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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time Travel, Intrigue, and Romance (kind of)

     Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red starts out kind of slow (the main character doesn't travel through time until chapter 3) and the cover isn't too interesting, and I wasn't really sure this was the kind of book I would like.  In the first two chapters, after all, we meet Gwyneth and her cousin Charlotte and find out that Charlotte has a genetic predisposition for time travel -- something which Gwyneth seems to have missed because she was born on the wrong day.  Genetic time travel?  It seemed like kind of a lame premise.  I thougth about quitting after two chapters..
     Then I read chapter two.
      And suddenly everything started getting really interesting. Gwyneth starts to get a headache and vertigo and suddenly finds herself transported about a hundred years back in time.  She goes back to where her house is in that time period, and is about to ring the bell when she phases back to her own time.  Suddenly she has problems.  She can't control the time shifting.  She doesn't want to tell her mom about it because her mom never believed her stories about the ghosts she can sometimes see.  She doesn't want to tell her cousin because her cousin will be jealous.  Time travel itself is disorienting and confusing, especially when she doesn't know when or where she is.  She also has begun to figure out in her time travelling and snooping around the house that at least part of her extended family is fighting a war through time travel, and she suspects she might be on the wrong side of it.  What is at stake in the war is a machine that can control the destinations of the time travellors.  Without access to that machine, Gwyneth may end up time shifting uncontrollably for hte rest of her life. 

And as I read on, I started to like Gwyneth.  She is a strong girl in a difficult situation.  I was bothered a bit by her tendency to reference popular movies a bit too much.  But she seems to get the hang of escaping from difficult situations.  The romantic sub-plot is also interesting.  And, although the ending seemed designed for a sequel (This is the first book in a trilogy) it was still a good conclusion.  This book might be a good suggestion for any student who seems a little too obsessed with the twilight series. 
     It doesn't seem to me have any particular applications to other subjects, but is a fun book to engage girl readers in middle school or high school.

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