Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Pages: 304
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads page


From Goodreads:

Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her....


This is a book you shouldn't try to nit-pick. It's a summer beach read, which means there isn't much depth or character development and over analyzing things or asking too many questions may lead to eyeroll sprains. It had the feel of one of the books I'd find in the classroom library when I was younger.

Just go into it expecting a nice, light summer read and you'll be fine. For me, this was a cozy read. I could curl up with it and the world around me would disappear. I probably won't remember a lot in a few months, but that's okay.

I wish I connected with the characters more

The characters were the biggest meh factor, and we all know how important characters are for me. I probably would have added a half star if I had connected with them more. As it was, main character Lori was a frustrating mix of "mature for her age" teen (who isn't nearly as mature as she thinks she is) and "impulsive teen" who fell in love a little too fast for my tastes.

But that's okay. This is a beach read and so the fast romance is to be expected. As for Lori, though I didn't like her much, I didn't actively dislike her either. Actual teen readers would probably like her more than I did (I felt like my "Old Lady" perspective might have been messing with my ability to connect with her).

Then there's um, gotta look up his name. Nathaniel. Then there's Nathaniel, the Civil War soldier. All I can say is he's nice, in that bland wet cardboard kinda way. I liked the (not dead) guy who takes Lori dancing, has a fun sense of humor, and played her investigative partner in crime MUCH better.

But I get to spend time in a history house!

The plot and setting kept me going. I'm a history buff, so stick me in a Civil War era house in a smaller town during battle reenactment season (complete with Civil War-style BALL!!) and I'm bound to be happy.

Lori's parents own a bed and breakfast (points!) that used to be a Civil War hospital (points!) and so had a fun mix of hidden historical artifacts, battlegrounds, and quirky guests. I loved being there (and I really wish Lori had complained about being their a little less).

I didn't guess the mystery, but that was more because there weren't enough clues given. The story was more told than unraveled, kind of like The Perilous Gard. There was some sleuthing and a bit of a showdown at the end, but this wasn't a tense kind of mystery.

And, again, this is okay. As a beach read, I was perfectly happy with lazily following along with the story, getting pieces of events here and there that eventually added up to the whole.

Bottom line

Rebel Spirits was a fun way to pass the time and one I'd recommend to readers looking for a light escape. I would read more by Lois Ruby (and apparently she's written a lot more), but I don't think I'd rush out to buy them.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

 Do you have any questions about Rebel Spirits that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

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  1. This sounds like a very fun one. I know what you mean about not nit-picking a book. So many books are meant to be just enjoyed but could easily be torn about with a real literary analysis.

    1. Exactly! This is definitely the kind of book where you just need to go with the fluff :)

  2. I'm back! I love history so I'd be happy with the plot and setting too. But, I'm not a fan of real person falling in love with a ghost type of story and so might not bother with this one. How much of a romance is there in this one, Small?

    1. Yay! I'm so glad you're back!!

      Hm, the romance takes up a good part of the book. Or, maybe it's more accurate to say that the main character thinks about her feelings for him a lot. Usually I'm totally on board with ghost romances, but even this one had me rooting for the live guy. It's so short and given something I can't say you might want to give it a shot anyway.

  3. We seem to have similar pet peeves when it comes to characters. The historical aspect of the story sounds really cool, and I love ghost stories, even if the mystery isn't as tense as I hoped.

    1. The historical part probably wouldn't hold muster to a Big Historical fiction fan. I wanted more meaty history (and more accurate) but for the light fluffy read it was it was ok.

    2. I wouldn't call myself a HUGE historical fiction fan, though I do like it. Inaccuracies, though? Those I cannot stand.

  4. Meh--bland wet cardboard? That doesn't endear me to this book at all. I was almost willing to give this woman a pass for sharing a name with me, but a bland, wet cardboard of a love interest is unforgivable. And a deal-breaker.

    1. I kept thinking the EXACT same thing. I actually paused mid-read at one point, flipped the book to the cover, looked at the author's name, shook my head and thought, "the REAL Ruby would not approve."

    2. *whispers* It's probably not even her real last name!

  5. I like "beach reads" as much as the next person so I'll happily put this on my list as something not to expect to be too invested in.

    PS. I got my books and THANK YOU <3

  6. This was a fun, easy read! The Civil War was my area of focus in college, so I was ALL ABOUT this book. If you don't think too deeply and just sit back and enjoy the ride, it's great.

    Also: The Perilous Gard is one of my all time favorites so ♥ to you for mentioning it!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. As you are well aware, I'm not a super duper big fan of historical fiction, occasionally though I try it and oddly enough some of those reads have made it to my favorites list. So, I try and be selective when I hop over to a genre outside of my comfort zone, I'm not sure if this one fits the bill. Great review though!

    Sorry for the deletion above, I need to edit it for spelling - as always spellcheck hosed me again!

  9. Great review! I'm not one for nitpicking a book since I'm just reading for pure enjoyment. It does seem like romantic interests are usually nice but boring, or the interesting bad boy who acts like a complete jerk until you find out there's some underlying reason for it.


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