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Saving Ruby King (2020)

av Catherine Adel West

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13811201,749 (3.6)Ingen/inga
Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.
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Check triggers on this as this does cover many difficult topics.

This was a little all over the place at first. I had to piece together who was who and what storyline went with who. Each story caught my attention though so I kept reading this one.

It was also a little slow at times with all the switching. ( )
  SimplyKelina | Jul 1, 2023 |
This was a hard one for me. Not just because of the subject matter which was heavy but there are multiple POVs, all in first person. It was a little jarring to keep switching but I understand why the story was told that way. I found the book to be very slow but the author certainly can paint a picture with her words. I would read more from her, I just didn't care for the slowness or the story line itself.

See content warnings under spoiler.

Content warnings: incest, physical abuse of children and adults, alcoholism, cancer, domestic violence, murder of a child. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West is a 2020 Park Row publication.

Friendship, family, the church, and murder all converge with a reckoning with the past…

This debut novel is set in the south side of Chicago, and is mainly centered around Ruby King and her best friend, Layla. When Ruby’s mother is murdered, in the minds of all those concerned, the prime suspect is her father, Lebanon, a man known to horribly abuse his wife.

Layla’s father is the pastor of the Calvary Hope Christian Church, and for some reason, seems to defend Lebanon, and sternly warns his daughter to steer clear of the situation- despite Layla's deep fear that Ruby may do something drastic.

The church is a focal point for the characters, as it raises its unheard voice to reveal long buried secrets that overlap with current events. The true heart of some of its congregation is illuminating, as well. The book describes the importance of the church and how it is a cornerstone of the community. But, it also draws attention to true Christian faith- which is more than warming a pew on Sunday morning by calling out the way some folks conduct themselves outside of the church.

This is a resonant story, with strong elements involving family loyalty, strong friendship bonds, religious faith, trauma and abuse, but also forgiveness, understanding, and healing.

The author employs several unique tactics giving the story a wide -ranging reach, somehow managing to make the location and the church, significant characters, with important roles in the story.

As praiseworthy as the book is, I did have a some issues with the book:


While I love the author’s boldness, the freshness her style offers readers, there are too many first -person points of view, in my opinion.

This is a writing technique I have always struggled with. It seldom ever fully works for me because I have a hard time keeping up with the numerous characters, plus it prevents me from making a deep emotional connection to the characters. This book also has the added challenge of navigating multiple timelines, which made me work much harder than should have been necessary. It was slow going for a while, but I did eventually find a rhythm and flow.

That said, the book, overall, is very good. There is a restless, uneasy quality about it, a strong sense of foreboding that haunted me all throughout the story. It is dark, and it could be intense at times. It is a crime novel, and a mystery, as advertised, but it also touches on deeper, important, subject matter. I would think this book would be a great book club selection!

Although I struggled with this one a little, I still felt this was a strong debut for this author and is one to keep an eye on! ( )
1 rösta gpangel | Apr 13, 2021 |
Saving Ruby King is an ambitious debut novel that introduces us to Ruby and Layla, who have been friends since childhood. Author Catherine Adel West takes on multi-generational relationships, as she shares the nuanced story of a black family's life on the South Side of Chicago.

When Ruby's mother Alice is killed on the way home from church, Adel West skillfully pulls back the layers of these two intertwined families and the secrets and history they keep. The multiple points of view storytelling and shifting time periods add so much dimension as they each share what they know and feel. Even the Calvary Hope Christian Church has a voice and adds an integral part to the storyline. While it takes some time to balance all the narrators, once you take it all in, it's such a powerful and compelling use of layered storytelling and how the past can stay with us forever.

While this book takes on many important and timely present-day issues, Adel West shines at sharing a compelling story of a neighborhood and the families within it. The idea that no one is inherently "good or bad" is masterfully woven into this powerful and often heartbreaking storyline. This novel does an impressive job of delving into racism, domestic abuse, sexual assault, and trauma, while also balancing the power of friendship, hope, and redemption.

I alternated listening and reading this book and it was such an incredible experience. This character-driven novel packs a powerful punch and it would be a wonderful book club selection.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin, and Park Row for the gifted copy. As always, all opinions are my own. ( )
  genthebookworm | Dec 19, 2020 |
Saving Ruby King, the debut novel by Catherine Adel West has the makings of a strong powerful and emotional statement. However, with the multiple narrators and the nonlinear timeline, I find myself lost. The issues taken up in this book are important, relevant, and considerable. Unfortunately, for most of the book, the emotions and the grasp of those issues seems just out of reach. (Trigger warning: This book includes the topics of abuse, murder, violence, domestic violence, and incest.)

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2020/12/saving-ruby-king.html

Reviewed for NetGalley. ( )
  njmom3 | Dec 9, 2020 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Catherine Adel Westprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Butler, RonBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lazarre-White, AdamBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lyons, Terra StrongBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Parks, ImaniBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Roberson, Lloyd, IIBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Staunton, KimBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
- - Acts 4:12
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To my grandma Viola and my Mom, Georgia

Mom, you're here to see the book. Grandma, you're not. But without both of you, I wouldn't be here and this book wouldn't have been written. Thank you for everything and more.
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Ruby wants more than I can give her, but that's how children are.
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Fiction. African American Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.

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