Ruby and Olivia
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.

Ruby and Olivia Details

TitleRuby and Olivia
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780399169618
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Horror

Ruby and Olivia Review

  • Bookish Delights
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading Ruby & Olivia! It was a fun, cute, and delightful middle grade read with a spooky edge, and an interesting mystery that Ruby & Olivia have to try to solve at Live Oak House. Live Oak House is rumored to be a haunted mansion and that's exactly where Ruby and Olivia end up doing community service during the summer after each of them gets into trouble - only Olivia is completely innocent, taking the blame for something her twin sister Emma does, just so Emma can go to a fu I enjoyed reading Ruby & Olivia! It was a fun, cute, and delightful middle grade read with a spooky edge, and an interesting mystery that Ruby & Olivia have to try to solve at Live Oak House. Live Oak House is rumored to be a haunted mansion and that's exactly where Ruby and Olivia end up doing community service during the summer after each of them gets into trouble - only Olivia is completely innocent, taking the blame for something her twin sister Emma does, just so Emma can go to a fun summer camp. Talk about loyalty!! Ruby & Olivia aren't considered friends in the beginning of the book, as Olivia and Emma had a falling out with Ruby previously. So there is immediate tension between the girls as they start Camp Chrysalis to catalog creepy items at Live Oak House. These girls have to learn to work together and develop a comradery despite their differences. Mysterious and spooky things start to go on in the house and this becomes the glue that binds these girls into an otherwise unlikely friendship in order to solve the mystery of Live Oak House.I liked how Ruby & Olivia eventually bonded at Camp Chrysalis and how their relationship strengthened authentically towards the end. Each of them also had to resolve issues in their own lives and learn how to deal with people in a way that was authentic to who they really were. But growth was definitely observed in each of their personalities. Spunky, brave, and outspoken Ruby softens a bit and learns to have some boundaries, while Olivia learns to speak up about how she truly feels about things. Each of these girls take something important away from Camp Chrysalis. So that was a good thing. And an added bonus is that they had more fun at Camp Chrysalis than they thought they would have! Who knew doing community service could turn into fun?!It was so much fun reading about Ruby & Olivia's investigative activities, thoughts, and paranormal sleuthing when it came to the strange activity going on at Live Oak House. I really wanted them to figure out what was behind it all. At some points, you can't help but laugh at their antics, in an enjoyable way. And the length these girls go to is incredibly honorable, even at the scariest of times at Live Oak House! Definitely impressive for young girls! It was also refreshing that the story is told in alternating points of view by Ruby & Olivia, so you really get an in-depth look at what each of the girls are thinking and feeling.Olivia's twin Emma isn't a central role in this story, only mentioned sporadically, so I wish Emma was integrated more into the story. I felt that, being a twin myself, Olivia would have wanted to talk to Emma more while she was away and she would have wanted to tell her all about the creepiness of Live Oak House and maybe ask for her help on what to do. But the author does a good job of explaining away why this doesn't happen more often, even when some attempts to make contact are made but are not followed though. But I truly believe Emma being away at camp to create an intentional distance between the twins was an essential part of the plot. It was necessary in order for Olivia to become independent from her sister, develop her own identity, and grow as a person. I also liked how loyal Olivia was to Emma, but I wish the opposite was true as well. Too bad the loyalty had to be under these circumstances of being "punished" during the summer. Hawkins did a good job of describing the dynamics of twin relationships, and how they feel. I could definitely relate, especially when I was Olivia and Emma's age.I liked the integration of the history of Live Oak House into the story. I love learning about history, especially if it pertains to a house that is considered haunted! Rachel Hawkins made this history lesson fun and interesting for kids, so they will want to be immersed in it! Also, the initial owner of the house, Felix Wrexhall, and his son Mr. Matthews were well known in the town due to happenings at Live Oak House, so this added to the drama for the kids in terms of the spook factor.The ending felt a bit rushed and not as thoroughly developed as I would have liked. I wasn't completely satisfied with how the mechanics of the ending happened or the explanation of things and I was left with some questions at the end. But I did like the final outcome of the story. And I liked the overall message of the story. Ruby & Olivia was full of self-discovery, sisterhood, friendship, second chances, and the importance of learning from your mistakes. We can all learn something from Ruby and Olivia. It was a highly entertaining read, and I am sure not only middle grade kids and young adults will devour this book, but so will adults who are kids at heart! I enthusiastically recommend reading this book!
