ARC: 324 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Edelstein Trilogy #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon, the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Ruby Red took me completely by surprise--I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. This novel was a great start to a series. There's plenty to hook a reader in Ruby Red: great writing, a wonderful heroine in Gwen, great secondary characters, plenty of action, humor, mystery, a secret society and Gideon has the potential to be crush-worthy.
Admittedly it did start confusing and a little slow as the author introduces the reader to two characters (we don't know who they are and how they figure into the story until later on in the book) in the prologue and we find out about Gwen, her friends, her school and the circumstances of her family. It took me a few chapters to get into the story but once I got over the first couple of chapters I literally couldn't stop reading and read into the night.
I loved the character of Gwen. Told in first person narration, I really enjoyed her voice. She thinks, talks and acts like your normal sixteen year old. Often in young adult fiction we get the cynical, broody, weight-of-the-world-on-my-shoulders main characters but not Gwen. She was happy and silly as teens her age should be but without being dumb. I loved her movie references throughout the book. I found her character very refreshing. Besides Gwen, there were a lot of great secondary characters like her friend Lesley (she is the kind of friend you want by your side), Gideon (the love interest who was the right mix of nice guy-ness and obnoxiousness), the present day Guardians especially Madame Rossini (who dresses Gwen and Gideon in stylish period-appropriate clothes when they time travel) and the mysterious Paul and Lucy (they intrigue me and I can't wait to read more about them).
I'm not usually a fan of time-traveling stories but I am a fan of secret societies and piecing a mystery as secrets and information are revealed. The plot was exciting and I really liked that we learn about the secret world of the Guardians and their mission and the intricacies of time traveling along with Gwen. The time-traveling concept here it was very well done as well and believable. It was just a really fun book to read, perfect for light summer reading. It ends in a satisfying cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Sapphire Blue. I highly recommend everyone read this excellent, unputdownable book. 5 out of 5 stars