Cover Image: Saving Ruby King

Saving Ruby King

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Member Reviews

I’m judging the L.A. Times 2020 and 2021 fiction contest. It’d be generous to call what I’m doing upon my first cursory glance—reading. I also don’t take this task lightly. As a fellow writer and lover of words and books, I took this position—in hopes of being a good literary citizen. My heart aches for all the writers who have a debut at this time. What I can share now is the thing that held my attention and got me to read on even though it was among 296 other books I’m charged to read. 

"There is a time for war, but peace that's the real prize." 
"You need to figure out when to fight and when to be still"
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, publisher and Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Saving Ruby King is an amazing novel. Beautifully written but without the typical happy ending. A moving read that I highly recommend.

5 out of 5 stars.
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Yes! I love books that don't have a traditional, Hollywood, happy-ever-after ending and this book delivered on that front. It reads like a thriller, but it is about inter-generational trauma, abuse, and healing.
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I really enjoyed Saving Ruby King. I was able to get into the story immediately and flew through it. It was a great novel and I’m so glad that I read it.
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The evidence the officials discover, labeled the crime a home invasion.  Ruby’s mother lied dead at the scene.  In this Chicago black community, this was just another crime committed and marked in the books.  Yet, some individuals knew exactly what had occurred behind the doors of this house throughout the years.  They knew the truth.  The abuse that had been silenced and buried for years was finally over and Alice was finally free from her husband, Lebanon.  Ruby knew it too for she lived it, day in and day out.  Alone now with her father, Ruby faces the reality that it’s just her and her abusive father.

Layla is Ruby’s friend and what a great friend she is.  Although Layla was told by her father Jackson, to stay-out-of-it, Layla can’t.  Jackson, a pastor of this community’s church and some members of the congregation know what Lebanon is capable of but their actions and voices are silent.  Layla steps up to help Ruby providing much more than I realized she had in her.  

Crossing timelines and hearing from multi-viewpoints, it took me a while to get into the flow of this book. I liked how Layla kept at Ruby, she never gave up and she questioned Ruby and didn’t preach at her constantly.  I thought having all the different characters and viewpoints was interesting and made for a more-rounded book, although keeping them separate took some work, on my part.  Set in Chicago, the book addresses many issues such as domestic violence, race, a church community, family and friendship.   I received this book from NetGalley and Park Row in exchange for an honest opinion (a few years ago).
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Didn't capture my attention and engagement. Interested in trying it again though and hopefully it will take.
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This was a beautiful,  and lyrical,  gripping, and such a beautiful story. What a talented Author. Lovely world building, and character development..
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Saving Ruby King is a well-written and important novel about race, culture, and true friendship.  Set in the Southside of Chicago, it explores race, family, toxic secrets, and what it truly means to be a friend.  When Ruby's mother is found dead, her friend Layla will do anything to save Ruby from her abusive father.  On the way, long buried secrets are uncovered.  The book explores race and privilege and what you'll do for the ones you love most.
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This book ended up being far more of a mystery than I was expecting - in fact, I was so invested in the characters, I almost forgot about the plot. And I definitely don't mean that in a bad way! This is a story of family secrets, race, faith, and what it means to be family, whether you're related by blood or not.
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Lovely written saga about family and the human condition with well thought out character development. This is the type of book that's a slow climb to a stunning conclusion that just might give you all the feels and a book hangover.
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A beautiful story which will stay with you. This is definitely a book that I will revisit as my niece is a little older. The author draws you in and you feel the emotions as you navigate through the text. I would recommend this to anyone.
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SAVING RUBY KING is s stunningly affecting novel. West weaves together a tale that contains just as much heart as it does candor. It is not a book to be missed.
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This is a difficult book for me to review. I loved aspects of the story, but the overall experience didn't wow me.

The writing is, without question, beautiful and powerful. The various aspects of the story are expertly woven in, interlinking everyone and everything that happens.

But the pace is quite slow, which would've been fine had the rest worked for me.

I think the scope of the story is took wide, taking on domestic abuse, racism, friendships, child abuse, parent-child relationships, grief, etc.

