Cover Image: What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

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Member Reviews

The cover immediately drew me in and when I read the premise I knew I had to pick it up.

Although this one was a miss for me - the characters were hard to connect with. I didn’t feel immersed in the story, but proceeded to finish the story.

Unfortunately, I feel that the synopsis gave away the whole story which we don’t get until the end. The characters were unlikable in that they weren’t kind and the way they talked was hard to read.

The ending was sad.

I didn’t love it but I also don’t necessary hate it. I wouldn’t recommend to others though.

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Title: What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez
By: Claire Jimenez

Fiction, Mystery

Red Flags:

1996: After track practice, Ruthy, a beautiful red head with a butterfly birthmark, goes missing.

Twelve years later, Ruthy’s sister, Jessica is watching a reality TV show, which has a woman on it that looks just like Ruthy. The woman even has the butterfly birthmark. AS sisters, Jessica and Nina become obsessed with the idea that Ruby is Ruthy and binge watch hours of the reality show. The novel is told from several points of view.

I was read about the premise of this novel and was looking forward to readying it. However, the book was too much, yet lacking all at the same time. The novel had way too much language, and was lacking character depth. Unfortunately, this book had me dreading it. This is rare for me. If you don’t mind the language, reading about headstrong women, and family arguments with some serious drama, this novel is for you. I had higher expectations, which left me feeling disappointed.

Thank you Claire Jimenez, Grand Central Publishing, and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy for free. I am leaving this review voluntarily.


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My heart hurts in the best way. I carry these sisters, mother, family in my heart. I saw and could feel every bit of myself and my own Puerto Rican mother in this book.

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Thank you to Grand Central Publishing, Netgalley and Author Claire Jimenez for this ARC. I am voluntarily leaving a review. Oh how I enjoyed this book! Things that were mentioned throughout made me nostalgic and made me remember so many moments of growing up in a Puerto Rican family. The vaseline,the prayer candles,Valencia cakes...The story is told through different points of view and i honestly did not want to stop reading. The book is centered around the disappearance of Ruthy and how her sisters and mother have been dealing with it. If you ever saw the show "Bad Girl's Club",you will notice similarities in the reality show that is mentioned. I enjoyed myself and also felt like I was punched in the gut. You will not be disappointed with this book! Side note:yes,there is profanity and Spanish sprinkled throughout the story but it should not deter you from reading this book!

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At turns desperate and witty, fresh and familiar, Jiménez’s debut taps into universal themes of familial relationships and shines a light on the lasting intergenerational effects of colonialism, violence, racism and tradition.

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I really struggled with this book. I don’t think I was the appropriate audience. This felt like a very slow retelling of this families history and full of anger. I did not connect to it.

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This novel focused on the Ramirez family and shined a light on the global issue of young, diverse women going missing. This family-centered storyline gave us multiple point-of-views of each of the women from the family and provided an interesting look at how a tragic event like this can impact a family. The book description noted humor in this story but I didn’t really get that while reading and latched more onto the underlying grief, love, heartache, guilt, and resentment these women felt towards other and each other, which I thought was impactful. Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with these characters and the pace felt really off to me. These aspects negatively impacted my enjoyment of the story.

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Thirteen year old Ruthy Ramirez went missing without a trace. Her mother never stopped hoping and grieving simultaneously. Her sisters, Jessica and Nina, tried to move on, but Ruthy’s larger than life presence was always with them. When Jessica catches a glimpse of Ruby – a cast member on the reality show, Catfight, she knows it’s actually Ruthy. After analyzing the show and actress repeatedly, she also convinces Nina to track down Ruthy with the while she’s still filming and bring her home to their mother.

Told from several POV, this book touched on many topics including discrimination, sexual abuse, death and family. There are many characters, and while we don’t really get to know any of them well I feel we get understand Jessica the best. Ruthy is actually a secondary character but the ending left me unresolved when it came to the others. I wish this story went deeper than it did. It is more of a book on family relationships and life than it is the psychological thriller I expected.

