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Grade 7 Up—Ruby, 17, is taken in by her older sister and brother-in-law when her mother abandons her. Ruby and her sister haven't spoken since Cora left for college a decade earlier. She moves from a semi-heated, semi-lighted farmhouse to a McMansion in a gated community. The theme of abandonment permeates the narrative-Ruby's mother's disappearance, Cora's perceived abandonment, and all of the small abandonments around every corner throughout Ruby's life. The plot hinges luxuriously on character arc. Ruby's drama of pathological self-reliance to eventual trust plays out through thoughtful, though occasionally heavy-handed, inner monologue and metaphor. As always, Dessen's characters live and breathe. Ruby's sweet hipster brother-in-law and Nate, the freakishly affable hottie next door, are especially vivid, and Cora's change from bitter control freak to sympathetic co-protagonist is subtle and seamless. Though Ruby and Nate don't have quite the cinematic chemistry of many of Dessen's couples, their cautious friendship into romance seems that much more realistic. The author's feel for setting is as uncanny as ever, and Ruby's descriptions of the homogenous nouveau riche Anytown are sharp, clever, and honest. The dialogue, especially between Ruby and Cora, is crisp, layered, and natural. The slow unfolding adds to an anticipatory mood. What's more, secrets and situations revealed in the second half of the novel are resolved more believably by already deeply developed characters. Recommend this one to patient, sophisticated readers.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Ruby hasn’t had much success with family. Her father left; her protective older sister, Cora, left; and her boozing mother finally leaves, too. Ruby is alone until Cora learns of her situation and swoops in. Suddenly, Ruby finds herself living with Cora and her wealthy brother-in-law, attending private school, and wondering just where she fits in. As in previous books, Dessen takes on a central theme—here the meaning of family—and spins many plots and subplots around it. Most prominent yet least successful is the thread about Cora’s relationship with boy-next-door Nate, who rescues her when she needs it, but has difficulty accepting Ruby’s help, tentative at first, when she discovers he’s being physically abused. Nate seems too good to be true (as does Cora’s husband), while his father is a caricature. And one of the most important elements, the issue of the girls’ mother lying to them, gets lost. Despite the uneven narrative, Dessen’s writing can be beautiful, and her story is involving. Grades 8-12. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
This was the second book I had read of Sarah Dessen’s when I first discovered her books in middle school. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Shelby Prothero
This book is amazing, I loved how in this book every character had a different perspective on an idea like family.Published 2 months ago by Christal Onyekwere
I love all her books. They are amazing. I would recommend them to my friends and family. One of my favorite authorsPublished 2 months ago by jessica leigh yelon
Ruby doesn't need anyone to take care of her; she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. But the world doesn't see it that way so when the authorities find out she's been... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Megan
Love her books!!! Own them all and read and reread them several times!Published 2 months ago by Hannah Stedman
I enjoyed this story so much! Ruby lives and bonds with her sister Cora trying to start a new life! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jessie
Good fun book with love for those in unfortunate circumstancesPublished 3 months ago by Kindle Customer