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineRuby has to attend Camp Chrysalis because she got in trouble for spreading glitter around her school. Olivia has to go because she took the fall for her identical twin, Emma, who stole a lipstick and got caught. To make things even worse, Emma gets to go to a summer gap she's been eager to attend, Olivia and Ruby have always vaguely irritated each other, and the camp members have to wear bright pink shirts that identify them all over their small town of Che E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineRuby has to attend Camp Chrysalis because she got in trouble for spreading glitter around her school. Olivia has to go because she took the fall for her identical twin, Emma, who stole a lipstick and got caught. To make things even worse, Emma gets to go to a summer gap she's been eager to attend, Olivia and Ruby have always vaguely irritated each other, and the camp members have to wear bright pink shirts that identify them all over their small town of Chester's Gap as "bad kids". Olivia is very quiet and just wants to make it through the summer, but Ruby has nothing to lose-- since Emma stopped talking to her and her grandmother passed away, she has no friends and acts flamboyantly all the time. When the campers have to go to clean and catalog Live Oak House, a rundown house that has been donated to the city, Ruby and Olivia seem to be the only ones who hear the creepy music box or are concerned that the place is haunted. They do their research, investigate the house, and with a cryptic note left in Ruby's grandmother's belongings, figure out the century old mystery of why the house is haunted. Strengths: The strongest part of this was the relationships. Middle grade is full of drama, and this encapsulated sister drama, friend drama, and a tiny bit of boy drama very nicely. Ruby was a fun character, while Olivia is more like most middle school students. The ghost story was fairly decent as well. Weaknesses: The pacing on this was problematic for me. I wasn't sure that it was a ghost story for the first hundred pages, the next hundred pages the girls slowly unraveled the mystery, and it wasn't until the last fifty pages that all of the scary ghost things happened. What I really think: Do I put creepy dolls in strengths or weaknesses? Just depends where you stand. Creepy dolls don't do as well in my library as I think they should, but this author's books usually do well. Love the cover, but Secrets of Goldenrod, which is somewhat similar, hasn't checked out much. Putting on that end of year, if I have money list.
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  • Olivia Williford (LivTheBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    My Rating: 3 starsFull Review Here: http://livthebooknerd.blogspot.com/20...~~~~~~Hey, guys!This adorable spooky middle-grade book was sent to me for an honest review from Penguin Random House. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Ruby and Olivia follows two young girls who are sent to a community service camp after getting into trouble. The kids are sent to a spooky house to inventory and count the items in preparation for renovation. Two of the girls, Ruby and Olivia, become unlikely friends My Rating: 3 starsFull Review Here: http://livthebooknerd.blogspot.com/20...~~~~~~Hey, guys!This adorable spooky middle-grade book was sent to me for an honest review from Penguin Random House. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Ruby and Olivia follows two young girls who are sent to a community service camp after getting into trouble. The kids are sent to a spooky house to inventory and count the items in preparation for renovation. Two of the girls, Ruby and Olivia, become unlikely friends as supernatural and spooky things begin to happen to the campers. They begin to investigate the house in order to figure out what's happening; and when they begin to find clues to the answer, who knows what will happen. I was so excited to receive this book for review. I'm such a sucker for twin books and the fact that it had a spooky element to it really reeled me in. I really enjoyed those aspects, as well, however, I do not think they were incorporated as well as they could have been. I feel like the characters could have been a bit more dynamic and their relationships could have been more realistic. The relationships in this book felt like plot devices rather than something that should have been a concrete part of the book. The plot could have been more fleshed out as well. I think that Rachel Hawkins has a really sweet base to an even spookier story. However, this is an adorable middle-grade novel. I really did enjoy the characters and I really enjoyed the premise of the plot. I really enjoyed the spooky bits of this book, but I really didn't think that they were fleshed out enough to actually be spooky. There just wasn't enough happening for it to be legitimately spooky. Granted, it's a middle-grade book, but I know plenty of kids in the age group that would like to get scared pantsless. I really didn't think that the sister relationship between Emma and Olivia was resolved either. I just felt like it was resolved too quickly and too efficiently. There wasn't nearly enough said to resolve their issues. I also don't like how the drama between Olivia and Ruby was resolved. It was too convenient and too quick. I just felt like the characters were two dimensional and static. I wish there had been more development. I really loved how Ruby and Olivia's friendship developed. I think that their friendship is really interesting and as they grow closer, they'll become really good for each other. I love how Ruby helped Olivia grow as a sister and I love how Olivia helped Ruby communicate and express herself. This book perfectly showed what it's like to be in the awkward middle school age. These girls were super cute. I'd love to read more about them. For what this book is and for the age group that it is marketed for, I think this is a cute book. I think that it is thoroughly entertaining. I would have loved to read this ten years ago. This would have been one of my favorite books, I'm sure. As a twenty-year-old, it just wasn't all for me. My sister, Bailey, will love this book, though. I can't wait to show her it. She loves Liesel and Po by Lauren Oliver and this gives me some spooky vibes, so she will definitely love this one.