Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Rebel Spirits

REBEL SPIRITS
Lois Ruby
Paranormal Young Adult
304 pages
Scholastic Point
Available now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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....


MY THOUGHTS
Rebel Spirits has an appealing premise, promising us an impossible romance between a young woman and the ghost of a Civil War soldier as well as the uncovering of a mystery surrounding his death all those years ago. Set in beautifully atmospheric Gettysburg, the opening chapters of this story have us fairly thrumming with anticipation, eager to experience a party of history page by page. Unfortunately, what unfolds is a tale that fails to set itself apart from a myriad of young adult romantic suspense stories, giving us a heroine who reads younger than her nearly seventeen years and a soldier who is every bit as untouchable to us as readers as he is to those around him when in spirit form.

In the opening chapters Lori appears to be a cute girl who's less-than enthused about having to move away from her home in the pursuit of her parents' dream to own a bed and breakfast, but she's not whiny or sulky and she immediately has us feeling at ease in her presence. Problems start to arise when Nathaniel enters the picture (though she does handle the fact that he's a ghost quite well), becoming suddenly very judgmental and quick to believe whatever newest piece of information about his past is revealed. She fully supports him and revels in her rapidly escalating love for him one minute before suddenly questioning what type of person he was when he died the next, her emotional turmoil churning at a pace we can hardly keep up with before finally settling on a supposed deep and abiding love.

The highlight of the story is secondary character Evan, a young man doing whatever manual labor the B&B needs to keep it up and running, his quick wit and easy charm making Nathaniel's quiet and more reserved nature almost bland in comparison. Granted, a great number of their differences can be attributed to the time period in which they both grew up, but Evan is vibrant, charismatic and the first part the story that feels tangible, making our detachment from Lori's obvious feelings for Nathaniel all the more apparent. He's sweet to her even when she's quick to dismiss him in favor of Nathaniel and the responsibility she feels she owes the soldier to solve his murder, and our frustration with her only continues to grow as Evan tries harder and harder to win a little of her affection.

Overall Rebel Hearts, while a quick and easy read, doesn't quite captivate or enthrall, it simply relates the tale line by line and page by page, the difference between it and some other standouts in the genre like that of a speech delivered in monotone versus one full of inflection and passion.

Rating 2.5-3/5


Find Lois:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

34 comments:

  1. I like the premises and the setting on this one, despite not standing out in the crowd it looks like an easy read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was an easy read for sure. Parts were frustrating at times, but no huge drama and there wasn't a ton of angst despite the romance element.

      Delete
  2. Hm so no, this is not for me.
    But.. I'm already turned off by the ghost aspect. For some reason Ghosts are one of my least favorite paranormal elements. There is just nothing hot and sexy about them - like compared to Vampires or even Werewolves...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Danny, not for you:) I've read a few books where the ghost element has worked well, this unfortunately wasn't one of them.

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you, Jenny, but I completely understand why from your review. Like Danny, I've never been a fan of ghost-human romance. It's just kind of odd you know and is a huge turn off for me. Even if I was a fan of ghost stories, I don't think I would have enjoyed this book, especially since it's monotonous.
    Great honest review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only read maybe one or two where the ghost-human romance has worked for me, but I always keep reading books like this in the hope I'll find more! I'm a glutton for punishment sometimes:)

      Delete
  4. I do like the premise of this book, but I don't really think it would be my sort of read either, with the amount of books I read I normally need something which will keep me captivated, I know I've become really fussy as of late. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you Jenny, but thanks again for another wonderful review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fussy is a good word Jasprit, I've definitely been the same way. I was in a funk before BEA and it's still lingering a bit. I need to just dive into the BEA stack and find something AWESOME, forget about the blog schedule I always adhere to:)

      Delete
  5. I've never heard of this one before. The cover had me thinking that it was an adult romance. It doesn't look YA to me at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is:) Lori reads fairly young, something I've noticed with Scholastic books as a whole of late, or maybe they've always read young and it's just not starting to be a small issue for me? I'm not sure:)

      Delete
  6. When I got this in the mail, I wondered if it would live up to the premise, because I like the idea of a Civil War ghost story. Sad that the depth and richness of an enthralling story is missing but it still sounds like an interesting tale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did like the history element and the mystery, the romance just didn't quite work as well as I'd hoped. Evan was the clear choice for me even though he's not in it much until the second half, I just never felt anything for Nathaniel.

      Delete
  7. I can't do ghost stories. I can't. There's always this big romance that can go nowhere unless the ghost is brought back to life (which is even less realistic than sparkling vampires to me) or the living character dies (which is totally ridiculous and setting a bad example for younger readers).

    I guess option C is both characters move on knowing they are stronger for having known each other for a brief moment in time - which is BS. I don't read so I can feel depressed at the end (OK, sometimes my inner masochist needs that, but not often!). I want my happily ever after.

