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Ruby Lost and Found

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Member Reviews

4.5 stars
Poignant story of a young girl learning to deal with many changes in her life. Ruby misses her grandfather, who passed away recently. One of her best friends has moved across the country, and her other friend Naomi no longer associates with Ruby (unless she wants something). Ruby’s parents have begun a new business, her sister is headed off to college; the thought of any other changes makes Ruby want to scream. When she figures out a way to ditch eating lunch alone in the cafeteria at school, and have some quiet time to herself, she has no idea of the chain of events that will begin to unfold as a result…

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Ruby Lost and Found is one of those books that immediately feels familiar, even though it’s completely unique. That comes, in part, because of author Christina Li’s comfortable prose. It’s warm and inviting and feels a little bit like a hug.

Li drops readers into the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown — the sights, the smells, the tastes — especially the tastes — practically leap off the page. And it’s against this backdrop that Li explores grief, family dynamics, mental health and change within a community at large.

At the center of it all is Ruby — a seemingly constant disappointment to her parents who can’t help but get into trouble. Except Ruby isn’t a bad kid, and if her parents would take a second to look, they’d realize a lot more is going on than face value.

Ruby Lost and Found is a lovely contemporary middle grade that celebrates relationships and the importance of communication. It’s a great option heading into summer.

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Sweet story about family, grief, and growing up in San Francisco as an Asian American. I enjoyed the story and thought it was sweet. Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book!

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Christina has written another story that will steal your heart. Scavenger hunts, fading friendships and strained family ties all come together in this deftly woven tale about navigating grief and change.

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13-year-old Ruby is having a rough time: in school, with her two best friends, with her parents, with her sister, and most importantly, with how much she misses her grandfather Ye-Ye who died six months ago. Her parents tell her she will be spending her summer weekdays with her grandmother, Nai-Nai, staying with her and accompanying her to the local Senior Center. Ultimately, Ruby’s memories of Ye-Ye help center her as she gets to know the women at the Senior Center, as well as her growing friendship with Liam, grandson of one of those women. At times the story is a little disjointed, reflecting Ruby’s aimless feelings. However, once Ruby and Liam team up together, whether it’s playing video games, throwing a surprise birthday party, coming up with a plan to save May’s bakery, or helping Nai-Nai, Ruby begins to come into her own. A very satisfying ending to a delightful middle-grade novel.

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For an honest review, I was given an ARC.

Ruby, as a young tween, makes a bad decision and is required to spend most of the summer with her aging NaiNai (grandma). While Ruby felt she was doomed to a summer of despair and boredom found out differently. Meeting her Nainai's friends, remembering her grandfather and making new friends brought new adventures and challenges.
Ruby is faced with more hard decisions as she works to save a neighborhood bakery that doesn't want to be saved. Ruby doesn't understand why.
This a great middle grade book about understanding loss, the importance of preserving memories and dealing with aging.

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Being grounded stinks. Especially if one is thirteen and forced to spend a whole summer with one’s Nai-Nai, hanging out at Chinatown’s senior center. But Ruby knows even if she weren’t grounded there wouldn’t be much to do. Her parents are focused on their startup. Her pre-college sister is always out with friends. Her best friend moved to New York and her remaining one has simply moved on. So Ruby retreats to the past: retracing the routes of her grandfather’s epic San Francisco scavenger hunts; listening to the stories of her elders; and uncovering the importance of a threatened local landmark. With wonderful multi-dimensional characters, a powerful sense of place, and a pitch-perfect rendering of the turmoil that is thirteen, Ruby covers a lot of ground. The strong writing and solid pacing seamlessly meld into a coming-of-age story that explores the importance of slowing down and spending time with the people and places you love. The majority of the characters are Chinese American. Thanks to Harper Collins and Netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Family, friendship, and grief beautifully collide in Christina Li's latest middle grade book, Ruby Lost and Found. After a difficult end to 7th grade and reeling from the recent death of her Ye-Ye, Ruby's parents tell her she will be spending the summer with her Nai-Nai. After attending the local senior center and learning May's bakery will be closing, Ruby and her new friend Liam do everything they can to try to save it. Ruby. In the midst of trying to save the bakery, Ruby discovers her beloved Nai-Nai is exhibiting memory issues.