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In What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez? a
Puerto Rican family living in Staten Island struggle to deal with the disappearance of 13 year old Ruthy Ramirez. On day she doesn't come home from track practice.
There is some reason to be hopeful; Ruthy is tough and doesn't take crap from anyone. She seems like the kind of child who might might say, "To hell with this" and run away. And then,
twelve years later a Ruthy lookalike appears on a reality television show Catfight. Have they found the long lost Ruthy?

Unfortunately, I never really connected with any of the characters. Perhaps if I were more familiar with Puerto Rican culture it would have been better. I felt like I was watching from a distance while the two sisters and mother argued incessantly. Not that there weren't displays of caring but that's not what stuck with me. Still, I really wanted to know what happened to Ruthy Ramirez and that kept me turning pages to the climactic ending.

I received a drc from the publisher via NetGalley.

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This book broke me. It was all fun and lighthearted games until suddenly the book was over and I was sobbing. Definitely recommend!

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I finished this a couple of days ago but I needed some time to figure out how I felt about it. It was so heartbreaking at parts, but also hilarious. I really did enjoy it, 3.5 stars is probably more accurate. I loved the relationship between Nina and Jessica, and really enjoyed Dolores and Irene - they were both so funny. I definitely recommend giving this one a chance, but check trigger warnings.

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Thanks #netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review. Quick read. A little disappointed by the ending or the lack of ending. Recommend.

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Wow. I really enjoyed this novel. As a Puerto Rican woman, this felt written FOR me, but beyond that, this book does fiction featuring women so well. It sometimes feels like it's against women (with the number of times the B-word is used) but it's actually celebrating women in all their flaws and limitations. It is a work that explores how women can love and hate each other in the same breath, and how the patriarchy (and the fight that we experience in our lives) alienates us from each other. I loved the writing even though the women all felt like the same voice. This is a debut novel, that's impressive!

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I enjoyed this story. The characters are well rounded and vividly portrayed. The pacing and the writing style keep the story engaging snd easy to follow.
Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing, and the author for sharing this ARC with me in exchange for my honest feedback!

Ruthy Ramirez went missing when she was 13, survived by her mother and two older sisters.

Fast forward 7 years, and the case has gone completely cold - until one day her sisters stumble upon a reality TV show with a contestant that looks just like their missing sister.

The ladies put together a plan to track her down where the show is being filmed and convince her to come back home with them.

Told in 4 different perspectives and 2 shifting timelines, each Ramirez woman gives her account of what happened back then.


Unfortunately, that is quite literally the entire plot of the book. Several of the chapters were just detailing the TV episodes where the women yelled and fought each other which drove me crazy and didn’t contribute to the plot at all. I thought more of the story would be tracking down Ruthy, but it’s not until about 75% through that they actually make the plan and go after her.

I thought the ending was completely rushed and anticlimactic. After you got through the whole book waiting to find out what happened to this young girl, you learn that she was killed by some stranger on one paragraph at the very end.

I wish I connected with this story and these characters more but it was a huge miss for me. 😢

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The first two pages of this book are written so beautifully it is clear that Claire Jiménez is an author we will be reading for years to come. I have read those first two pages several times over and continue to be amazed at how clearly she paints a picture.

The ending of the book is a gut punch. I'm left with a sadness, a mourning, and a giant lump in my throat.

I won't soon forget this story. Or Ruthy, or Jessica or Nina, or Dolores.

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I thought the book was honest and told a very true story. It was not what I expected, it was better.

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The first few chapters started off pretty good but then the book took a turn and really started to lose me. The banter throughout was entertaining but I literally felt it had nothing to do with what happened to Ruthy Ramirez. Probably could’ve named it Our Lives Without Ruthy Ramirez.

We’re given a dual timeline with multiple POVs from the Ramirez family including a few flashback chapters from Ruthy. It follows the family as they continue to navigate their lives and deal with the absence of daughter/sister Ruthy Ramirez who disappeared at age 13 without a trace. In 2008, Ruthy’s sister Jessica came across a popular tv show and thought one of the girls might’ve been Ruthy. Together with the help of her sister Nina they come up with a plan to find their long-lost sister.

As good as the book started off I’m disappointed with how under developed it was. The characters were okay but nothing about them stuck out to make any of them memorable. We have quite a few chapters that had nothing to do with Ruthy’s disappearance even the chapters she appeared in. The title of the novel was a bit misleading considering what occurred in the novel.

