Ruby and Olivia

Rachel Hawkins. Putnam, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-16961-8
Ruby Kaye and Olivia Willingham, two very different 12-year-olds, reluctantly band together when a local historic house shows signs of being haunted. Reserved, rule-following Olivia takes the blame for her twin sister’s shoplifting, which earns her a spot at Camp Chrysalis, a day camp focused on community service; sister Emma, meanwhile, gets to attend sleepaway camp. At Camp Chrysalis, Olivia spends her days with one of Emma’s former friends, an opinionated girl named Ruby. Strange happenings and ghostly music that only Ruby and Olivia seem to notice draws the girls into the odd and tragic history of Live Oak House, named after the massive oak at its center. Hawkins (Journey’s End) keeps the frightening elements of this story light and slightly opaque, focusing on the growing friendship between Ruby and Olivia, who are starting to see the importance of looking beyond initial impressions. Olivia, who must learn to stand up for herself—especially against Emma—feels very much like the central character, even though the girls get equal attention on the page in their alternating narratives. Ages 8–12. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2017
Release date: 10/24/2017
Genre: Children's
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