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Ruby Red Review

by Isela Canale
Ruby Red cover

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier is a fast-paced YA novel with amazing characters who can time travel, full of historic details you don’t want to miss out.

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…

Ruby Red Review

Ruby Red book cover

It has been seven years since I first read the Precious Stone Trilogy. But I was finishing All the Stars and Teeth and Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier was next to it in my bookcase. When I saw it, it made me so nostalgic that I just picked up the book and started reading it.

It’s really fast paced but still good! You have time travel, secret societies and conspiracy theories. I know how it ends, but if I was reading it for the first time I wouldn’t know who the bad guys were.

Ruby Red was first written in German and then translated to English. The main reason why I was pissed about this reread was the name change from Gwendolyn to Gwyneth. Keep in mind that I first read it in Spanish, where the name wasn’t changed. PS. The cover is prettier.

I don’t know why they made that decision, every other character kept their original name, it made no sense. Gwyneth is a beautiful name but I was used to Gwendolyn, which made it weird. Besides that small change, everything else was good.


Gwyneth is a normal high school girl with certain family members who carry a gene that permits them to travel through time. Or that’s what she thinks. 

Her cousin Charlotte was supposed to be the one who carried the gene but it turns out Gwyneth’s mother was hiding the fact that Gwyneth could also be a potential gene carrier. 

After finding herself traveling through time, Gwyneth gets involved with a secret society whose aim is to complete a centuries-long project. But Gwyneth doesn’t know who she can trust. Everyone has secrets and they aren’t open with her about questions she has.

Charlotte believed she was the gene carrier. She received dancing & fencing lessons, can ride sidesaddle and play the piano. When she learns her whole life was based on a lie, she takes it out on Gwyneth.

Gideon has been trained his whole life to be a time traveler just like Charlotte. When he learns Charlotte doesn’t have the gene but in fact her cousin, who doesn’t know anything about history and spends time giggling with her friends, he isn’t happy about the news. Gwyneth is someone who will definitely ruin the project he has been helping with the past three years.

“Anyway, there’s no need,” said Gideon. “I can do it all far better on my own.”

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


I’ve reread a couple of books that I first read when I was a teenager and this has been by far the best. 

Even though I think Gwyneth was a little bit childish you understand why she is like that. She’s sixteen, doesn’t have a clue of what’s happening anymore and she’s just so confused about time travel. If I was in her shoes, I’d be like that, no matter how old I was.

Characters in Ruby Red are so unique.

Grace, Gwyneth’s mother, has a big role in this book, and that’s so particular because in YA novels usually parents are MIA or don’t care about what happens to their children. 

“I still have a headache,” said Charlotte, without looking up from the floor.
“There, you see?” Aunt Glenda gave a venomous smile.
“I have a headache too,” said Mum. “But that doesn’t mean I’m about to start traveling in time.” 

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Leslie, Gwyneth’s best friend, has such a supportive role. 

At the beginning she doesn’t have any proof that Gwyneth’s family members are time travelers but she totally believes Gwyneth, including when Gwyneth can see and talk to ghosts while no one else can. Leslie believes her and actually tries to interact with the ghost that lives in their school even though she can’t see him.

Final Thoughts

Considering it took me around 5 hours to finish the book, Ruby Red is an entertaining and fast-paced novel. Please keep in mind that this book doesn’t have a conclusion. 

The whole trilogy is a story and it’s divided in three books. Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue don’t end in a cliffhanger or in a “we’ll see what happens with them in the next book”, it just ends abruptly. Sapphire Blue begins exactly where it left off. The review of the next installment is coming soon.

If you’re planning to read it, I recommend reading the trilogy in one swoop. 

Overall, if you like time travel, science fiction, fantasy and an enemies-to-lovers trope, Ruby Red is your next read.

Looking for more great books?

Check out my review of A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab.

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