Ruby Red is a young adult novel set–mostly–in present day London. It is the first book in a trilogy about a time-traveling teen named Gwen.
Gwen lives in an old Victorian mansion with the Lady Arista, her Aunt Glenda and cousin Charlotte, her “crazy” great-aunt Maddy, her mother and her two younger siblings. You would think the ability to see ghosts would make Gwen’s life pretty exciting, but it is Charlotte who is the special one. Charlotte has been training her entire life: learning to dance, play violin, horseback ride, everything imaginable, because Charlotte has the gene that will allow her to travel through time. At least that’s what everyone thinks, until Gwen takes a trip to the corner store and ends up in the 1920’s.
Gwen takes two more frightening and accidental trips to the past before she admits to her mother that she has time traveled. Chaos ensues. Everyone is furious with Gwen’s mother, who lied about Gwen’s birthdate in a misguided attempt to protect her from having to give up her life training to travel through time. Gwen is rushed to the Temple, where she discovers there is much more to time-traveling then she thought, not to mention the large secret society that goes along with it. The only problem is no one in the secret society seems to like Gwen very much, nor will anyone answer any of her questions.
Gwen is paired with another time-traveling teen named Gideon. Gideon had be training for time-traveling with Charlotte, and seems to have a more-than-friendly relationship with her. Like the rest of the secret society members, Gideon is not happy that his beautiful, smart, talented and funny partner is leaving, and he is being stuck with a younger, less, well, everything, and completely untrained partner. Gwen doesn’t particularly like Gideon either, but they are stuck and must learn to work together.
Ruby Red is exciting, fast-paced, and mysterious. It does not feature the usual teen-love-triangle which is refreshing. Gwen is a strong-willed young lady who wants to be in control of her own destiny, despite what a plethora of adults tell her. She knows everyone is keeping secrets from her, even her mother, and she wants to find out the truth on her own. The relationship between Gwen and Gideon is interesting. Naturally the reader expects them to fall madly in love with each other, but Gwen does not seem like the kind of girl to be interested in a girly, flirty relationship.
I enjoyed Ruby Red a lot. It was fast-paced, and kept surprising me. It left the reader with more questions than answers, but that is typical for the first book in a trilogy. For example, “crazy” aunt Maddy has visions that have to do with Gwen and rubies and large clocks. These visions are only given passing mention, but Gwen seems to think they are important. Additionally, who are the two mysterious people who have just time traveled to the 20’s in the prologue? Who are these men in the secret society, and what are they all hiding? And what is going to happen between Gwen and Gideon? Hopefully these questions will be answered in the second book!