Christina Li excels at world-building and writing emotionally-heavy scenes. Middle school students who have lost a family member, have a family member with dementia, or who are overwhelmed with change will especially relate to this book. To readers who are similarly lost in a sea of overwhelming life changes, this book will serve as a tether that tells the reader: I see you. I am here with you. You are not alone, and we can ride out this wave together.

5/5 stars.

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*4.5 I absolutely loved this Middle Grade story!! It had me crying by the end! A story about family, Chinese culture, grief, friendships, dementia, and a Middle Schooler who is given way too much expectation and responsibility for a child. I've visited San Fransisco only once but could picture Ye-Ye's scavenger hunts (and wanted to be part of them too). I loved the Senior Center crew, especially Liam, and the food made me so hungyyyy!!! The only reason I took off .5 stars because it felt like too many sideplots, but they did come together nicely! A new Middle Grade favorite!!! The perfect start to AAPI heritage month :) Now to go plan a scavenger hunt around my town ...

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This book caused me to actually CRY, and I don’t cry. It covered grief flawlessly and seeing those moments between Ruby and YeYe made me cry even more. I related immensely to Ruby. Everyone deemed her the “troublemaker” but she was just struggling with her own issues and grief too.

I loved this book so much and I’ll be buying a copy on May 16th.

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This beautifully-written novel is a love letter to many things--to San Francisco's shrinking Chinatown, to the grand variety of Chinese-American culture, and to family bonds. The novel is full of great intergenerational characters. Ruby herself stands out as a thorny, loving, fully-realized tween girl struggling to get through a difficult time in her life while her parents and sister seem to pay attention to everything other than her. She's totally believable and kids will identify with her stubbornness and struggles.

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A good choice for kids looking to expand their awareness of Asian American culture. The Chinatown district in San Francisco is probably the best example of Chinese culture in America. I'm always in awe when I visit there, and Li does an excellent job capturing the feel of the city.

Ruby's 7th grade year has been anything but enjoyable. Her threesome friend group is falling apart since Mia moved to New York and Naomi spends more time with her new soccer friends. But the worst part is the death of her dearly loved grandfather, her ye-ye. Then she gets caught sneaking out of school during lunch and things really go south. Her parents decide she needs supervision and arrange for her to stay with her grandmother, her nai-nai, during the summer weekdays.

What starts off boring ends up not being so bad. She meets another kid, Liam, while hanging out at the Chinatown senior center and together they organize a party and work on a plan to save May's iconic Chinatown bakery. But all the time spent with her nai-nai clues Ruby in to something her parents have missed. Her nai-nai has dementia.

Although I enjoyed the different characters and their complex relationships, the plot didn't branch out from a basic linear line. Ruby visits her grandmother everyday and that's about it. Most of the action comes from the flashbacks of the last scavenger hunt she did with her ye-ye. There's a sleepover fail and a day on the town with her grandmother, but mostly this is a character book. Ruby feels like she can't do anything right, especially in the eyes of her parents, and in her determination to do better, she ends up over compensating, which also causes problems. There's a lot of misunderstandings which happens when people don't take the time to understand other people's point of view. I loved seeing the mixing of generations and the love Ruby had for her grandfather. I just wish the plot had a more clearly defined focus like Yang's Front Desk.

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Ever since the death of her beloved Ye-Ye, Ruby has been anything but herself. Lacking direction, she finds herself wandering away from school and letting her grades slip, ultimately winding up in detention. As a result, Ruby’s parents sentence her to spend the summer weekdays with her Nai-Nai, helping her with tasks around the house and joining her at the local senior center. But everything is changing around Ruby as her friends are drifting apart, her Nai-Nai is beginning to lose her memory, and Ruby’s beloved local bakery may not survive this new round of rent hikes. As Ruby finds her lowest point, she catches sight of one mission that may just bring her back to the person she wants to be.

This coming of age story wraps the changes that inevitably happen in middle school with intergenerational family dynamics. Like other seventh graders, Ruby is experiencing the pain that comes with friends moving on to other interests and leaving one another behind. And without her Ye-Ye, Ruby feels more alone than ever in the wake of these changes. Luckily, a host of colorful characters enters Ruby's world through her Nai-Nai, and Chinese language and culture move into her central focus. As the summer progresses, Ruby discovers more about herself and her heritage through what begins as a punishment and ultimately becomes a turning point as she matures.

