Saturday, July 23, 2011
Books I LOVED so far this year, part 2 of 2
In some ways, I feel a little silly about this one, because there is nothing especially profound or life-changing about it. But Kerstin Gier's RUBY RED is probably the most FUN I've had with a book in a while. For some odd reason I thought this translated-from-German time travel story would be more "epic romance" or dark in some way. I suppose the Germans gave us the Grimm Brothers, sturm und drang, and NOSFERATU, and on some sub-conscious level I expect them to be serious. Well, plus, I have quite a few relatives from Germany and as lovely as they are, "hilarious" isn't how I'd describe them.
This book was fun and funny. (It's not really HILARIOUS either, but, it is amusing.) It's actually set in England, and concerns Gwen, who comes from a family of time travelers. Only certain people time travel, and it is prophesied before their birth, so Gwen thinks she's just an ordinary girl while her cousin is expected to time travel, until she finds out that her mother lied about the day she was born, and she's actually the one. There is kind of a secret society built around the time travelers, and a number of mysterious figures that Gwen isn't sure if she can trust. She's sort of thrust into this web of plans without preparation, accompanied by fellow time traveler (and, OF COURSE, hot boy her age), Gideon.
This is just the beginning of the story, and I cannot WAIT for the next installment.
Things I loved about it:
--Big old-fashioned eccentric families. I LOVE them. This is why I love Nancy Mitford and CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS. This book even has ancestors from previous times, so, tons of potential, but even in the present we have the intimidating grandmother, and the sort of loony but lovable aunt, and all sorts of semi-tropes that I nevertheless adore. And there are lots and lots of secrets that I want answers to.
--Gwen's friendship with her best friend Leslie. I am so TIRED of girls in paranormal books that are themselves serious and studious and gorgeous but they have a wacky boy-crazy best friend. Gwen and Leslie's friendship? I actually bought it. They are both sort of silly typical teenagers who love to watch movies. (They are not boy-crazy.) They have a lot in common. I don't know about you, but my best friends growing up and now were actually a lot like me. They weren't "wacky" in comparison to me. I like seeing this. Leslie already knows about Gwen's time traveling heritage and provides support when Gwen finds out she is actually the time traveler.
--"Fun" history. As a history buff I love the time traveling aspects, but I also love that this book doesn't take itself over-seriously. In some ways the tone actually reminded me of early Harry Potter books, with charm and humor to spare and memorable characters. Middle grade readers could appreciate it, but it certainly has plenty of hints at romance for older readers as well.
A good read for a lazy summer day.