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One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, Sonya Sones


In poetic form, Ruby narrates her uprooting from Boston after her mother’s death, and transplantation to Los Angeles to live with her father, who divorced her mother even before Ruby’s birth. Interspersed between poems are e-mails from Ruby to her best friend Lizzie, her boyfriend Ray, and her mother. Ruby experiences culture shock and deals with bouts of homesickness, from her anger at her father, confusion and panic during her first earthquake drill, heartsick longing for her boyfriend, shock at a classmate’s death in a car crash.

Teens will sympathize with Ruby, and anyone who has gone through the process of moving will understand her slow acclimation to a new town, school, and friends. Although Ruby steadfastly refuses to allow her father to become close to her, she does have good relationships with her Aunt in Boston, and with her father’s personal trainer, who she nicknames Aunt Max. As she makes friends at school, she decides to become involved in theater and tries out for the school play, while at the same time, feels guilty for making new friends and flirting with a young man named Wyatt.

The book moves quickly, and the free verse poems are rarely longer than a page or two. Ruby is a likable and honest narrator in her writing.

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