Debut author Edelson offers up a mix of romance, folklore, and mystery in this contemporary YA novel.
Teenage Ruby Brooks and her aunt Lydia “Liddy” Brooks recently moved from Los Angeles to La Luna, New Mexico to get a fresh start, as Ruby’s mother died 10 months ago. It turns out that Ruby has to repeat her senior year—and in a new school. Although her mother had been a model, Ruby couldn’t care less about people’s looks. Soon, she finds herself drawn to the town outcast, Ezra Lucero, whose face was scarred some years ago. However, she also has a mysterious teen named Leo on her mind, whom she met while hiking the ruins near her new home; one of the town sheriff’s deputies, Angel, has expressed interest in her as well. Despite having three young men to keep her occupied, Ruby finds time to try to learn more about her new surroundings—particularly all of the Native American history and lore that surrounds the fascinating Pecos Pueblo ruins, to which she feels a connection. Edelson’s novel manages to be both an intriguing historical tale and an over-the-top love-quadrangle romance. The will-she-or-won’t-she, this-guy-or-that-guy aspect of the story may turn some readers off, and others may be annoyed by the fact that Ruby is a beautiful and perfect heroine who thinks herself plain, although everyone tells her differently, which is something of a cliché. That said, readers who are interested in Native American lore may be engaged and entertained by those aspects of the story, and it will be no surprise if some of those readers find themselves wanting to dig deeper into the history of this novel’s setting.
A by-the-numbers romance, but a compelling historical drama.