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    Actually a strong 3.5 stars.A big thank you to Penguin Publishing and Edelweiss for an ARC of this middle grade book.October was definitely an appropriate time to read this seriously spooky and spunky book about two girls who take it upon themselves to deal with a haunted house. Ruby and Olivia are sentenced to summer community service at Camp Chrysalis for minor misdemeanors (involving glitter for Ruby and a stolen lipstick for Olivia). The camp project is begin restoring the historic landmark Actually a strong 3.5 stars.A big thank you to Penguin Publishing and Edelweiss for an ARC of this middle grade book.October was definitely an appropriate time to read this seriously spooky and spunky book about two girls who take it upon themselves to deal with a haunted house. Ruby and Olivia are sentenced to summer community service at Camp Chrysalis for minor misdemeanors (involving glitter for Ruby and a stolen lipstick for Olivia). The camp project is begin restoring the historic landmark of their town, the Live Oak House -- named for a live oak tree growing in the middle of the house. As they both share experiences in the house and discover it is haunted, Ruby and Olivia become allies and their blossoming friendship is impacted by Olivia and her twin, Emma, who got to go away to real summer camp, but used to be Ruby's BFF. What I like about this book were the insights into being a twin and how that affects your formation of friendships. The mystery in the house was very creepy and did turn out to have supernatural causes, so not for very young impressionable kids who might have nightmares.
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  • Sami
    January 1, 1970
    Another fiercely funny and spectacularly spooky middle grade mystery from Rachel Hawkins. Community service camp isn't enticing for shy Olivia or brash Ruby, but after encountering a mysterious music box at the old mansion they're cleaning, Ruby and Olivia will find out that Live Oak has more in store for them than they could have imagined. From enemies to reluctant partners, Ruby and Olivia unite in their investigation, and learn about friendship, responsibility, and self worth along the way.
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    This was trying to be too many things-- a story about twin sisters wanting their own identities, friendship, a ghost story. It was a little of everything and had a bit of an identity crisis but it wasn't detrimental to the story, just a bit confusing as you were wondering what was really happening. In a second look to the cover, I like the illustration of it all and the foreshadowing about what Olivia and Ruby would do to the house helped set up the story in a more linear fashion. Lighthearted w This was trying to be too many things-- a story about twin sisters wanting their own identities, friendship, a ghost story. It was a little of everything and had a bit of an identity crisis but it wasn't detrimental to the story, just a bit confusing as you were wondering what was really happening. In a second look to the cover, I like the illustration of it all and the foreshadowing about what Olivia and Ruby would do to the house helped set up the story in a more linear fashion. Lighthearted with a creepy factor middle grade.
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  • Lalisa Kookie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!I was at the bookstore when I saw this and thought it looked interesting (Also, because I loved Rebel Belle!). I finished this in 3 hours, all in one sitting. Whew! Well, today was productive! HahaOverall, this was a fun and quick read! :)
  • Tracie
    January 1, 1970
    Two girls, assigned to a community service summer camp, become friends as they work together to clean up an old, creepy mansion.
  • Sallyavena
    January 1, 1970
    Delightfully spooky tale about finding out who you really are and what it takes to be a friend.
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this spooky friendship story, but I really wish there had been more about the haunting. It was SO interesting! I'd also love to read more spooky Ruby and Olivia adventures.
  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    WHOA! So this was way creepier than I was expecting! but ooh my gosh, the sparkling banter and Ruby's exuberance really balanced it out, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is scary in the same vein as Coraline or The Nest -- where it creeped me out even as an adult (and I don't know if I'd've been able to handle it as the scaredy-cat kid I was) -- but with a lot of lightheartedness to bring the mood back up. Their chat-log banter in particular reminded me of The Bloggess and I LOVED IT. Also, the WHOA! So this was way creepier than I was expecting! but ooh my gosh, the sparkling banter and Ruby's exuberance really balanced it out, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is scary in the same vein as Coraline or The Nest -- where it creeped me out even as an adult (and I don't know if I'd've been able to handle it as the scaredy-cat kid I was) -- but with a lot of lightheartedness to bring the mood back up. Their chat-log banter in particular reminded me of The Bloggess and I LOVED IT. Also, the description of raccoons as "something made of blubber and tiny hands" effing cracked me up. Great read! So much fun!
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