The Ruby Notebook
Sixteen-year-old Zeeta and her flighty English-teaching mom, Layla, have traveled the world together, settling in a different country every year, making a whole new set of friends and adopting new customs. This year, they’ve chosen to live in Aix-en-Provence, France, an enchanting city full of fountains, creamy yellow light, and a fascinating group of scarlet-clad street performers.
Zeeta soon begins to receive mysterious notes and gifts from someone she calls her fantôme, or ghost, admirer. But she is expecting her boyfriend, Wendell—the love of her life, as her friends call him—to arrive in Aix for a summer program very soon. Zeeta brushes off her curiosity about her fantôme, and her simmering attraction to one of the street performers, Jean-Claude, until Wendell arrives and she begins to fear that her feelings for him have truly changed. Perhaps—like Layla—she’s simply not made for long-term romance.
As Zeeta tries to draw away from Wendell, however, circumstances seem to force them together. Zeeta’s friendship with a local antiques dealer and his reclusive artist friend leads to a dangerous adventure. When Zeeta and Wendell join forces to find a secret underground spring whose water is rumored to bring immortality, they are forced to reconsider their own desires, and their beliefs about true love. Yet as soon as Zeeta decides that her mind has cleared, she’s confronted with the biggest shock of her life: the incredible true identity of her fantôme.
Vibrant, warmhearted, and evocative, The Ruby Notebook is a remarkable novel about learning to accept love in all of its wondrous and imperfect forms.
This sequel to The Indigo Notebook (2008) blends romance and intrigue in an evocative setting. Sixteen-year old Zeeta and her free-spirited mother have just moved from Ecuador to Aix-en-Provence, where Zeeta's boyfriend, Wendall, will soon join them. While counting the days until his arrival, Zeeta befriends a troupe of street performers and two elderly companions an ailing artist and an antique dealer, who are intent on finding the city's legendary fountain of youth. When Zeeta discovers that someone has been slipping unusual objects into her bag (all clues about the father she's never met), she endeavors to uncover the fant me gift-giver. The longer Zeeta stays in France, the more she feels herself changing, and she feels that her connection to Wendall may be weakening, especially when she becomes attracted to one of the street performers. Characters and events in the novel are painted slightly brighter than life, but readers who become absorbed in Zeeta's passionate endeavors and romantic mishaps will likely be willing to suspend disbelief enough to accept the rather contrived resolutions. Ages 10 up.