Also, we have excessive narrative passages about living with racism, which, while powerful, read too much like a memoir. And I'd have loved it as a memoir. But the constant insertion within a novel began to feel like a message being forced at me, rather than a natural flow of the story. Once or twice would've been great, but the repetitiveness felt too heavy-handed.

In the end, I loved the writing and the message, but I didn't love the execution.
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When Ruby King's mother is found dead in their SouthSide home in Chicago, the police deem it neighborhood violence, and leave it at that. But now, Ruby's left to live alone with her father, whose violence is a well-kept secret from most. Only her best friend Layla is privy to the inner workings of her father's violent ways. But when Layla's father pulls the girls apart and demands Layla disentangle herself from her best friend - things start to fall apart. But Layla won't be deterred so easily, right? A tale of two families intertwined far closer than either of their daughters can imagine, Saving Ruby King is a heartwrenching tale about the bonds of friendship, and what it takes to change the narrative of your own story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for advance access to this title!
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Ruby King lives in Chicago with her mother and her abusive father. When her mother dies, Ruby knows she can't be there alone with her father. What can she do and where can she go? Her best friend, Layla, tries all she can to help and protect Ruby from what is happening. But Ruby needs more than protection, she needs a whole new change in scenery. Three generations of trauma are seen in this book along with a lot of parent/child relationships.

Thanks to Park Row Books and NetGalley for a copy of this ARC.

When I read the description to Ruby King, I was expecting a very different book. The subject matter in this book is very heavy and has quite a few triggers throughout. From a father sexually abusing his child, a husband abusing his wife and child, and one man blackmailing another. While Ruby King is the title of this book, every character in this book needs some kind of saving. One important character in the book, that I didn't see coming was the church. You get to see what happens, "If these walls could talk." It was eye-opening and interesting to see that part. The church is where all the secrets were kept.

This book was heavy, but also surprising.
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This is a stunning debut novel is about family and friendship.  There are so many sections that are relevant in today's world with Black people and their relationship with the police.  It speaks volumes on the issues since this book was written before the events of 2020 and 2021.  

Saving Ruby King is told from multiple points-of-view, including a church building and the secrets within its walls.  This book reminds us that we are all human, and the role of a pastor isn't a pass for horrible behavior or ignoring it. There difficult issues discussed in this novel: domestic abuse, sexual and physical abuse of a child, and how friends, families, and even the church turn a blind eye. 

This book stirs a lot of different feelings: compassion, anger, fear, and love. West's emotional words made me care about characters and root for both Layla and Ruby to overcome obstacles and learn the truth.  The deep friendships and support they provide each other is truly heartwarming.

4 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Wow! This is an incredibly powerful book.
It’s is an emotional rollercoaster! Saving Ruby King’ is a sweeping, revelatory tale about love, friendship, and family bonds.
When her mother, Alice, is found murdered, it’s one more murder in a violent part of Chicago, but to Ruby it’s devastating leaving her alone with her abusive father. I loved this book. I highly recommend it.
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I felt so much sympathy for Ruby in this book... Her mother is murdered and she's left with her abusive father. Luckily her friend Layla is there to protect and "save" her, hence the title of the book. It is a family saga that spans many decades (but is set in modern day Chicago) and includes themes of race, friendship, and trauma. There were several mysteries and secrets revealed throughout the novel, with a "twist" that I liked and didn't see it coming. My only complaint is that there are a lot of characters and points of view presented, which was a little hard to follow.
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I received this book as part of my ticket to an event with The Girly Book Club. This may not have been the type of book I would typically pick up on my own, but I am so glad I was introduced to it. 

I love generational stories and this book did not disappoint. Though the topics were often heavy,  the stories presented were powerful and meaningful. The author did a wonderful job of conveying the difficult life of Ruby and the unique challenges she faced. 

I highly recommend this book and would suggest it to any of my bookish friends.
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3.5! I had a hard time getting into this book and feeling invested for about the first half, but after the halfway mark it all started to click into place and I was hooked! Beautifully written and constructed.
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