Title: Ruby on the Outside
Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2015)
My rating: ✭✭✭✩✩
SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Ruby’s mom is in prison, and to tell anyone the truth is to risk true friendship in this novel that accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked.
Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school, and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, most secret secret: her mother is in prison.
Then Margalit Tipps moves into Ruby’s condo complex, and the two immediately hit it off. Ruby thinks she’s found her first true-blue friend—but can she tell Margalit the truth about her mom? Maybe not. Because it turns out that Margalit’s family history seems closely connected to the very event that put her mother in prison, and if Ruby comes clean, she could lose everything she cares about most.
This was a quick, sweet read. It dealt with some heavier themes but in an easy, comprehendable way. The characters were simple and relatable—but nothing beyond that.
Writing: The writing was very juvenile, unfortunately. Despite the fact the characters are almost sixth graders, they sound like they in third grade. And had they been third graders, it would have been done very well. Just sixth graders aren’t over-the-moon about coloring pencils and coloring books and the such. Though the themes and messages sent were very good ones, they were not done so in a way that was realistic. Because of the lack in realistic age behavior, it was hard to connect with them.
Plot: The plotline was done well, though, and the obstacles Ruby had to overcome were ones with a good theme, and actually those sections of the story were the good parts I really, really liked.
The friendship element looked very promising and positive, too, but unfortunately when it came down to it, the writing lacked so deeply the details and development needed that the story didn’t really live up to any expectations. It fell flat and though the premise was interesting, there was too much left undeveloped to seem realistic.
Overall? I really wanted to like this story, but the writing just wasn’t good enough for me to really appreciate it. 3.0 stars.