Monthly Archives: May 2013

YRCA 2014 Review: Ruby Red

Yay! My first review for the new list! And I’m talking about Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier!

Gwen comes from a long line of women who carry a gene that allows them to travel through time. Gwen has lived a relatively normal life up until she’s sixteen because her cousin Charlotte, who was born on a special day, is supposed to be the one with the gene and their whole family is waiting with baited breath for her to have her first time-travel incident. Apparently, she will just randomly disappear for anywhere from minutes to hours into anytime in the past before coming back and doing it all again at some undetermined time. Charlotte has been trained for this her whole life, sacrificing a normal life so, of course, it turns out that Gwen was born a day earlier than everyone thought and that she has the gene instead. And she is completely unprepared. And of course, there is a boy who can also time-travel and there is a device that helps control the time-travel and there is mysterious secret society that possibly has an ulterior motive.

So, as I said in my last post, it was coincidence that I offered up Ruby Red to the teens in my Teen Book Club and that they picked it for the month that the new YRCA list came out and that it just happened to be on the list. What’s more awesome is that this also happened two years ago with The Hunchback Assignments.

I really liked Ruby Red.  Interestingly, I learned after reading it that it was translated from German, so that’s cool. The dialogue was fun and the concept of spontaneous time-travel was intriguing. I know for certain that this is not the first time that a book has represented time-travel this way. One really awesome book in particular comes to mind but I won’t name it because it would totally be a spoiler for that book but if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  There were plenty of plot twists and mysteries that kept me interested. The only kind of odd thing for me was that it didn’t feel like a complete book, but rather, the first third of a book. The climax was not really climax-y and the romance was very early stages. In fact, most of the plot was Gwen learning about the world of the time-travellers and setting up future mysteries. Despite a prologue and epilogue, it felt like someone had taken a story and divided it up. Not that I really minded, though, because the story definitely kept me engaged and the way it ended had me wanting to know more. I actually put the next book on hold a couple of minutes after I finished it.

Will this book win the Senior Division? Um, well, Divergent is also in this category so… probably not. But, hey, you never know.

What I’m reading now: Inferno by Dan Brown, Going Postal audiobook by Terry Pratchett.

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YRCA 2013 Finale and 2014 Begins

Okay, so the 2013 winners are:

Junior – Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Intermediate – Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Senior – Crazy by Han Nolan

So, no surprises with the first two really, but I didn’t see Crazy coming. I didn’t get around to reading it, though, so I must have missed something. I had heard mixed things about it from staff members and none of the teens I talk to had read it so it must have appealed to a different crowd. It’s funny how sometimes they sneak up on you sometimes. It’s definitely staying on my “to read” list and hopefully I get to it in the near future.

On a really positive note, the number of votes from all of PNLA and from our own city has been steadily decreasing for the last few years but this year our city’s votes more than doubled with over 20,000! In past years, we accounted for almost half of the total votes and usually whoever we vote for wins but this year our number one for Intermediate was Halo (by a small margin over Smile) but Smile won so I’m hoping that means there was an increase in votes from the other provinces/states/cities. Let’s keep this awesome program going!

So on to the most exciting part of this blog: the new nominees are out! Follow the link to see the complete list. So, yay, new books to get kids excited about. I’ve already read seven of them and, coincidentally, we were reading one of them in the Teen Book Club that very month. I am a little confused by some of the nominees though. Some years past, I’m not sure how long ago, PNLA decided that sequels were not eligible to be nominated. I’ve heard it had to do with giving other books a chance (apparently Harry Potter dominated for a few years) but that could be wrong. Anyway, when we were sending in noms for the long lists, that was still a rule but, low and behold, sequels outnumber firsts and one-offs on the short lists. I’d be interested in finding out why they decided to allow them again. I’m sure it was part of an attempt to attract more interest from the kids but my only concern is that if a kid hasn’t started the series yet they may not be inclined to read the book that’s actually nominated. In some cases, it’s the second book in series but more than one of them the book is even further along, like Angel which is the seventh book in the Maximum Ride series. We’ll see how it works out, I guess.

What I’m reading right now: The Grand Tour or The Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer and Going Postal audiobook by Terry Pratchett.

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