Ruby got its first professional review... and it's a starred one from Kirkus!
* "Thoughtful, intense Zeeta and her free-spirited mother return in this follow-up to The Indigo Notebook (2009). Perennial travelers, the two have now settled in the atmospheric city of Aix-en-Provence. Zeeta eagerly anticipates the arrival of her boyfriend Wendell from Colorado, but when he changes the terms of his visit, Zeeta is hurt and confused. Their relationship is further strained by her involuntary attraction to Jean-Claude, a member of a street dance troupe. At the same time, Zeeta begins to discover strange notes and items left in her bag. Weaving bits of magic, city lore and bittersweet romance into each of the many plot lines, Resau has again crafted a complex and satisfying novel that is both a mystery and a tender, wise meditation on love and self-identity. Characters are rich and vibrant, each of them bringing their own past to bear on the story at hand. Readers will want to read the first before starting this one and will likely be clamoring for the third, the groundwork for which is nicely set up here." (Fiction. 12 & up)
Thank you, Kirkus! I have to give you background, though, to my state of mind when I read this review for the first time. I'd been attempting to exist more in the moment, to find joy in simple, immediate sensory pleasures (Lil Dude's laugh, light through leaves, the river, sun-warmed fresh-picked cherries)... instead of fretting about the future or past or things out of my control.
And as far as reviews specifically, I'd been telling myself not to pay too much attention to them, because ultimately, they're out of my control. All I can do is write the best book I can at the time, and then launch it into the world and wish it well. I shouldn't let any review-- good or bad-- affect my mood too much. If you put too much stock in good reviews, then, when a bad (or even mediocre) one comes along, it can be crushing.
Anyway, back to the point. So, that was my philosophical state at the time. I wasn't expecting Ruby reviews yet (this happened at the end of July, and Ruby comes out in mid-September). I remember opening my email account and telling myself, okay, Laura. You won't let any of this affect your mood. I was thinking my inbox would be full of responsibilities I'd need to attend to... and then I open it and see an email from my editor with the subject heading STARRED REVIEW!
And I just started laughing. I didn't let myself open it right away. I reminded myself that good news comes and goes, just as bad news does, and the things that give me true joy are my family and friends and nature and traveling and creative writing. Then I opened the email and read the review... and despite myself, I smiled. I felt happy. Jubilant! I might have even danced a little jig.
Ah well, I tried....
A few other newsworthy items:
I broke down and got professional author photos taken for the first time ever! Well worth it, I think-- Tina Wood (whose studio is just a few blocks away) did a great job disguising my wrinkles and zits. The photos have special meaning to me because they're taken at one of my favorite places-- Lee Martinez Park, which I walk through daily. I got to scramble around on some river rocks for this one...
Another bit o news: I got the hardcovers of The Ruby Notebook in the mail the other day. They're beautiful and shiny, and THICK! It's the longest book of mine out there so far at 373 pages (The Queen of Water is a bit longer). As you'll glean from the acknowledgments, Ruby was a doozy to write! During one angst-filled revision, my mom came to the rescue and helped me see the big picture and showed me what to prune and expand to make the 373-page story come together. (Her advice for The Jade Notebook? "Keep it short, Laura!" Hehehe... I'm trying, but all these intriguing little subplots keep creeping in...)
So, Ian just updated my website with this full summary of Ruby. I realized I'd only put the short blurb up before. Here's the whole thing, in case you're curious:
Sixteen-year-old Zeeta and her flighty English-teaching mom, Layla, have traveled the world together, settling in a different country every year, making a whole new set of friends and adopting new customs. This year, they've chosen to live in Aix-en-Provence, France, an enchanting city full of fountains, creamy yellow light, and a fascinating group of scarlet-clad street performers.
Zeeta soon begins to receive mysterious notes and gifts from someone she calls her fantôme, or ghost. But she is expecting her boyfriend, Wendell - the love of her life, as her friends call him - to arrive in Aix for a summer program very soon. Zeeta brushes off her curiosity about her fantôme, and her simmering attraction to one of the street performers, Jean-Claude, until Wendell arrives and she begins to fear that her feelings for him have truly changed. Perhaps - like Layla - she's simply not made for long-term romance.
As Zeeta tries to draw away from Wendell, however, circumstances seem to force them together. Zeeta's friendship with a local antiques dealer and his reclusive artist friend leads to a dangerous adventure. When Zeeta and Wendell join forces to find a secret underground spring whose water is rumored to bring immortality, they are forced to reconsider their own desires, and their beliefs about true love. Yet as soon as Zeeta decides that her mind has cleared, she's confronted with the biggest shock of her life: the incredible true identity of her fantôme.
Vibrant, warmhearted, and evocative, The Ruby Notebook is a remarkable novel about learning to accept love in all of its wondrous and imperfect forms.
Thanks for reading! Fort Collins friends-- be sure to check the events section of my website for my upcoming release party on Oct 2 and a fun library presentation on Oct 9!