Genre: Horror, Mystery, YA
Publication date: November 3rd 2015
by Simon Pulse
Stay Tonight. Stay Forever.
When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.
Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.
The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…
Welcome to the Ruby.
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here
Let me tell you something about my childhood. Back when I was a kid, I would fly to the Sultanate of Oman (a very peaceful Middle Eastern country) to spend time with my father. He worked there as the head Quality Surveyor of a pretty kick-ass construction company, and the times I spent there were one of the very few times I could be with him (the rest of the year would be spent in the Philippines, away from his loving arms). Every time we were in the car, he would put on some of those oldie bands on full blast – Eagles, Carpenters, Bread, Aerosmith – the works, basically (this is pretty much why I know all of their songs by heart until now!). There was always this one song that stood out to me – Hotel California by the Eagles. Even though I was still 5 years old at that time, I already knew it was made of creepy. The lyrics, the way it was sung, the melody – everything about them exuded, “Yo, here’s a hotel in the middle of nowhere that would lure you into its nest and never allow you to leave – EVEEER!”
That’s why Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young called out to me. The moment I saw its cover, the moment I read its premise, I immediately knew it was Hotel California in YA book form. I was so looking forward to the creepy atmosphere that would no doubt be the foundation of the book! I expected to read about weird, evasive staff that would keep manipulating our heroes and heroines from leaving their clutches!
Unfortunately, however… before I could read 25%, I decided to throw this book to my mental trash bin, never to be opened, entertained, or considered, ever again.
Guys. Guuuuuys. This book was such an epic disappointment.
Why? Because of our heroine’s awful priorities and her awful, sudden romance with “sexy, suspicious stranger” that made me want to hurl the book to a fire, that’s fucking why.
I wanted to like Audrey. I wanted to like her and her brother, Daniel. Their mother just died and according to her, all of them were affected by this, to the point that their dad was dropping them off at their grandmother’s because looking at his two young ones made him feel too sad(because, obviously, if your children remind you too much of your dead wife, you need to pass on your parental responsibilities to your older parents T_T). At first, I saw the potential in the heroine’s voice – there were times that it felt raw and intimate, and when she did talk about the hotel, you could feel the strangeness and offness of the place. The way the staff would be evasive and weird with their answers, the way they would stare at you if you stare at them a minute too long, the way they would drop hints like, “Stay a night, stay forever”. Trust me, the first few pages of their staying at the hotel had enough creepiness to make you shiver from head to toe.
Except that the heroine had to fall in love with the stranger… in the most infuriating way possible.
Many, many times throughout pages I’ve read, the heroine tells us that she feels sad her family is affected by her mother’s death, that she’s grieving and mourning for the emptiness that she left behind. I could totally relate to that, except for the fact that she would oftentimes blush and feel butterflies in her stomach when she is with this hot, sexy stranger she met at the hotel who seemingly lives there (does she not find that strange?). It was so irritating to watch her go, “Oh, woe is me! I lost my mother and my dad is leaving us off to grandma!” and then the next minute, she would be saying things like, “I want him.” to this guy she just fucking met.
WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?! PRIORITIES, EVER HEARD OF THAT!? AND I THOUGHT YOU WERE GRIEVING?!
It’s just hard for me to take shit like that seriously. All the creepiness? Gone. All the intimacy I felt with her? Gone. All the mystery and suspense I felt? Gone. All because of this stupid romance that didn’t feel realistic at all. It ended up being a flat book for me and by 20% I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to put it down. It was giving me too much of a headache.
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast
Take a look at that lyric over there. Isn’t it nice and creepy? That’s what I was looking forward to in this book, but I don’t think I’ll ever know now considering how the stupid romance put me off. Thanks, but no thanks! :/