Ruby & Olivia by Rachel Hawkins (review)
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Reviewed by
Hawkins, Rachel Ruby & Olivia. Putnam, 2017 [256p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-399-16961-8 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-698-19177-8 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-7

Outspoken Ruby is always up for an adventure, which is how she ends up at a community service camp for kids who’ve committed minor offenses. On the other hand, timid Olivia ends up at the camp because she took the blame for her shoplifting twin. Their service project has Ruby and Olivia cleaning an old mansion, and when the two girls hear music that no one else can, they decide they have to overcome their differences and tackle the mystery together. As they start their research, Ruby discovers Olivia’s quiet sense of humor, and Olivia begins to appreciate Ruby’s boldness as she starts to figure out who she is apart from her sister. While the girls’ notion that their chipper camp director has nefarious motives is misguided, the house is genuinely haunted, and dealing with the creepy ghosts requires both Ruby’s recklessness and Olivia’s loyalty as well as fellow camper Garrett’s preparedness (even though he runs away when things get hairy). Narration alternates between Ruby and Olivia, helping to round out the character growth; Olivia’s arc is more complex, with Ruby acting more or less as a sassy catalyst to bring Olivia out of her sister’s shadow. Readers who enjoy stories where the ghosts turn out to be as real as the friendships required to bust ’em are the audience for this.

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