Between Wild and Ruin
Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G Edelson follows Ruby, a teen transplanted from LA to La Luna after her mother’s death. She’s torn between the adventure of it all, and being removed from known friends and places. Ruby lives with her Aunt Liddy in a beautiful home a ways out of town. This tiny town in New Mexico holds unfathomable secrets just waiting to be discovered.
Hiking up the mountain near her home, Ruby discovers an ancient ruin from the Pecos Indians. Legend says it is a gateway to Ottomundo, the otherworld. Up at the ruin, Ruby meets the mysterious Leo, an impossibly handsome and utterly arrogant man who apparently cannot leave the mountain. As Ruby and Liddy get settled in, they begin to make friends. Angel and Torrance, two of the officers in tiny La Luna, are among the first to make them feel welcome. And Ruby makes a point to befriend Ezra, a scarred curmudgeon who begrudgingly allows Ruby into his world.
This story started out seeming very young adult contemporary—a story about a girl moving to a small town, making friends, and finding her new place in life. It gradually morphed into more of something urban fantasy. I felt the change was actually handled pretty well. I loved the history of the Pecos Indians and influence of Native American lore. It was a welcome change from urban fantasy full of werewolves and vampires. Considering Dracula is my favorite classic horror novel, it says a lot that I’ve come to loathe vampires in literature. It’s become trite, as have werewolves.
Wild & Ruin sadly doesn’t pass the Bechdel-Wallace test. Ninety-five percent of the female to female conversations revolve around boys. Ugh on that count. I also guessed pretty early on all of what Ezra was, his connection to Leo, and the truth of the mountain lion that stalks Ruby’s property. That partly might be my interest and knowledge of myth and legend, so I won’t say it’s really easy to guess. This was a pretty easy read. It flowed well and is a great addition to young adult urban fantasy.
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