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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Between Wild and Ruin is a young adult paranormal fantasy novel written by Jennifer G. Edelson. La Luna, New Mexico was a far cry from Ruby’s native Los Angeles. She still wasn’t quite sure why her Aunt Liddy had decided to drag the two of them this far east after Ruby’s mom passed. Before Ruby realized it, Liddy had it all planned: she had found herself a place on the university staff and registered Ruby for her senior year of high school. When Ruby finally did take in the grandeur of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and the tidy wooden house nestled amongst towering pines, Ruby couldn’t help but be awed by her new surroundings. La Luna was a tiny place, and their initial visit to the local grocery store for provisions led to a most unusual encounter with a boy about Ruby’s age. Later that night, she noticed a mountain lion standing by the stream that passed by their house. Yes, it was a magical place. The artist in Ruby couldn’t wait to get out there and capture it with her charcoals.
Jennifer G. Edelson’s paranormal fantasy for young and new adults, Between Wild and Ruin, held me entranced as I vicariously fell in love with La Luna and the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and I had to stop myself from googling New Mexico and considering how I might find my own wooden retreat on the side of a mountain. Edelson eloquently brings the majesty and beauty of that location to life and exploring the paths and ruins along with Ruby was a real treat. Between Wild and Ruin is also one of the more inspired coming-of-age books I’ve read in some time. Following Ruby as she navigates senior year in a new high school and copes with the scrutinizing and often hostile gazes trained upon her as the new girl was inspiring, and seeing as she befriends the angry and hostile Ezra kept me engaged and immersed in the story. The paranormal aspects of the tale are credible and richly steeped in traditional lore, and the plot is finely crafted. Edelson’s characters quickly began to feel real and alive. Between Wild and Ruin is most highly recommended.