Title: Ruby in the Sky
Author: Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
Published By: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (Farrar, Straus, Giroux) (2019)
**I recieved a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
First Thoughts: I’m in between on how to rate this book. On one hand, it fit many middle grade book stereotypes perfectly, but on the other, it also broke free and made the stereotypes feel original. I wasn’t blown away by how it was written, but I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The characters felt fresh and new, and the story was fun; while fairly predictable, it was still enjoyable to read.
This book, like I said, felt very stereotypical a lot of the time. I’ve read this story many times—the only child living with a single parent, starts a new school, faced with a challenge at school, feels inadequate, makes new friends that show them they’re not, learns to have confidence and courage to defeat their fears and talk to their family. I’ve read this story so many times, but Ruby in the Sky made it feel more original than others I’ve read. Abigail Jacobs was such a different character, so much fun, and brought with her mystery and lessons that added depth to the story. I really liked Ruby—she didn’t feel as stereotypical—and think many middle schoolers will relate to her. Her relationship with her mom was gentle and sweet.
I absolutely LOVED the theme of learning to speak up for yourself—not just in Ruby, but in the whole situation with her mom. That whole storyline—keeping details vague so not to spoil it—added so much more depth than you usually see in middle grade books, and I completely loved it. It was such an important theme, yet delivered so gently. Paired with Ruby’s arc, it created a beautiful theme that I think will really speak to readers.
Generally, I didn’t have super strong feelings one way or another about the book. It was stocked full of beautiful themes of forgiveness, friendship, and speaking up for yourself. The plot and characters were pretty predictable, but I still enjoyed reading the story; additionally, the connections with the moon added a magical feel. I didn’t absolutely love it, but there wasn’t really anything I disliked, either.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Recommended to: Ages 8 & up