Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Review of Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins


HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO RACHEL HAWKINS!!! RUBY & OLIVIA OFFICIALLY COMES OUT TODAY!!! I am so excited to participate in the Ruby & Olivia Blog Tour by Penguin Random House on such a special day! You can read all about the book in the synopsis below, but before you do, be sure to check out the lovely book cover! I think it artistically captures the book perfectly, the colors make the book stand out, and it gives enough spook by the creepy looking house. And I love the faces of Ruby and Olivia outside the silhouette of an Oak tree, with personalized touches to their hair. Risa Rodil, the cover artist, did a wonderful job!




Book: Ruby & Olivia
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: Oct 24, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 256 for Hardcover
Age Range: 8-12
Source: I received this ARC for review in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | TBD













About the Book:

A contemporary story with a twinkle of magic, RUBY AND OLIVIA is a pacey, gently creepy book filled with lovable characters and snappy humor. At its core, this is the story of two girls who are not friends learning that they might have more in common than they ever expected – even if it takes the magic and mystery of a rumored-to-be haunted mansion to bring them together.

Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. They don’t get along at all, but they share a best friend – Olivia’s twin sister, Emma. Olivia’s good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for one of Emma’s misdeeds. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer – at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of an abandoned mansion called Live Oaks. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working with each other is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool – there's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to stuffed deer heads.

However, it isn't long until little tricks – like wash water turning freezing cold and doors slamming and shadows rising – start to spook the girls. They'd like to think the other campers are pranking them, but soon realize that this empty mansion might just be looking for new residents. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their grudges aside and figure out how to be a team, with or without Emma.

While Rachel's haunted house will give readers a thrill, the real treat is being enveloped in her warm and inviting world – full of family, friendship, and the ups-and-downs of growing up. The girls’ story is told with all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids, parents, and teachers alike.




My Review:

I enjoyed reading Ruby & Olivia! It was a fun, cute, and delightful middle grade read with a spooky edge, and an interesting mystery that Ruby & Olivia have to try to solve at Live Oak House. Live Oak House is rumored to be a haunted mansion and that's exactly where Ruby and Olivia end up doing community service during the summer after each of them gets into trouble - only Olivia is completely innocent, taking the blame for something her twin sister Emma does, just so Emma can go to a fun summer camp. Talk about loyalty!! Ruby & Olivia aren't considered friends in the beginning of the book, as Olivia and Emma had a falling out with Ruby previously. So there is immediate tension between the girls as they start Camp Chrysalis to catalog creepy items at Live Oak House. These girls have to learn to work together and develop a comradery despite their differences. Mysterious and spooky things start to go on in the house and this becomes the glue that binds these girls into an otherwise unlikely friendship in order to solve the mystery of Live Oak House.

I liked how Ruby & Olivia eventually bonded at Camp Chrysalis and how their relationship strengthened authentically towards the end. Each of them also had to resolve issues in their own lives and learn how to deal with people in a way that was authentic to who they really were. But growth was definitely observed in each of their personalities. Spunky, brave, and outspoken Ruby softens a bit and learns to have some boundaries, while Olivia learns to speak up about how she truly feels about things. Each of these girls take something important away from Camp Chrysalis. So that was a good thing. And an added bonus is that they had more fun at Camp Chrysalis than they thought they would have! Who knew doing community service could turn into fun?!

It was so much fun reading about Ruby & Olivia's investigative activities, thoughts, and paranormal sleuthing when it came to the strange activity going on at Live Oak House. I really wanted them to figure out what was behind it all. At some points, you can't help but laugh at their antics, in an enjoyable way. And the length these girls go to is incredibly honorable, even at the scariest of times at Live Oak House! Definitely impressive for young girls! It was also refreshing that the story is told in alternating points of view by Ruby & Olivia, so you really get an in-depth look at what each of the girls are thinking and feeling.

Olivia's twin Emma isn't a central role in this story, only mentioned sporadically, so I wish Emma was integrated more into the story. I felt that, being a twin myself, Olivia would have wanted to talk to Emma more while she was away and she would have wanted to tell her all about the creepiness of Live Oak House and maybe ask for her help on what to do. But the author does a good job of explaining away why this doesn't happen more often, even when some attempts to make contact are made but are not followed though. But I truly believe Emma being away at camp to create an intentional distance between the twins was an essential part of the plot.  It was necessary in order for Olivia to become independent from her sister, develop her own identity, and grow as a person. I also liked how loyal Olivia was to Emma, but I wish the opposite was true as well. Too bad the loyalty had to be under these circumstances of being "punished" during the summer. Hawkins did a good job of describing the dynamics of twin relationships, and how they feel. I could definitely relate, especially when I was Olivia and Emma's age.

I liked the integration of the history of Live Oak House into the story. I love learning about history, especially if it pertains to a house that is considered haunted! Rachel Hawkins made this history lesson fun and interesting for kids, so they will want to be immersed in it! Also, the initial owner of the house, Felix Wrexhall, and his son Mr. Matthews were well known in the town due to happenings at Live Oak House, so this added to the drama for the kids in terms of the spook factor.

The ending felt a bit rushed and not as thoroughly developed as I would have liked. I wasn't completely satisfied with how the mechanics of the ending happened or the explanation of things and I was left with some questions at the end. But I did like the final outcome of the story. And I liked the overall message of the story. Ruby & Olivia was full of self-discovery, sisterhood, friendship, second chances, and the importance of learning from your mistakes. We can all learn something from Ruby and Olivia. It was a highly entertaining read, and I am sure not only middle grade kids and young adults will devour this book, but so will adults who are kids at heart! I enthusiastically recommend reading this book!


Rating: 4 STARS





About The Author:












Rachel Hawkins is the author of Journey's End, the Rebel Belle series, and the New York Times bestselling Hex Hall series. Born in Virginia and raised in Alabama, Rachel taught high school English before becoming a full-time writer.












Now that you have read my review of Ruby & Olivia, FOLLOW THE REST OF THE BLOG TOUR!



BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:



WEEK 1:



OCT 17, 2017 - CROSSROAD REVIEWS - REVIEW

OCT 18, 2017 - TEEN LIBRARIAN TOOLBOX - REVIEW

OCT 19, 2017 - THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW - SHOWCASE & REVIEW

OCT 20, 2017 - SWOONY BOYS PODCAST - REVIEW & TOP 10 LIST


WEEK 2:

OCT 23, 2017 - LIV THE BOOK NERD - REVIEW
OCT 24, 2017 - BOOKISH DELIGHTS - REVIEW
OCT 25, 2017 - BOOKISH REALM REVIEWS - REVIEW







I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE RUBY & OLIVIA BLOG TOUR!!! PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT RUBY & OLIVIA TO YOUR FRIENDS!!!






























































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