January 22, 2020

#BookReview: Ruby and Olivia by @LadyHawkins

Synopsis: A spooky middle-grade story that's full of fun, friendship, and humor--perfect for fans of Ingrid Law and Lisa Graff.

Ruby is best friends with Emma, but she and Emma's twin sister Olivia are definitely not friends. Unfortunately, Emma will be away for the summer, while Ruby and Olivia are going to be stuck at a community service day camp for troublemakers--together. 
To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are outfitted with bright pink polka-dotted t-shirts with smiley faces on the front, then tasked with cataloging the contents of an abandoned mansion. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working with each other is that last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually pretty cool. There's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to stuffed deer heads . . . and . . . wait . . . is that stuffed deer head watching them? 
When the taps run freezing cold and doors slam inexplicably, Ruby and Olivia wonder if the other campers are having a bit of fun, or if the abandoned mansion is looking for new residents. To solve the mystery, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their grudges aside and figure out how to be a team with or without Emma.


Rating: ★★★★★
My Review:  I liked this one from the start, I liked the dual POV of Ruby and Olivia.  I loved that this was about a haunting and ghosts and that Ruby plays Minecraft like me!! She talks about building a mansion in the game and I thought that was really cool.  She also had dyed hair that I enjoyed.  I really think they should do a book two of this because I really loved it.  The pacing was really good and I loved how they did the alternate chapters.  The ending was pretty cool but I wished that it would have been a little different because it was an open ending that I wished it could have been different.  

Go Into This One Knowing:  Ghosts, Crimes


None of this was actually my fault. I wouldn’t have even been at Live Oak House this summer if it hadn’t been for my sister, Emma. My twin sister, Emma.

Sometimes it’s weird to look at someone who shares my face but couldn’t be more different from me if she’d been born on another planet. Mom says that it’s because we’re twins that we’re so different, that we’re always trying to make it easier for people to tell us apart. I don’t think that’s true for me, but it defi- nitely is for Em.

We’re what’s known as mirror twins. We’re completely identical, but in reverse. The little brown freckle near my left temple? It’s there on Em’s face, too, but on the right. She’s left- handed, I’m right-handed.

When we were little, our mom made sure we matched all the time—same little dresses, same hairstyles, all of that. It was only last year that Emma rebelled and started wearing what she wanted. I’d never minded matching, but if Emma didn’t want to do it anymore, I told myself I needed to be okay with that. Then on that Saturday, the day that screwed everything up, Emma came out of her room dressed the same as me for the first time in ages. It was an accident. 
I hadn’t told Em what I was wearing that day, and she hadn’t come into my room to see me before she got dressed. It hap- pened that way sometimes, an easy thing to do since we still had a lot of the same clothes. We’d both worn jeans and the pale blue blouses Mom had bought us a few weeks before. I liked the blouse because of the little flowers embroidered around the neck, and Emma’s favorite color was blue.

Honestly, I’d expected Emma to ask me to change, but that day, she’d just shrugged it off. “One more time won’t hurt,” she’d said, and I’d been happy about that.

Things had been . . . weird with me and Em for nearly a year by then. Not in a big way, really, but if I was pretty content being EmmaandOlivia, all one word like that, I could tell Emma wasn’t. It had started in little ways—wanting her own room, her own clothes—but turned into wanting her own friends and her own in- terests, people and hobbies that it seemed like she picked because she knew I wouldn’t like them.

Like Camp Kethaway.

Camp Kethaway had been Emma’s obsession for months, ever since she’d seen a stack of brochures in the guidance coun- selor’s office. It was your traditional summer camp—canoeing, arts and crafts, s’mores, all that, which had sounded like a night- mare to me.
Staying in the woods with a bunch of people you don’t know? Forced camaraderie? No, thank you. 

I’d told Emma right from the beginning to count me out of her Camp Kethaway plans, and I think part of me had assumed she’d scrap the idea. We were kind of a package deal, me and Em, so surely if didn’t want to do it, she wouldn’t, either.

But no, Emma had just gone on planning for camp, begging Mom and Dad until they relented. She was scheduled to leave just a few days after the lipstick thing.

