Wednesday, December 21, 2016

HOTEL RUBY BY SUZANNE YOUNG - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young.


Going into this book, I didn't really know what to expect.

From the synopsis, the storyline is vague. A family stops at this hotel and gets drawn in. It seems like a bit of a roach motel situation where once you're in, you never leave. There's also allusions to family issues that may or may not be touched on. Overall, I didn't know what the story I was about to read was going to be about.

Without too many spoilers, I'll try and give a general synopsis. Audrey and her family; consisting for the last three months of her older brother, Daniel, and her father. They are driving to her grandmother's house, where the kids will spend the summer. Audrey's mother died three months ago from a stroke, and her father hasn't been able to cope. Along the way, their father decides to stop at a hotel to rest before setting out again in the morning. They stop at Hotel Ruby, a grandiose hotel with seemingly every amenity they would need. Audrey meets a boy named Elias who lives in the hotel and soon the family gets swept up in the experience. Their father is coming back to life after three long months, and Daniel is off Audrey's back. But some things are exactly what they seem, and Audrey can't wait to get away from the creepy concierge and leave.

I think I will just leave it at that, really anything else could become a spoiler.

I did go into this book knowing that there was a big twist. I don't think that took away from the story itself, but I found myself wondering if this twist was the big one. I think because I was expecting something out of the ordinary, I saw the clues leading up to the twist easier, but even though I kind of figured it out, I only figured out half of it. Young, I think, accepted the fact that most people would figure out the main element of the story fairly early on, but she kept the big reveal until the very end.

In terms of characters, I enjoyed Audrey's character. I think there was a lot going on in the story that there weren't many opportunities to flesh out the characters fully, but I still think she was a decent character, and I appreciated her decision in the end, even though it wasn't really what I expected of her. I think the characters were decent, but there were little things I didn't love about them. I felt like Daniel could have been a little more worked out, he was still a major character in the book, and I understand why Elias's character wasn't as well described, I felt like he was just kind of a cookie-cutter love interest.

I think this book is definitely trying to be more family-centred than romance-centred, but even still, I'm not sure the family dynamic was written well. I found the father to be very one-dimensional and I thought his relationships with his kids were so poor, it was like he wasn't around for the entirety of their lives.

I do think this book did the suspense and the mystery/thriller elements well. There were a lot of twists, some small and some larger, and I found them well done. I think Young focused more of her energy on these elements than the relationships and it shows. The plot of the mystery was very well done, I think there were a lot of intricate details that were paid attention to. This is what redeemed the book for me. I didn't go in looking for a romance, or a story about family and loss, I went in knowing that this book wasn't what it seemed and I was happy with the results I got.

There were a lot of creepy, not really scary but "look over your shoulder" moments. I think this would be a great October or Halloween read for that reason.

I do want to briefly address some of the more negative reviews this book is getting. I do think that it's not going to be for everyone. There are some parts I didn't love, and I'm sure other's didn't love them either. I will admit that I have read Young's previous books and loved them, so I might be a little biased. Just don't be discouraged by the other reviews. If you try it and hate it, fine. But give it a shot, you might find you enjoy it.

Overall good, but probably not for everyone.

**SIDE NOTE** Check out the song "Hotel California" by Eagles after you read this book, the similarities are eerie.