Besides having watched the film adaptation of Lovely Bones, I haven't really been around much paranormal fiction (recently) focusing on a character who has just died or carries on as a ghost while seeking answers to unresolved issues. Unless you count Casper The Friendly Ghost or brief alternate-reality episodes of shows that do fake-out deaths. But even so, my point is that this sort of story is fresh for me.
At first, I didn't like the main character that much. She came off as self-centered and had a severe case of tunnel vision. But upon further reflection - it's so appropriate for a 17-year-old kid to get wrapped up on little things and lose focus of the bigger picture. That, and, many teens face some of the same difficult problems and decisions grown adults do, except teens tend to freak out more and try to deal with it all themselves instead of seeking help.
What I ended up loving about Little Red Gem is that it's a classic example of a teen freaking out and doing all the wrong things in trying to resolve her issues, except the adults surrounding her weren't portrayed as neglectful parents, awful teachers, or otherwise bad influences. That kind of trope is something I love if it's written by the right person (like Lemony Snicket), but not so much in general when it comes to YA.
In death, Ruby still acted selfishly and was hard-headed, not listening to instructions or warnings from others. Eventually though, you start seeing the light slowly coming on over her head as she begins to notice things she had never questioned, considered, or otherwise thought about. It took a while - almost too frustratingly long - but there's a good ending in store for you (the reader) and Ruby as everything comes together.
Older readers will find this a quick and easy book to get into. Besides the paranormal aspects, there's some great enthusiasm in it for music. If you're looking for a book that can communicate with music or lyrics, this is a good one to pick up. The author has even gone and posted some videos of the songs that appear in the story. Here's one of them:
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Little Red Gem is a nice little read with plenty of interesting characters, teenage blundering, and in the end, some solid life tips - particularly for young women. The tone is overall light (maybe a little somber) despite the dramatic theme, so it won't be too heavy for younger readers.