Ruined by Paula Morris
Genre: YA suspense, ghost story
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 309
Support Your Local Library Challenge #49
Source: Library

This was a very interesting and enjoyable ghost story that was perfect for this time of year. Isn’t the cover wonderful?

Fifteen year old Rebecca Brown has grown up in New York. Her mom died when she was young so it’s been just Rebecca and her father. When her dad has to take a work assignment in China, Rebecca is sent to live in New Orleans for 6 months with a long time friend of her father. Not only dismayed at having to live in a place and culture that are very different, Rebecca is none to sure about “Aunt Claudia” who makes her living telling fortunes for tourists. The prep school Rebecca attends is populated with a strict hierarchy of cliques that only intensify her sense of being an outsider. She’s fascinated with the nearby cemetery and one night meets a girl there. It doesn’t take Rebecca long to discover that Lisette is a ghost who’s been stuck in this area for over 150 years and won’t be at peace until her death is avenged.

Moody post-Katrina New Orleans, old line families and traditions, ghosts, voodoo curses, and too much truth hiding along the way make for an enjoyable story. I liked the combination of present day New Orleans with bits of history coming together around this young visitor from New York. As Rebecca learns more about the people at school and also about Lisette, she learns a lot of the history of New Orleans and its people (both the powerful and the powerless).

It was more of a suspense type of story with a character who happened to be a ghost than it was a creepy sort of ghost story. Lisette is not a ghost that will give you nightmares at all. That was just fine with me because I liked it a lot just the way it was. While some of the plot twists were blatantly telegraphed, there were enough surprising turns to keep me hooked.

Rating 4/5