    Clearly I have issues with ghosts, Jenny. It makes me feel better knowing this book wasn't one I probably would have enjoyed anyway. I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Say what you really feel Hannah!!!!! I agree with you, a romance with a ghost typically has no good ending. I did read one which I'm reviewing next week where I liked how everything worked out, but again, it still had it's own ghost-human issues.

      Delete
  8. The emotional turmoil has really been getting to me in novels lately. I can't stand the constant back and forth emotions that seem to be in so many books these days. I don't think this would be a read for me, but I guess I am happy that you didn't loathe it... I mean 2.5 isn't terrible... though I guess it is. I hope your next read is better, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She just was so quick to change her mine Jenni! One minute he's hung the moon and then she finds out something small about his life and she's all "I don't know if I can love someone like that". Um. He's the same person you were gushing about .5 seconds ago, and maybe you should verify said information with him before you pass judgment:)

      Delete
  9. I don't think this would really be my cup of tea, to be honest. In a fast-paced and fairly slim book, the action has to be fluid and non-stop for me to get into the story. Plus, I have to actually become invested in the characters' plight, and if they can't make up their own minds, how can I?! But seriously, great review, Jenny...I love how balanced it is :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love ghost stories, especially with a romantic element to them, I am sad this one didn't stand out for you. It still has a great cover! :P
    Beautiful review as always!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I *love* historical books set in the US, but... this sounds like one that might be worth passing over. =/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yikes, I never see 2's from you....Ill prob pass this one. Great review Jenny.

    Tina~

    ReplyDelete
  13. I wasn't too excited about this one, and after reading your review, I feel totally justified now in skipping it. It sounds like I'd be team Evan too, and it would be frustrating to see Lori fall for Nathaniel. I do think the concept of a ghostly romance with a Civil War soldier sounds cool, but maybe someone else will write one that's more captivating. Thanks for your honest review!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I hadn't heard of this one before. I'm sorry it didn't really live up to the interesting summary. I think I'd be a bit too annoyed by the MC. At least it was "good" enough to finish. :)

    -Lauren

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hm... I thought, "maybe" until you said about the monotone dialog. Don't think this one would be for me. I'm not all about drama, but I do like passion. I do like the idea of the plot however. Oh well!

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are distracting me with your sidebar again...look at all those lovelies.. oh wait what was I commenting on oh yeah, book with Civil War ghost. I was tempted to read this because I love anything that pertains to Civil War but I refrained because I am not a fan of ghostly romances, sounds like I made the right choice.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hm, I've always wanted to try a romance with a ghost as a love interest, but I've never picked one up. I guess this one won't be an exception. I'm so sorry to hear that this one disappointed you, Jenny! Lori sounds pretty frustrating and there's nothing worse than an unattainable and ridiculously distant love interest! Thanks for the insightful review, Jenny! :) I hope your next read is better.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've never heard of this one before, but I know I'd never pick it up. Ghost romances are just not for me, though I do love the Civil War time period. It's a shame this wasn't as good as you hoped. But still, amazing review, Jenny! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. You know even though the big wasn't a huge win, I have to say I love the cover. It has a very throwback feel which is perfect for the period! I got the North/South type of feel. Now I feel the need for some Patrick Swayze (yes I have them all on DVD---don't judge LOL)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm always hesitant to pick up a ghost/human love story, because really, how's that supposed to end well? There's just no future. I guess the romance didn't even really have enough spark to capture your heart either. Plus, when a character seems even younger than her age it's annoying. Lovely review, Jenny. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have a copy of this one and I love books with ghosts but for some reason hadn't gotten really excited about this one. I'm curious just cause I love the idea of it all, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be real happy with the characters. I'm glad you reviewed this, now I won't stress about not getting it read this month.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hmm, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say you aren't gonna buy a copy of this one for your special shelf! I saw this one on NetGalley recently too. It appealed to me too. Glad I resisted the urge. Still, you are so kind in your reviews. I wouldn't be that adverse to reading it just because you write such a balanced review of it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I rarely see you give such low ratings! And it's really too bad, because I love this idea and I believe it could have been such a fabulous, original story. It's too bad it turned out to be just another YA romance.
    On the plus side, Evan sounds like a really great character and probably a much better fir for Lori than Nathaniel.
    *sigh* You really can't win them all. Great review, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm loving the historical feel of it. But if it moves slow for me, I might loose interest. Jenny, awesome review.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I haven't read any ghost/human romance because it just never ends well. Though I really like that the ghost is from the civil times, I don't think I would enjoy it any more that you did. Thanks for the lovely review, Jenny :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Boo, I liked the synopsis of this one so I was hoping you'd give it a favourable rating. Instead, it doesn't sound very memorable and the romance gives off an insta-love kind of vibe. Thanks for the review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete