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Honey, Baby, Sweetheartby Deb Caletti
Synopses & Reviews
I'm not usually a reckless person. What happened the summer of my junior year was not about recklessness. It was about the way a moment, a single moment, can change things and make you decide to try to be someone different.
Ruby McQueen is a sixteen-year-old high school student with the name, she thinks, of a rodeo cowgirl porn star, or, maybe worse, a Texas beauty queen runner-up. Her mother, Ann, one of the town librarians, was reading too much Southern literature before Ruby was born, and Chip, Ruby's father, who was already dreaming of Nashville stardom, thought it would make a great stage name someday. Soon after Chip Jr. was born, Chip left to try his luck in the music business and ended up at the Gold Nugget Amusement Park one state over. He returns occasionally for visits that turn Ann's heart upside down, and Ruby's stomach inside out.
It is summer in the northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, a place where brown bears sometimes show up in the shopping mall and people in hang gliders soar down the mountains and sometimes get stuck dangling from the trees. Ruby, ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. With Travis, Ruby can be someone she's never been before: Fearless. Powerful. But Ruby is in over her head, and finds she is risking more and more when she's with him.
In an effort to keep Ruby occupied and mend her own broken heart, Ann drags Ruby to the weekly book club she runs for seniors. At first Ruby can't imagine a more boring way to spend an afternoon, but she is soon charmed by the Casserole Queens (named, quite ironically, after women who bring casseroles to new widowers' homes in hopes of snagging a husband). When the group discovers one of their own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading, Ann and Ruby ditch their respective obsessions to spearhead a reunion between the long-ago lovers. But this mission turns out to be more than just a road trip. Somewhere along the way Ruby and her mother learn the true meaning of love and freedom from it, individual purpose, and the real ties that bind.
This lyrical, multi-generational story of love, loss, and redemption speaks to everyone who has ever been in love — and lived to tell the tale.
"Readers...will find thoughtful and authentically inspiring messages about trusting in themselves enough to insist on a love that means more than being someone's 'honey, baby, sweetheart.'" Publishers Weekly
"Caletti explores the conflicting, complicated impulses of the human heart with polish and penetration." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Caletti has the gift of voice and tells her story with humor, insight, and compassion." Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will immediately fall for Ruby with her humor and her wry way of looking at the world. Their hearts will break as she makes bad decision after bad decision, and they'll cheer as she comes to some important realizations, with the help of the Casserole Queens." School Library Journal
"Caletti writes a compelling, multigenerational story about teens and parents who simultaneously weather heartbreak and find new self-worth, enriching the telling with the Northwest setting, folksy wisdom, and Ruby's strong, sure voice." Gillian Engberg, Booklist
About the Author
Deb Caletti grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and now lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She steals her best lines from her mother, her kids, and the dog, who doesn't seem to mind. When she is not writing or reading books, Deb is a painter, a lyricist, and a 2001 recipient of the Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship for literature. You can visit her at www.debcaletti.com.
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