Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ruby Red

Gier, Kerstin. 2011. RUBY RED. Translated by Anthea Bell. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805092523 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-10]

It’s always been about Gwen’s perfect cousin Charlotte. She was the one who would inherit the family’s time-traveling gene and had been preparing her whole life. So when Gwen turns out to be the time-traveler, it is a complete shock to the whole family … most of all Gwen. She finds the idea of visiting the past terrifying: “There was always some horrible thing lurking there. Plus, everyone had fleas.” And there is a lot more to deal with than fleas-- a secret society, 18th century dresses, a mysterious chronograph, family secrets, ghosts, and Gideon, her know-it-all, but incredibly handsome traveling companion. Readers are catapulted right along with Gwen into this suspenseful, exciting world, and all are in for a rollicking ride.

Originally published to great acclaim in Germany, RUBY RED is a fast-paced, entertaining adventure. The gems of the story are the eccentric characters, particularly the plucky heroine Gwen. Gier creates a distinct voice for this “normal” and hilarious teen that is pulled from a life of texts and telly and plunged into time travel. A few mysteries are left unsolved leaving the reader eager for the upcoming sequels.

Readers can research the historical figures mentioned such as Sir Isaac Newton, Anne Boleyn, and Jack the Ripper. They can also look up the London sites such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Temple Church, and Selfridges. Readers can design their own time machines or they can look up the twelve gemstones and illustrate their own Circle of Twelve.

More books about heroines thrust into unexpected circumstances:
Carson, Rae. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. 9780062026484
O’Neal, Eilis. THE FALSE PRINCESS. 9781606840795

By Jill Bellomy

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