Thursday, August 7, 2014

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Ruby's mother died, and now she has to leave her home and her friends, her boyfriend and everything she's ever know and move in with her father on the opposite coast.  Her father who left before she was born, who Ruby has never seen or spoken to.  At least in real life.  Ruby's father is a famous actor.  And now she's stuck with him.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies was written in verse, which for most books written this way I often feel that it doesn't work super well, like the writer just didn't want to have to worry about hashing things out and went with stream of consciousness instead.  In this case, however, I liked it a lot.  It made sense that Ruby would be writing in a fractured, distracted kind of way.  She feels fractured and distracted.  She's mourning the loss of her mother, but on top of that, she's mourning the loss of everything that's been familiar to her her entire life.

When Ruby first arrives in L.A., she's naturally miserable.  She angry and resentful of her father, who couldn't take the time from his busy movie career to call or visit her.  She misses her best friend and her boyfriend.  She misses her aunt, who's going off on a six month archaeological dig with her boyfriend and won't even be available for Ruby to talk to.  And, of course, she misses her mother.  And on top of all that she has to start a new school, which turns out to be this weird, hippy place full of famous actor's kids and Ruby feels lost and out of place.

As time goes on, Ruby struggles to stay miserable.  Her father, Whip (yes, Whip) is always nice to her and is always trying to give her things and take her places.  Her father's assistant is really nice and he and Ruby get on great.  She's making some friends.  She even flirted with another guy and instantly feels guilty.  And as the book goes on, we learn more about Ruby's mother.  Ruby's mother wasn't perfect.  Not that she was a bad parent by any means, but that she had her flaws, just like anyone else.  Ruby feels guilty thinking about that too.


Things fall apart still farther when Ruby's boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend (which I totally saw coming) and it's the last straw.  Ruby is done with everybody and everything.  Of course, this doesn't last, and the pain from the breakup actually helps Ruby and her father to talk and Ruby learns the real reason why her father left and wasn't in contact (which I did NOT see coming).

Things are left all tidy at the end.  Perhaps too tidy.  It was like Ruby's boyfriend cheating on her also negated everything else she had been missing and now she was able to move forward.  I didn't love that, but I won't deny it wasn't nice to have the characters we'd grown to care about all one big happy family at the end.

This would be good for older middle school or high school.  Sex is mentioned, but otherwise it's pretty clean.

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