I’m excited to share my review of the award-winning book, Between Wild and Ruin, as part of the Xpresso Book Blog Tour. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a chance to to win a $20 Amazon.com Gift Certificate!
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 bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.
Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law, and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people–if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you.
When I heard that this book took place in New Mexico, I had to give it a read. I fell in love with The Land of Enchantment when I first visited ten years ago, and I was eager to delve into a story that would transport me back there. The author did not disappoint. With her vivid description of the landscape, I felt like I was standing amongst the mountains and purple sunsets all over again. The book is really well written in that regard.
The story starts off with Ruby moving into La Luna with her Aunt after the death of her mother. They were a dynamic pair and I enjoyed their interactions. It was nice seeing an adult character that was a positive influence in the story. I also found the introduction of the town and the people who resided there really interesting.
This is one of those books that takes a while to ramp up, but delivers once it does. Shortly after Ruby arrives to town, she becomes the romantic interest of three guys. The first quarter of the book focuses heavily on her relationships with them. Personally, I would have rather the book have at most two romantic interests. The relationship with Angel, for example, probably could have been a friendship from the start, which would've given more page time to the other two male characters. Not a big deal though, just my personal preference.
The story really picks up after the first quarter. And after the 50% mark, the story focuses much more on the mysteries mentioned in the blurb that initially intrigued me to read the book. It was fascinating hearing about legends of spirits and other worlds, and even more so, watching how those elements impacted the lives of the characters.
There were some good twists along the way as well. I’ll admit, one reveal was kind of predictable. I won’t tell what that was, but I caught on in the earlier chapters. The big reveal, however, did surprise me. I thought the author was going to take it in a different direction, but I liked where she ended up taking it better. It pulled the ending together nicely, and showed one of the characters had changed significantly by the ending.
Just as a head’s up, this will be the first book in the series, and I’d continue on. My hope is that the next book will answer all the questions I have regarding the ancients and whether or not they can be trusted.
Thanks to the author and to Xpresso Book Tours for including me in the tour!
Ends September 17th