Ruined: A Ghost Story, by Paula Morris
When her father must go to China for work, 16 year-old Rebecca must go to live with her aunt in New Orleans for 6 months. Having lived in New York, Rebecca immediately feels out of place at her new school, full of strange customs and castes. One night, while following a group of the elite clique from school, Rebecca ventures into Lafayette Cemetery and comes face to face with a ghost.
Rebecca is a relatable character. She abhors the snobbish girls, cares nothing about popularity, feels invisible, has a natural curiosity for the history of the city, genuinely cares about the ghost Lisette, and is kind to her peers even when they don’t show her the same respect. The other characters are a bit mysterious. Rebecca can’t be sure who to trust. And as she slowly discovers the truth behind Lisette’s haunting, Rebecca uncovers a dark secret that affects her as well. Morris adds quite a bit of history of the area, which felt a little forced and unnecessary. For a girl who doesn’t want to be there, Rebecca does a lot of research into the city.
While the story is a bit predictable, it is extremely well-written, with plenty of suspense and trepidation. There’s an over-all feeling of creepiness when dealing with ghosts and curses, and Ruined holds just the right amount to stay appropriate for younger readers and yet hold the attention of adults. This is a entertaining read if you’re looking for an eerie ghost story with mystery, history, and good clean fun.