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Between Wild and Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson



Between Wild and Ruin 
by Jennifer G. Edelson 
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance 


Truth, like love, isn't always obvious. 

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house, and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories. 

Set against a Northern New Mexico backdrop, Between Wild and Ruin is a young adult coming of age story that captures the wild and whimsical pulse of New Mexico through the eyes of teens Ruby Brooks, Angel Ruiz, and Ezra Lucero. The first book in the Wild and Ruin series, Between Wild and Ruin explores the time-tested credo ‘never judge a book by its cover’ through a paranormal lens, weaving Puebloan and Hispanic folklore and Southwest cultural narratives into tightly written, high-concept fiction ‘brimming with mystery, intrigue,’ and as Kirkus Reviews puts it, an “intriguing historical drama and an over-the top quadrangle romance.” 



Book Excerpts:


After walking through dense stands of pine trees, I follow the remnants of what may have been a trail toward the top of the mountain. Higher up, the pines and junipers dappling the mountainside grow taller, but there aren’t as many. As they thin, small gusts of wind whistle through the forest, echoing through the trees. Otherwise, the forest is completely silent.
Closer to the top of the mountain, the rocky ground levels off and the land spreads across a plateau below the mountain’s peak. Unlike the forest, the plateau is more like a jungle, marked by thick hanging moss and clusters of tall, unidentifiable conifers. Trees stand like sentries several rows deep. Beyond them, fallen logs lie scattered among overgrown shrubs and boulders in circular bands like rings on a tree. I walk through it all, making my way past thick brush into a clearing.
Fresh sap and damp earth assault my nose. Under bright sunlight, large, rough-cut slabs of glittery rock blanket the otherwise bare field. Some lie stacked on top of each other like the crumbling remains of a building. Awestruck, I circle the structure, running my fingers over what looks like a ruin.
“Incredible, isn’t it?”
A voice behind me sends my heart racing toward my throat. I jump, whipping around to find a young man leaning casually against a pine near the clearing’s perimeter, looking off to his left as though listening for something.
Even in the shade, his face glows. He smiles, showing off teeth that gleam like snowflakes between perfect lips. Hair as dark as Liddy’s French roast coffee falls around his face in unruly waves. His features are angular but refined, and his high, rounded cheeks soften the striking juxtaposition.
I blink, then blink again. Ruby. I rub my eyes. You’re hallucinating. But he’s still there, staring at me.
While I gawk, he pushes himself off the tree. “Not many people make it up here.” He smiles broadly.
A soft, purple-hued halo circles his golden irises, catching fire in the sunlight. They settle on me, and my heart stops, completely paralyzed by his faultless storybook features.
I exhale, trying to swallow inconspicuously. “It’s definitely a hike.”
“Who are you?”
“Who am I?” I sputter. “Who are you?”
“Leo.” He grins.
“I’m Ruby.”
“Ruby.” My name rolls off his tongue with a smooth “R” and a musical lilt. Somehow, he even manages to make it sound appealing. “First time up?”
“Yes. We just moved to La Luna.”
“La Luna,” he repeats. “Welcome.”
“Thanks,” I mumble. Earth to Ruby, I mentally smack myself. Since when has any boy made you senseless?
“You okay?” He smiles like he knows I’m not. Like he knows why I’m not. “Do you want to sit down? The altitude can be a bitch if you’re not used to it.”
“No. I mean, yes, I’m fine. No, I don’t want to sit down. You just really startled me. You should announce yourself next time.”
“Next time?”
“Next time you sneak up on somebody.”
Leo raises a perfect dark eyebrow. “But then it wouldn’t be sneaking, would it?”
My cheeks flush, and I suddenly want to drop through a hole in the ground. I choke out, “Ummm,” and something incoherent and then stare at my toes like they hold the keys to my future.


Bonus Excerpt:

My head hums as I stand up, brushing pine needles and dirt from my jeans. Scratching at my ears, I toss my stumpy charcoals into my backpack, wishing Mother Nature had it in her to grant me just one more hour to sketch the ruin. Pre-twilight transforms the plateau into a fairyland. I want to draw the ruin in shadows, but I’m afraid of looking more like mountain lion meat than Ruby Brooks once twilight sets in.
Sunset turns the mountainside golden, igniting the dried flora covering the forest floor. As I lean over to collect an escapee drawing, a patch of crimson pine needles catches my attention. The needles spread out in a piecemeal path that leads me toward a maroon mess near the center of the ruin, to the rock Leo claimed was once an altar. Against the drab ground, the patch looks like dried blood. I pick up a pine needle, scratching at it, watching curiously as a crusty substance flakes off its root, like rust crumbling between my fingers.
A faint metallic scent fills the air, popping my imagination into overdrive. Turning in circles on the empty plateau, I suddenly feel exposed, and maybe a little afraid of being something’s dinner.
As I stare at the rock, the humming grows louder, vibrating between the ruin’s crumbling walls. I paw at my ears, then rub my eyes, waiting for my head to explode as my vision turns the forest into blurry chunks of light and outlines. Off to the side, between the trees, something moves. Startled, I whip around, squinting to see better.
In the shadows between two tall pines, I see my mother.
Already unnerved, I close my eyes, trying to forget Daisy’s haunted forest stories. My mother died ten months ago. It’s got to be the altitude. There’s no way she’s standing there like an ephemeral stump near the ruins. Still, my mind takes off running, moving from ghosts, to demons, to being sure I’m about to face down another mountain lion.
Shaky and suddenly mindful of Leo’s story about Ottomundo, not to mention just about every news report about mysterious animal attacks I’ve ever seen, I rush to my backpack. Quickly gathering all my art materials, I turn toward the sloping hillside, refusing to look back before running at breakneck speed down the mountain to the creek.



Jennifer G. Edelson is a writer, trained artist, former attorney, pizza lover, and hard-core Bollywood fan. She has a BFA in Sculpture and a J.D. in law and has taught both creative writing and legal research and writing at several fine institutions, including the University of Minnesota. Originally a California native, she currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, kids, and dog, Hubble after surviving twenty-plus years in the Minnesota tundra (but still considers Los Angeles, the Twin Cities, and Santa Fe all home). Other than writing, Jennifer loves hiking, traveling, Albert Camus, Dr. Seuss, dark chocolate, drinking copious amounts of coffee, exploring mysterious places, and meeting new people—if you’re human (or otherwise), odds are she’ll probably love you. 





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Comments

  1. I love how the cover was done. There is so much to see.

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  2. I love the cover. It's really beautiful.

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  3. I enjoyed the excerpt and would love to continue reading. The cover art is very effective in capturing the atmosphere of the setting. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to the author.

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  4. Sounds interesting! Really cool cover

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  5. I like the shadow effects... it makes it more mysterious and interesting. There are so many elements included leaving the reader to make lots of predictions of what will happen.

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  6. I really like the unusual concept. Something different to sink my teeth into. Great cover as well!

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  7. This sounds like a great young adult read.

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