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Review: Between Wild & Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson

Between Wild & Ruin

Jennifer G. Edelson

Truth, like love, isn’t always obvious. Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a …more

My Rating

New Mexico comes alive on the pages of Between Wild & Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson. This coming of age, paranormal romance is well crafted with a fast pace, architectural description and well developed characters. We meet Ruby, who has moved to the small town of La Luna following the untimely death of her mother. The circumstances of her arrival are revealed one little detail at a time, in the most appropriate way. Edelson is sure to allow the reader to peel back the layers of each character slowly, instead of relinquishing everything at once. Details like that gives this young adult novel maturity.

This is a genre I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up and read. It did remind me of the Twilight series, but with so much more investment into local lore. On that subject, it is a new and refreshing glance into a culture not often visited in literature. So, while this is a beauty meets the beast premise on the outside, it leaps beyond that with depth of indigenous cultures and the crossroads of ancient beliefs in the modern world.

Ruby’s path through making friends and gaining the attention of seemingly every incredibly handsome young man in the general vicinity is a little unbelievable. Edelson does not succeed in overcoming the trope of ‘new girl in town means fresh meat for all the single men.’ That aside, the pages keep turning as we meet Ezra, an otherwise bitter recluse outcast by the most of La Luna, whom Ruby is drawn to.

The best part about this relationship is the realism of it. Edelson does not paint this as if he is some otherworldly presence, drawing her in. Instead, Ruby is written as wanting to gauge this man for herself, wanting to know the truth behind the scars and the curmudgeonly outlook. In so doing, she breaks down the walls of Ezra one brick at a time, and it allows us to peek into the inner workings of Ruby’s mind. These little details make this tale of legends and spirits hold a firm foot in reality.

Truthfully, though it may not be a book I’d have pulled down from the shelves of a bookstore, it’s a marvelous read that reminded me of when I was a young teenage girl. Rushing to the library to find the next book in one of two series by Katherine Applegate, Between Wild & Ruin gave me that same gushy feeling, a smile always hidden as I scan the words and invest my time in Ruby and Ezra’s world. I look forward to what is to come and can’t wait for book two. This is a guilty pleasure in the best sense of the phrase.

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