Cover Image: Ruby Lost and Found

Ruby Lost and Found

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Member Reviews

Christina Li’s Clues to the Universe was one of my favorite books of 2021, and the minute I heard about Ruby Lost and Found, I immediately added it to my 2023 Most Anticipated list. Ruby Lost and Found follows seventh-grader Ruby Chu. Middle school is hard for everyone, but it seems to be even more difficult for Ruby. Her best friend Mia has just moved to New York, and her other best friend, Naomi, isn’t talking to her anymore. Her sister, Vivian, is going off to college, and it seems like she doesn’t want anything to do with Ruby anymore. But worst of all, is that Ruby’s 爺爺 passed away, and it seems like she’s the only one who is grieving. And as the cherry on top, Ruby’s been sent to live with her 奶奶 for the summer. With memories of 爺爺 and his annual scavenger hunt everywhere she goes, her hometown of San Francisco doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Ruby Lost and Found and Christina Li’s words, felt like the warmest hug. I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but the way Christina Li writes just has a way of resonating with you. I felt like I was following a red string of sorts, following along Ruby on her scavenger hunt, as I made my way through Ruby Lost and Found. It reminded me of my own childhood, although I spent mine in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District, and summers spent with my 婆婆.

I felt so deeply for Ruby, and her situation — growing up and going through such a tumultuous time essentially alone is never easy, and I just wanted to tell her that everything would be okay. Reading about Ruby coming into her own was really heartwarming, and I was just rooting for Ruby the entire time. As our protagonist, Ruby has the biggest heart. While it does take her a while to get over her disappointment in summer plans, she eventually settles in. There’s a lot of reasoning and explanation for why Ruby is acting the way she is, and why she feels the way she does, and it’s incredibly easy to put yourself in her shoes.

Christina Li writes friendships in such a lovely way. I loved Ruby’s friendship with Liam, and how the two of them learned about their commonalities and bonded together. Both of them struggled with their own feelings of loneliness and grief, and recognized something in the other. Everyone goes through grief differently, and we really get to see that in Ruby Lost and Found.

Ruby’s relationship with her 奶奶 made me tear up a couple times. The love that Ruby had for her 奶奶, and the love that 奶奶 had for Ruby was tangible. Their relationship was so special, and it really was evident how the summer the two of them spent was treasured. I loved how Ruby went from reluctantly being there, to sharing stories with 奶奶. The two of them really developed a special bond, and I particularly loved their talks about specific spots in San Francisco.

Something else I loved about Ruby Lost and Found, aside from the grief representation and the complicated family dynamics, was how it talks about gentrification and community. I feel like every time I go into Chinatown, another favorite spot is being displaced to make room for new apartments.

Ruby Lost and Found was a love letter to family, to healing, to community, and to San Francisco, and without a doubt one of my favorite reads of 2022. Personally, I think Ruby Lost and Found is best read with some delicacies from your local Chinese bakery — or some dim sum — next to you. But if you don’t have those available, at least grab a box of Kleenex. Ruby Lost and Found has my entire human heart, and I cannot wait to reread it once it’s out!

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I really felt for Ruby and thought this was a great story about grief. I really loved the way it was written and was invested in the story going on. All the characters felt like real people and it worked in telling the story about grief. Christina Li has a great writing style and I was hooked in the story.

"I turned and Naomi stood there, awkwardly. “Just wanted to say thanks for coming.” She paused, not quite looking me in the eye. “And, uh, text me if you can make it next weekend, okay?”

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