Between Wild and Ruin is the first book in a new a paranormal coming-of-age romance trilogy filled with Native American folklore and magic. It was a light, fast-paced and engaging read with an extra layer of grief and guilt that together with the historical lore made it so much more than the ordinary YA fantasy. Some parts were a bit over the top though, or not to my liking, to make it as gripping as it could have been. But it was overall a beautifully written and interesting read.
The story follows seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks as she moves to small-town La Luna, New Mexico, with her aunt after the tragic death of her mother. Even though Ruby just wants to focus on getting her life back on track, she instantly becomes the center of attention of the tiny, gossipy town, and finds herself drawn not only to two of the local boys, but to the ancient ruin in the forest as well.
Somehow the ruin calls for Ruby and makes her zealously go hiking into the forests despite the warnings she keeps getting to avoid it. One day at the ruin, she encounters the mysterious, incredibly beautiful Leo, who no one in town seems to know about. Intrigued and fascinated by Leo, she can’t stop thinking about him, at the same time as she’s struggling with her feelings for the handsome sheriff’s deputy Angel, and the bitter and lonely Ezra, whose face has been destroyed in an accident. But soon Ruby will find out that surfaces are deceiving and that there are so many more layers to this story than what could ever have been imagined from the start.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the New Mexico landscape and the mix of historical setting, folklore, magic and multicultural characters. I also really appreciated the questions about what makes life worth living and what truly makes a person beautiful. I really rooted for Ezra from the start, and how strong he was despite having lost his former beauty and being an outcast despised by the whole town. I also really liked his humor and his and Ruby’s bantering. The way Ruby behaved towards Ezra was one of my absolute favorite parts of this story. In a way, this book was a very well executed Beauty and the Beast story, truly showing how beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
But there were some parts that were a bit over the top. Especially the love quadrangle and how Ruby behaved towards Angel, keeping him as some kind of backup by playing the friends card. I also had problems with the way she said one thing and then did the complete opposite, and how she treated her friends. She did come across as a little too selfish and immature at times to make me fully root for her. But I liked her independence and strong will.
Some parts of the story were also a bit too unrealistic to fully buy into. And I don’t mean the premise that there are shapeshifters, old lineage curses, inter-dimensional worlds and other paranormal aspects, I’m all for that! I mean things like how Ruby immediately was the love interest for almost all boys in town at once, how she kept going to the ruin even though everyone warned her about it and how everyone could accept her stories so easily. The part that I had most problems with was Leo. I didn’t like or trust him at all and really didn’t ship his and Ruby’s attraction to each other.
But overall, this was an engaging and suspenseful story with a beautiful setting and atmosphere, and a unique mix of Beauty and the Beast and Native American lore. So, 3.5 stars rounding up to 4 for the way this book kept me entertained the whole way through.
Thank you BookSirens for the free review copy. All opinions are my own and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
Get your own copy:
Jennifer G. Edelson
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez