cover image Ruby Red

Ruby Red

Kerstin Gier, trans. from the German by Anthea Bell, Holt, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9252-3

Along with everyone else in her extended London household, 16-year-old Gwyneth believed that her cousin Charlotte was destined to be the family's next time-traveler. Unlike Charlotte, Gwyneth has no training in how to behave in other time periods, nor any background in the secret society of Guardians that protects the travelers—all vexingly inconvenient when Gwyneth starts popping back in time. What she does have is a mystery about why her mother lied about her birth date and a rocky partnership with fellow time-traveler Gideon. Gwyneth and Gideon are to fulfill the great quest of the Guardians and unlock a mysterious power, but the journeys prove perilous as they jaunt through 300 years of family secrets. First published in Germany, Gier's trilogy (Sapphire Blue and Emerald Green will follow) has met with success in Europe, though for a book set (at least partly) in the era of Google and cellphones, it has a quaint, old-fashioned feel. While some of the foreshadowing lacks subtlety, Gier's characters and plotting are first-rate, creating an adventure that should leave readers eager for the rest of the trilogy. Ages 12–up. (May)