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Review: Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Title: Saving Ruby King

Author: Catherine Adel West

Year Published: 2020

Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 320
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (IL and TN)

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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.

Review: I think the cover of this book is great and the rest of it is powerful.

Ruby's got a tough life: her dad is violent, his mother was violent, her father was violent (you get the idea). Her mom was an abused wife and no one stepped in to support or help her until it was too late. Her best friend is doing everything she can to help her, but she's got stuff going on as well. 

Chapters in this book reveal the story to the reader through multiple perspectives, depending on what's going on in the story. The most unique perspective is that of the church. Yes, a building. At first I thought it was weird, but the church shows us the past lives of the characters so that they themselves can continue telling the story in the present. It was an effective part of the novel.

While I do not feel satisfied with the way the story went (see previous tough situations), I do feel like this book showed a realistic story of struggle, faith, friendship, family, and attempts to escape a vicious cycle. It's very well done, which makes it tough to read, but I also didn't want to put it down.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Diversity--Black characters and author
  • Literary Escapes--Illinois and Tennessee
  • Popsugar--a book with a family tree

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