by Kerstin Gier
Plot Summary:Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors' peculiar history, she's had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden uncontrolled leaps into the past.
She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century...
Review:I picked up Ruby Red because it has lots of things that I love. Time travel, romance and English history. And it delivered on all those things while surprising me with its wit and humor. Seriously Gwen is such a fun narrator, especially more so because she is not prepared for the crazy things that happen to her. Gwen's family life adds to the humor and the interest because she lives in a gorgeous upscale home with her grandmother, her immediate family and her aunts and cousin. Oh and they have a butler! The modern setting with such old fashioned values fits in with the secret society of time travelers that Gwen is involved in and all this created a world that was believable and fascinating. With the rules to the time traveling gene being both wonderful and a pain. I love that because it adds a level of realism - especially when comparing Gwen's obligation to the freedom her cousin Charlotte has now that she doesn't have to worry about randomly time traveling.
The romance between Gwen and Gideon was very unsure at first, and I thought the author developed it wonderfully - with the reader never really knowing Gideon's true feelings or intentions. And there is a love triangle of sorts in that Gideon may have feelings for Gwen's cousin Charlotte, so that is an interesting angle to take. Gideon is a fun character to explore as well - he can be sarcastic and changeable and I think there is still much to find out about him through this story. There's another love story that is detailed in this book - between Lucy and Paul, and while we only get glimpses of it, it is definitely important to the narrative arc, and I look forward to finding out more about their characters.
There is one other aspect about this story that I really adored - everything with Gwen and her best friend Lesley. So often in YA novels, when something supernatural or extraordinary happens to the main character, all of that character's old friends are left by the way side, but in this book it doesn't hurt Gwen and Lesley's friendship and the fact that Gwen had someone she could share everything that happened to her was awesome. Especially fun was every time Lesley suggested they rent the DVD to solve some problem (like not knowing about a particular time period).
The logistics of the secret society, time traveling and Gwen getting to know Gideon made up most of this book, which I mention because this book just ends. There's not really a cliffhanger, and no sense that this book is only set-up for the series, but this book felt like the first part of a three part tome. Although I prefer each book in a series (or at least the first book in a series) to feel like a complete story, I didn't mind the ending of this book as much because I just went into the second book right away.
This book is a fun, engrossing read with strong characters and a great new approach to someone carrying a time traveling gene. A must read!