Sep 6, 2013
Author: Tamara Blake
Publisher: Diversion Books
Format: electronic ARC
Source: From Publisher/Netgalley, For Review
Once upon a time, Ruby believed in magic…
When Ruby volunteers to take her mother’s housecleaning shift at the gothic Cottingley Heights mansion, she thinks it’s going to be business as usual. Clean out the fridge, scrub toilets, nothing too unusual. But nothing could prepare her for the decadent squalor she finds within. Rich people with more money than sense trashing their beautiful clothes and home just because they can. After the handsome Tam discovers her cleaning up after him and his rich friends, Ruby has never felt more like a character from her sister’s book of fairy tales.
Tam sees beyond Ruby’s job and ratty clothes, and sweeps her off her feet, treating her like a real princess, but Ruby is sure this beautiful boy is too good to be true. And as one tragedy after another befalls Ruby and her
family, Ruby painfully learns that magic is all too real, and it always comes with a price.
For a high school student, Ruby Benson has definitely lived the opposite of the good life. Already without a father, Ruby and her family live in a trailer park outside of New York City, spending each day struggling to get by and hoping to one day be accepted into NYU’s drama program after she graduates. Ruby has always tried to help her mother with every opportunity that she gets, and she definitely doesn’t shy away from the challenge of cleaning a mansion in Cottingley Heights for a couple of hours in place of her unexpectedly ill mother. It should have been easy. Clean for a couple hours, remain undetected, and collect the money that her family needs. Only it isn’t.
At Cottingley Heights she meets Tam, a beautiful and rich boy who, for reasons unknown, becomes interested in Ruby. His friends at the mansion are either high, drunk, or rude beyond belief. But Tam is different. Tam is normal. Tam is kind and understanding and non-judgmental in the ways that his companions are not. So when Ruby finds herself agreeing to a permanent cleaning job at the mansion, things should have changed for the better. A steady job, a solid income, a beautiful boy; things change, but not for the better. When Ruby and her family become victim to tragedy after tragedy, she finds the events connected with Tam. Suddenly that innocent boy is not so innocent after all… And Ruby must find it within herself to discover the truth that has been in front of her all along, and somehow save the rest of her family in the process.
This was a fantastic quick read that approached the topic of love and family, with paranormal aspects that are so very different from the typical YA novel. It is the story of a teenage girl who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect her family, a story of love and loyalty and sacrifice that warmed my heart until the very last page. Ruby is one of the stronger characters that I have seen in a YA novel in a very long time. I loved her. I loved how real she was and how loyal and protective she is of the people that are close to her heart. Her priorities held true despite of Tam, and I was so glad to see that. Blake portrayed Tam’s companions and world in a way that was horrifying and terrible, yet I was intrigued the whole time. I have always felt that many paranormal stories minimized the true nature of their characters for the sake of a romantic angle. But Blake doesn’t follow that, and I really enjoyed that.
In Slumber, Tamara Blake tells the story of a girl who finds herself in the need to save and protect her family from types of people who should not even exist, all because she volunteered to work a shift when her mother was to ill to attend herself. On her journey, she sees terrible things. Death. Abuse. Maltreatment. She even loses sight of herself for a while. But her loyalty and willingness to protect the ones that she loves shows, even up to the very last page.
Tamara Blake has shared a terrifying world, one in which humans are used for sex, jokes, and hunting. But in this world, she creates the simple story of a teenage girl who’s loyalty is tested and who’s life is changed forever. And in Ruby, I see a character that each reader could find their own way to relate to. I definitely recommend this Slumber to readers of young adult and paranormal books.