We were going shopping with Mom, something neither of us really liked all that much, except I got to spend time in the bookstore, and Mom let Em go to the Sephora even though we weren’t allowed to wear makeup. Emma always said the trips to Sephora were “scouting missions,” that she was learning what kind of makeup she liked so that when she was allowed to wear more than slightly tinted ChapStick—on our fourteenth birthday, according to Mom—she’d be prepared.
The lipstick she took wasn’t even a color she liked. It was too bright, almost hot pink, and Emma didn’t like pink. did, though, and maybe that’s why Mom believed me.

I can still remember standing there at the front of the store with Mom and Em, the security guard, and the cashier with the pretty blond hair, a bright streak of purple over one eye. Mom’s arms were folded over her chest, and her face was pinched and tight, white lines edging her lips. Mom had never been this mad at us before, but then we’d never given her any reason to be be- fore that day.

And really, I can’t blame Em. Em didn’t point a finger at me and say, “It wasn’t me, it was Olivia.” was the one who said, “I did it. I took the lipstick.” 

Even now, I don’t know exactly why I said that. Maybe it was because I’d known that Mom would punish Emma by canceling her summer camp. Maybe I thought Emma would think I was cool for owning up to a crime I didn’t commit.

And maybe—just maybe—when I said I’d been the one to take the makeup, I thought Emma would fess up even though she had to know that would mean the end of Camp Kethaway.
Maybe I thought Em would pick me over camp.

But she just bit her lip while Mom looked back and forth between us.

“Livvy, this is just . . . It’s so unlike you,” Mom finally said, and I saw Emma flinch a little bit. I couldn’t blame her. Was Mom saying shoplifting was like Emma? Sure, she’d been going through some changes lately, switching out new crowds of friends every few weeks, it seemed like, but she’d never really been in serious trouble before.

I just shrugged and said, “I wanted to be different.”

I still don’t know if Mom actually believed me, but she sighed and nodded, and that was that. Obviously no one wanted to press charges against a twelve-year-old, but that didn’t mean I was getting off scot-free.

Camp Chrysalis had been a thing in Chester’s Gap forever, and I remembered past summers, seeing kids in brightly col- ored T-shirts picking up trash at the park, cleaning up the area around the country club pool. Some years there were only four or five kids. Sometimes there were nearly twenty. The camp wasn’t just for our town anymore, but had opened up to the nearby towns in the tri-county area as a “positive redirection” for kids who’d screwed up. It had never in a million years oc- curred to me that I’d end up there. I’d thought with Emma away at Camp Kethaway,  I’d be spending my own summer reading, maybe going to the pool.
Camp Chrysalis met at the town rec center not too far from our neighborhood, and as Mom drove up that first morning, I sat in the passenger seat, fingers laced together, hands in my lap. A whole summer of picking up trash. Of people seeing me pick up trash. For something I didn’t even do.

“Little different from yesterday, huh?” Mom asked lightly as we pulled into the circular drive in front of the center. I’d always hated this building, all squat and square and brick, with columns painted like crayons. Somehow all those bright colors against the dingy brick just made it worse.
“Definitely wish I were at Em’s camp instead,” I answered. We’d dropped Emma off the day before, and when I’d seen the way she smiled at the little circle of cabins and the brightly colored banner flapping in the wind at the top of a flagpole in the middle of that circle, I’d felt . . . okay. It was nice that Emma was going to get to do this thing she really wanted to do. I could still have a good summer, even with Camp Chrysalis.

The feeling of okay popped like a soap bubble as we walked into the rec center.

Mom put her hand on my shoulder, squeezing a little. “It’ll be fine,” she said, and I nodded, my mouth dry.

Leaning down, Mom looked into my face, her brows drawn together, and I saw it again, that same look she’d been giving me since the Lipstick Incident—like the truth of it was there if only she could see it. Mom knew me, after all. And she knew Em. And I think she knew who’d really taken that lipstick, but since I wasn’t cracking, there was nothing she could do about it. 
Finally, she sighed and straightened up. “Okay, let’s get you signed in.”

The camp was meeting in the g ym, and we walked down a car peted hallway in that direction, stopping at the big double doors and glancing inside. Three k ids were already there— Garrett McNamara, a blond boy a year ahead of me who I’d seen at school; a smaller k id named Wesley, who was in my grade; and then, coming through the doors on the other side of the gym, a very familiar face, and one I really, really didn’t want to see.

Ruby Kaye. 

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