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Ruby Unscripted Paperback – Bargain Price, May 5, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7–10—Fifteen-year-old Ruby, her mom, her new stepfather, and her younger brother move to Marin County, CA, just before school begins. Her older brother, on whom she depends, has decided to stay in Cottonwood, several hours away, with their father and stepmother. Ruby feels alone and is upset with her parents for divorcing. Even though her Christian family is religious, she questions the nature of faith, and she struggles to make sense of her situation. Marin High is filled with students who are rich and privileged. While working part-time at her aunt's Underground Coffeehouse & Theater, she joins a group of film students who are making a movie, and her enthusiasm is ignited. Throughout the novel, Ruby remains reflective, and she begins to resolve her conflicted feelings about the past and the present. Readers will enjoy this comforting and current coming-of-age story.—Lori A. Guenthner, Baltimore County Public Library, Randallstown, MD
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Ruby is a character that I could easily relate to while reading. She is not a stuck teen that relies on labels and popularity to get ahead. She instead goes after what she interests in and stands up for herself. I really liked the scenes involving the coffee house and the movie club. I would have love to have been a part of both. I totally understood her dilemma involving the guy that she moved away from all of a sudden liking her AFTER she leaves. It's like, Why now??? Her entire situation is something I think teens can really relate to. You have moving to a new school, divorced parents, trying to fit into a new crowd while still seeing if you can keep up with your old friends. There are also more mature subjects such as teen sex (involving potential statutory rape) but are handled in a manner that will not shock readers. Something of note: Ruby has a gay friend but it's really not a big factor and something that just happens in the book. I only point that out for any readers that might find this objectionable.
There was one tiny thing that bugged me but it may be because I am older than the characters in the book. The constant texting got to me. I could not understand why no one ever used their phone to actually call each other. I understand using texting when you can't talk or it's easier to text in a situation. There was just one scene where Ruby can't get a hold of Kate through texting but instead of picking up the phone and actually calling her, she just keeps texting. I just wanted to scream "USE THE PHONE FOR WHAT IT IS ACTUALLY FOR!!"
I really think that general YA readers will adore this book. It totally speaks to a teen and what they are going through. Cindy's writing totally rivals that of mainstream YA writers and really keeps you engaged throughout the story. There might be Christian readers that complain that there is not enough faith issues tackled in this book and that the mention of God isn't that prevalent. However, I feel that this book balances it perfectly. I think the purpose of the story is not to preach but just to portray a good story that happens to have a Christian character. If I was a non Christian YA reader, I would not feel like there was any religion being crammed down my throat. It is a wonderful read and speaks to the target audience of YA readers very well. Seriously, if you say you enjoy YA books you NEED to pick up this book and read it. It's probably going to be one of my favorite YA reads of the year. HIGHLY recommended.
And Ruby's new life isn't as easy as she envisioned. Marin High School is a place for the rich and famous with their BMWs, chic clothes, and liberal beliefs-a place where she clearly doesn't belong. Even with her new job at the Underground Coffeehouse & Cinema, she is unsure of how to act and feels insecure about who she is.
When she tries out for an amateur film group, the puzzle pieces finally begin to fit. And who is this mysterious guy who's messing with her heart?
This is one of those books that just leaves you smiling when you're finished! Ruby is a character I immediately bonded with...she could be any girl you went to high school with, the girl next door who is dealing with stuff most teens deal with today. Her parents are divorced and her mom is moving to a new town. All Ruby wants is for things to go back the way they used to be.
There are a few perks to her new home... there's a boy (there is ALWAYS a boy :) and her new job at her aunts coffee place. At school she gets teased for being a goody goody and for going to church but even good girls make mistakes. Ruby ends up at a party that her mother would freak out about if she knew she was there.
All in all a beautifully written Christian novel that is uplifting and heartwarming with out being heavy handed. In fact the author is so subtle that I had to double check to see if the book was listed as "Christian fiction" which is great because sometimes kids think these kinds of books will be corny. They will never guess...they will just read a well written, very engaging, positive story about a teenage girl who learns to lean on God and her family when dealing with her problems.
Perfectly suited for 6th grade and up!