The Search for Baby Ruby
Arthur A. Levine Books, May 2015
Jess has been looking forward to her oldest sister’s wedding, particularly being able to participate in the celebratory events surrounding it, for an entire year. Dressing for the rehearsal dinner in the swank Los Angeles hotel suite, she felt a mix of nerves and excitement.
Until her feckless brother barged in, Baby Ruby in his arms. To no one’s surprise, the babysitter he’d arranged did not show up. Danny was determined to attend the event, as he had a ‘very important’ speech to make. He needed Jess to stay in and babysit. She would miss the entire evening’s festivities.
To soothe her soul, Jess lets the baby stretch out on a blanket on the floor while she…admires…the intricately beaded wedding gown and gobs of brand-new make-up. In a typical, sulky-teen-kind-of-way, Jess quickly becomes distracted and is unsure of how much time has passed since she’s checked on Baby Ruby.
When she sticks her head out of the bathroom, she is shocked to see only wrinkles where Baby Ruby once was. The child is gone.
Jess pulls her shop-lifting-sister, Teddy, into her panic and the two pair up to find the infant before anyone else knows she’s missing. Unaware that housekeeping has alerted the authorities, the teen sleuths separate to search the hotel.
The Search for Baby Ruby by Susan Shreve is a Middle-Grade mystery with a quick start and fast, but not frantic, pace that makes for an engaging, effortless read.
Reviewed by jv poore, July 2020.
Scholastic Press, March 2018
Sometimes I’m stunned by how hard a Middle Grade book can hit me. Hurricane Child by Kacen/Kheryn Callender serves as a stellar example.
Caroline is complex, particularly for an adolescent island-girl. She is carrying a bunch of baggage, and has no one to help with the load.
Years ago, an emptiness began to eat at her. Her mother inexplicably abandoned Caroline and her father. With her dad working all the time, and avoiding her questions when he was around, a frustration began to build and threaten to fill her completely. Nothing but negative emotions and absolutely not a soul to share with, Caroline was always angry and so very alone.
Until she meets Kalinda.
New students are rare in the tiny St. Thomas school, but Kalinda seems to handle being the center of attention easily. Caroline is immediately attracted to her confidence and poise and she quickly decides to befriend this intriguing young lady. As soon as possible.
Here, Ms. Callender considers the pseudo-taboo subject of sexuality. Simultaneously showing two sides of the same coin provides perspective and allows the reader to experience differing mind-sets, neutrally. The reason for her mother’s departure keeps me contemplative and has me considering various points-of-view.
Caroline’s stubborn and defiant actions almost over-ride the seriousness of some situations, making the punch a bit more surprising, thus proving to be more painful. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Reviewed by jv poore, April 2019.