I basically predicted what was going to happen in the last few chapters. Then the ending was so rushed and to finally know what did happen to Ruthy left me even more disappointed. The novel had so much potential to be great had it solely focused on Ruthy. We learn about everything and everybody but Ruthy.

Overall the novel was meh the last chapter kind of increased my rating so can’t say I recommend. But read at your own will you might enjoy it. It was a pretty quick read and the pacing was fast. I also appreciate the authors message surrounding missing minority children but the book didn’t deliver the way it could have in my opinion. Special thanks to the author, grandcentralpub, & netgalley for my advanced copy!!!

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3.5 stars rounded down.

A lively and bustling portrait of three women in a Puerto Rican family dealing with the disappearance of 13 year old Ruthy over a decade ago, but which, for me, didn’t quite resolve satisfactorily.

Ruthy never came home from track practice and most people assumed the rebellious teen had run away. So, years later, when her two sisters see a lookalike called Ruby on a reality show called Catfight, they are convinced it’s their sister and make a plan to confront her in person.

The narrative swings between older sister Jessica, younger sister Nina (Ruthy was in the middle), and their mother Dolores. It touches on their responses to Ruthy’s disappearance as well as their current realities and the author does a terrific job of creating their individual and very human voices. In addition to these three perspectives, there is also a narrative about the day of Ruthy’s disappearance which shows the reality of the young teen’s life and resolves the mystery of her disappearance.

Jessica is a nursing aide, has a baby, and her white boyfriend is possibly cheating on her. She is the responsible one and it shows at her job where she’s asked to deal with the difficult patients while the two male aides goof around. Nina was the first in the family to go to college but since graduating with a degree in biology hasn’t been able to find a job until she’s taken on as a sales associate in a lingerie shop. Here, she’s bullied by the White manager and patronized by the 16 year old White assistants. Dolores works at her church giving parenting classes. She and her bestie, Irene, provide some of the comic highlights of the novel but the author gently shows their past trauma and how it informs their present behavior.

The road trip, which Dolores and Irene manage to crash, brings all the threads together and gives some shape to the plot. It’s both comic and tragic while exposing the lies the women have been telling themselves and each other and while it brings the family closer because of that, it also means they have to face what they now know.

This is a debut novel and the author is clearly a talent to watch.

Thanks to Grand Central and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

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I love a good mystery or thriller, and when I read that this one featured a missing sister that potentially pops up on a reality show years later? Sign me up!

Told in alternating POVs among two sisters and their mother, the story follows the family several years after the middle daughter, Ruthy, goes missing after track practice one day. Years later, one sister is convinced she sees Ruby on a reality tv show, which leads to the family reuniting and reopening old wounds as they reflect on Ruthy’s disappearance and potential reunion, often overstepping in the pursuit of finding her. Sprinkled throughout the novel are a few chapters from Ruthy’s POV (though I question how reliable they are), describing the lead up to the abduction.

While this story was a quick and compelling read, there’s also an undercurrent of discomfort as you can sense the characters, while family and ultimately coming together to try and find this stranger they think might be Ruthy, all of their trauma and issues with each other and resentment boils beneath their interactions. While not a surprising concept in a story about a fractured family, I didn’t get the in depth connection or closure from and for the characters that I would have hoped. The ending itself too was such a gut punch, and while I understand why the author chose to go that route, I am really missing the days of getting a satisfying ending to a mystery/thriller book.

Don’t get me wrong- I couldn’t put this book down and finished it in less than 24 hours. I think the author’s writing style was easily digestible and realistically raw, and I appreciated the Puerto Rican representation through the characters of this story (I am always here for more Latinx representation!) I just would have preferred it to be a tad bit longer and fleshed out given the number of and severity of topics that were touched upon (the book clocks in at around ~240 pages).

Overall: A quick and compelling read that is hopefully the start of future (and longer) works by the author in the future.

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i love lit fic because there is never a plot so it's even more impressive when i find it unputdownable

this had that trademark Debut feeling (kinda clunky and error-ridden writing), but not when it came to the characters, who felt fleshed out and real even though there were 900 of them and the perspective kept switching

good stuff! i'd read more from this author

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