Sunday 30 December 2012

365. Romance Diaries Book 2: Ruby by Jenna Austen

Romance Diaries Book 2: Ruby by Jenna Austen
Published January 2013 Harper Collins

From the publisher:
Ruby's worried that her friends keep making the same mistakes when it comes to romance. Then she develops a theory: most girls go for either a Jane Austen guy (funny, sweet, caring) or a Jane Eyre guy (dark, brooding, serious) -- when really they should be dating the exact opposite! But when Ruby puts her theory into practice, the results don't exactly go to plan ... And if shes so smart about love, how come she can't figure out who's been sending her all the flirty emails and flowers?

Being the book nerd that I am, my first thought when I saw this book, was Who Is Jenna Austen?  I was fairly confident that this was a pseudonym, and after a bit of Googling, I came up trumps.  Jenna Austen is non other than the well know Australian writer Sophie Masson!

Ruby is a matchmaker.  She has worked out where all of her friends are going wrong on the relationship front, and she is making it her mission to steer them in the right direction.  This right direction however is HER idea of what that right direction is, and she sometimes fails to see the bigger picture.

Ruby is so bust worrying about everyone else's love life (and I do mean everyone, from her Mum and sister, to each of her best friends), that she fails to see what is right under her nose.  As a reader, watching the story take place before our eyes, and to us, it's obvious what is happening and who Ruby's admirer is, but Ruby, so caught up with everyone else, has no idea.  It's that element that may frustrate some readers, because they will want to shake her and tell her to open her eyes, but it's also the thing that makes you feel like you're in on a secret, and you're just waiting to see Ruby's reaction when she realises!

As the authors pen name would suggest there's a bit of a nod to the classics, and this story was inspired by the book Emma by Jane Austen.  There's also more than one reference to one of my all time favourite movies, The Princess Bride, and this is the second book I have read this year that makes reference to it, see Preloved by Shirley Marr.

After reading this book, one of the first things I though about was, who is this book for.  I am super conservative in my recommendations when it comes to primary school libraries, so when I come across a book like this, that's a romance with 'pashing' I don't know what to do.  For a long time primary schools (I am in South Australia so our Primary Schools go up to Year 7, 12/13 year olds) have steered clear of books with any boyfriend-girlfriend action, but the times they are a changin', so this book is probably OK for girls age 11+.  There's no sex, and no swearing (the word that is used is 'pig' as in 'pigwit' and 'pigged off'), so all clear on that front too, so if a bit of matchmaking, dating and pashing sound OK to you, then I am sure girls will just eat it up.

See below for a link to an interview with Sophie Masson talking about her inspiration for this new series.

Who will like this book: Girls age 11+
Read it if you like: Girl Vs The World series by various authors

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