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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Book Review: Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

After her father dies, Ruby and her mom move from DC back to her mom's hometown in Vermont, where she swore she'd never return. She gets a job at a local diner and on her first day is sexually harassed by her boss and stands up for herself. And gets arrested since he's best buds with the sheriff. Despite how right she is, Ruby is mortified. They've been in town for one day and her mom is arrested, and she has to start her new school like this? It's the worst.

She tries to lay low including not really speaking with or interacting with anyone, especially not Ahmed, the nice Syrian immigrant boy who wants to be her friend. The one person she reaches out to is the "bird lady" who lives in a shack at the end of her street. Ruby's mom has expressly forbidden her from talking to the Bird Lady, and the kids at school say she murdered her family, and even if that isn't true why is she living in a shack in the middle of winter instead of in the boarded up house she owns? Ruby finds out Abigail is actually a fascinating person and a true friend. She starts to open up and get along better in school, but then a big school project where everyone has to participate in a "wax museum" makes her clam up again. Meanwhile her mother's court case is proceeding, and the town is trying to force Abigail off her land.

It's a middle grade book so despite the difficult subject matter, it's handled thoughtfully and all comes together in the end. I wish Ahmed hasn't been rather cookie-cutter of a character, but otherwise it was a good read. It's not too difficult, either with the writing style or the content, for even kids on the younger end of range, but a little emotional maturity wouldn't hurt.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

This book is published by Farrar Strauss and Giroux, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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