Good writing and memorable characters help this book come to life, giving readers a solid sense of Ruby and her surroundings. The story is told through alternating segments that balance events in the present day with memories of Ruby and her Ye-Ye. This presentation offers readers a clearer understanding of exactly how much both Ye-Ye and their neighborhood bakery mean to Ruby. New friends and activities edge their way into Ruby’s life, whether she likes it or not, and her reemergence from her long-suffering sorrow is cathartic for readers. Charming and heartwarming, this is a good addition to library collections for middle grade readers.

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"Ruby’s still grieving her grandfather, Ye-Ye, when it seems like no one else is.."

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)
•Takes place in San Fransisco Chinatown
•So many San Fransisco landmarks and places mentioned
•Ruby doesn't quite know how to move on after her grandfather passes away
•New found friendships

This middle grade book blew me away! Living so close to San Fransisco, I loved all the places mentioned. Ruby is struggling with some tough issues, including grief. I enjoyed the flashbacks with her grandfather. My favorite is the Little Free Library memory and the scavenger hunts 🥹 Ruby is also struggling with growing apart from friends. This one I knew all too well and I thought it was portrayed so realistically. Liam and Auntie Lin were my favorite characters! This book has a great message about family, and having a great support system around you. I will be purchasing this book when it releases!

Thank you so much Netgalley for the arc!

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I just finished this book and had to wait to take a breath and pause a few minutes to be able to write this review because I couldn’t see due to all the tears in my eyes. This is a story about a thirteen-year old girl who feels lost because he grandfather has died, her best friend has moved away and her family is not paying attention to her. After an incident at school she is sent to spend her summer days with her grandmother.

It is such a beautiful story of dealing with grief, loss and change. I just wanted to wrap my arms around Ruby and give her a big hug. The relationship between Ruby and her grandfather was just precious. I also loved the description of their scavenger hunts and how those were used as a really cool way to tie up a part of this story.

Christina Li’s descriptions of San Francisco and Chinatown in particular were so detailed that I could see myself walking the streets with them, eating egg tarts and playing cards at the senior center.

Don’t miss this book. 5/5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children’s Books for an eARC of this book.

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RUBY LOST AND FOUND is a gorgeously told story about the growing pains of growing up and growing apart, of losing things and finding others. There are so many relationships here--Ruby’s relationship with her parents, with her older sister, with Liam, with her grandmother, with friends she no longer feels as close to despite her best wishes--and Christina Li balances them all deftly and beautifully. This book brims with emotions and heart. The setting of San Francisco was explored to the fullest, with flashbacks to Ruby and her grandfather on a previous scavenger hunt.

The story doesn’t shy away from having hard conversations, while at the same time holding space to appreciate the bonds and memories between people--whether familial, platonic, or romantic--against the backdrop of a city that has its own history, too. You change as life changes, as time moves on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the people who are special to you. It doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself again.

Also, this book will make you crave Chinese food. <3

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Christina Li is so incredibly good at what she does. This is another beautiful and emotional middle grade full of heart that brought me to tears, and I can’t recommend it enough!

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This is a lovely story with elements of grief and friendship that will appeal to its intended audience without coming off as ham-fisted. The protagonist is stubborn and disgruntled but ultimately very likeable and relatable. Her anxieties easily register with the reader so that even if the middle of the book slows a little, we want to know what happens and will happily keep going.

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Ruby is lost. One of her best friends moved away. The other won’t talk to her. Her parents are busy establishing a new business, and her sister is getting ready to start college. Neither parents nor sister have much time for her. And on top of it all, her Ye-Ye, her favorite grandfather passed away recently. It’s the summer before 7th grade and instead of enjoying it she is grounded and must spend every weekday with her Nai-Nai (grandmother.) And Nai-Nai spends all her time hanging out at the senior center. Now all Ruby has to look forward to is spending the entire summer with a bunch of old ladies. But as the summer progresses Ruby begins to find herself. Ruby Lost and Found is a beautiful story blending the nuances of the middle school years with family dynamics. Through what she thought would be the worst summer of her life Ruby learns to face her grief and she learns family means a whole lot more than those she is related to. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Recommended middle grade read.

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This is one of those books that you finish and all you can think is “Wow!” because you're at a complete loss for words.

There is a lot here—a lot of joy and a lot of heavy topics. This novel is a beautiful balance between the nostalgia of youth while coming-of-age after the loss of a loved one. Honestly, this one hit me right in the feels. There were multiple places where I cried and cried. So emotionally moving.

The overarching message: Build memories and cherish your loved ones because you never know how long you'll have with them. Build memories. Build memories. Build memories.

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