Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes, by Lauren Child
Ruby Redfort is far from a normal teenager. A gifted code breaker, she was offered a place at Harvard before she was even finished with Middle School. Not that she wanted to go or anything. She's way too clever for education. Content to observe and record the mundane with her friend Clancy, Ruby spends her days drinking banana milk, writing her observations in her hundreds of notebooks and watching cop shows with the housekeeper...Until one day the housekeeper, and the entire contents of the house are stolen. Everything except the phone. Following the theft of the century, Ruby is coincidentally recruited by a mysterious voice on the phone that gives her a code hidden in what appears to be a normal conversation- who's calling and why? What do they want with her? Maybe a few new sleuth skills wouldn't be the worst thing ever...
Sassy, sarcastic and with the best dress sense ever, Ruby manages to talk like a real teenager, act like a real teenager, and also be aware of how clever she is and not even come close to annoying. Something that a many fictional teens with swagger do not manage to pull off. She oozes bravado, but she's loyal and has a solid moral code, so she really does come off well throughout the book- it's easy to root for her and she is genuinely entertaining. I thought the dynamic between her and her best friend Clancy was skilfully done, their origami communications was such a cool idea and I really got the impression that they were best friends through thick and thin. Clancy’s definitely more of a Doctor Watson though, always a couple of steps behind his Sherlock but brave, loyal and a sixth sense for knowing when and how to save the day.
The plot is excellent and moves swiftly, twisting itself together until every seemingly seperate event is tied together. There are abductions, perilous escapes, low-speed chases, mysterious strangers, valuable treasures and vintage gadgets and some truly funny characters. I loved Ruby's parents- well meaning, but so, so dense. Bless them and their organic tomato diets. I forgot I was reading this as a grown-up and completely got swept up in the action. A really fun read that I think most kids will take something away from.