then, it turns out, Gwyneth is the one with the time-travel gene. Thanks to a fudged birth certificate and some lying on the part of her mom (her dad died several years earlier), everyone assumed it was Charlotte. They were wrong.
So now, totally unequipped for life in the past, Gwyneth is thrown in with Gideon, the (surprise!) super good-looking time-traveler from another family that carries the male time-travel gene.
And this time-travel business is more than just popping in and out of the last five centuries. Turns out that she is number 12 in a circle of time-travelers from both families, and she and Gideon’s job is to find all the other 10 in the past and connect them in order to . . . well, no one is quite sure what.
But whatever it is that will happen is big and important enough that plenty of people, both in the present and the past, are willing to try and keep it from happening.
Time to learn how to blend in to the past, and fast. Also, it might be nice if she could convince Gideon that she’s not just like all the other movie-star/boy/fashion-obsessed girls he’s met before (frankly, I was with Gideon. I was pretty sure she was EXACTLY that). It’s a bit of a hard sell, since Gideon is not pleased about losing his well-prepped companion AND now having to drag Gwyneth along to the past where she is more of a burden than a help.
Complaints aside, I’m pretty excited about picking up the next one. Anyone else read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
(One more random aside, the image at the top is what my library copy looked like. But when I was Googling around to find the image, I stumbled on this alternate cover, which I like more because. . .well, I like pretty dresses. And the London skyline).