Ruby has no idea what she’s in for when she meets Devon—but she knows that no matter how dangerous he might be, she can’t help being irresistibly attracted to him.
“Dark” and “weird” are the first words that most people would use to describe Ruby Rain. At 21, she’s the local high school’s youngest English teacher. She has a sleep phase disorder that doesn’t allow her to rest at night, and she enjoys frequenting the same “dark and grungy” bar every night. Her mother was committed to an asylum when Ruby was just a girl, and Ruby herself spent time in Coffeen Sanitarium after her mother’s death. So when she meets the tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome Devon Slaughter late one night, she’s certainly prepared for something out of the ordinary…but perhaps not as out of the ordinary as Devon. He’s undead, but he’s not a vampire; in fact, he’s not sure what he is. All he knows is that there’s something about Ruby that attracts him. Ruby, meanwhile, is becoming less and less sure that Devon is real and is questioning her own sanity while fighting her way through petty jealousies at school. Bell’s debut thriller oozes gothic romance, but it often struggles to capture the right tone. It’s hard to tell if Devon’s dialogue is intentionally campy; e.g., “Her already wide eyes grew wider. Any second now, she would notice I was sexy.” It’s also difficult to tell whether this is an adult or a YA novel; Ruby has three degrees and a teaching job, but her world feels more like the teenage version of high school, as her colleagues say things like, “What’s with the Kool-Aid dye job?” and “It’s not my fault you’re a troglodyte.” Still, Bell’s prose is lush and atmospheric.
A passionate novel of obsession with ambiguous intended effects.