(The Ruby Blue series, Book 1)
Fiction, YA Fantasy
DESCRIPTION: For the most part, seventeen-year-old Ruby seems like a typical modern American teen. She lives in a small Michigan town with her mother, father, and brat of a brother. She oversleeps and loves ice cream. She has a best-friend-since-forever (who recently came out of the closet) and a crush on the hottest boy in town. And - oh, yeah - she can see fairies.
Anya and Brennan have been Ruby's friends since she was a little girl. They even take on human form sometimes, so her family doesn't think she's crazy, talking to "imaginary" playmates. Ruby knows they have their secrets, but she's never considered fairies dangerous, until some strange things start happening in Lake City. A string of unexplained fires, odd sightings in nearby lakes... Ruby thought the most exciting thing that would happen this summer was finally being asked out by Nick. She's about to learn more about fairy secrets than she could imagine in her wildest dreams - or nightmares.
REVIEW: Why do I keep downloading freebie titles based on a few good reviews? The warning flags come fast and early: the entire first chapter consists of Ruby explaining herself and her mostly-mundane teenage existence, only bothering to mention the fairies at the very end. Even after finally revealing the hook, Cassar seems bound and determined to downplay it. Instead, she treats me to more pointless teenage angst and gabby meanderings through Ruby's brain, which resembles the brain of someone a few years younger than her stated age, to be perfectly honest. More than half of the book concerns itself with matters of dating, shoe collecting, sibling rivalry, and nail polish, amid puppy love anxiety and other issues that, while all-consuming to a young teenager, fail to interest me as a reader. The fairy plot almost feels like an afterthought, until it all gels (or rather congeals) at the very end, for a finale that would've been more tense had Ruby spent more time dealing with the rogue escapee from Fey instead of painting her nails and getting all butterfly-bellied from Nick's attention. But, then, the most trouble the antagonist can manage is minor property damage and the occasional inconveniencing of the heroes... which, considering the alluded potential of its powers, seems disappointingly anticlimactic.
Ultimately, it reads like a Fluffy Bunny fantasy, the kind of bubble-wrapped story usually aimed at younger audiences, awkwardly dressed up for a high school prom. On the plus side, it's reasonably well formatted, and the whole thing reads quickly. I admit that I've read far worse... though that doesn't stop me from wishing this title had been better.
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