Saving Ruby King

by West, Catherine Adel,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 11 Libraries 12 of 18 copies
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Summary
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Ms. Magazine, USA Today Book Riot, The Rumpus, Library Journal, PureWow, The Every Girl, Parade and more.

"Forever and to the end. That's what they say instead of I love you."

When Ruby King's mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago's South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it's a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.

Their closeness is tested when Layla's father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn't determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "After finding her mother dead in their home on the Southside of Chicago, Ruby King is sustained by the loyalty of her best friend, Layla. Pastor's daughter Layla is determined to rescue Ruby from the hands of her abusive father. But unbeknownst to both young women, Ruby's troubles at home are a result of a twisted web of deceit and murder, inherited through both of their families. Ruby and Layla's devotion to each other serves as a beacon of hope. West delivers her debut with an honesty that jumps off the pages and into the laps of her readers. Telling Ruby's story from multiple points of view, West writes with a precision that makes the story sing, with clear language and poetic imagery. The city of Chicago plays an active backdrop, setting the tone of the characters' behavior. Gentrification, politicians, and crime plague the city's streets and eventually find their way through Ruby's church and onto her doorstep. Whether or not Ruby is truly saved in the end is left for readers to decide."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "West's ambitious, keenly observant debut follows two friends growing up on Chicago's South Side, where the cycle of domestic violence repeats over generations. When Ruby King's mother, Alice, is murdered, Ruby loses her protector, and her best friend, Layla Potter, works diligently to fill the role. West unfolds the map of their neighborhood and their families' connections in chapters alternating between the present and the 1960s, when Ruby's father, Lebanon, the child of his mother Sara's rape by her own father, is abused by her. Traumatized, Lebanon becomes abusive in turn on his own family. As a teenager, Lebanon's childhood friend Jackson, Layla's father, was responsible for another teenage boy's death, but Lebanon is imprisoned for manslaughter in his stead. Freed after five years, Lebanon starts blackmailing Jackson, now pastor of Calvary Hope Christian Church. (In a remarkably effective literary device, West has the church building itself "narrate" some of the chapters.) As Layla vows to rescue Ruby from Lebanon's rage and self-harm after Alice's murder--especially after Layla dreams of three mysterious matriarchs insisting "Go!"--plot twists lead to a climactic confrontation in Ruby's grandmother's Tennessee home. Despite some excessive melodrama and repetitive dialogue, West's tale of grace, redemption, and hope would translate handily to the screen. This should enjoy wide popularity with book groups. (June)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Abused children -- Fiction.
African American women -- Fiction.
Children of clergy -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
Fathers and daughters -- Fiction.
Female friendship -- Fiction.
Young women -- Fiction.
Chicago (Ill.) -- Fiction.
South Side (Chicago, Ill.) -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher Toronto, Ontario :2020
Language English
Description 312 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780778305095
0778305090
Other Classic View