Having a mom in prison presents Ruby with complications and challenges.
Ruby’s most prominent concern is her need to keep the truth about her mom secret. On the cusp of sixth grade, Ruby is becoming discontent with her situation. Until now, Ruby has kept her life compartmentalized, establishing a strong distinction between the “outside world” and her “inside world.” But with middle school looming, Ruby decides a best friend is a necessity. The arrival of new girl Margalit inspires Ruby to attempt a connection with someone from the outside, and she learns that Margalit also struggles in the wake of a family crisis. Despite their different circumstances, both girls cope with the repercussions of events far beyond their control. The joy Ruby expresses in her blossoming friendship with Margalit profoundly demonstrates the isolation she has endured as a result of keeping her inside and outside lives separate. When a startling coincidence compels Ruby to investigate her mother’s history, her discovery has the potential to unravel her fledgling friendship. Writing in Ruby’s voice, Baskin delves into her protagonist’s evolving perceptions as her awareness of her mother’s circumstances deepens. Ruby’s gradual revelation of the truth represents her determined, hopeful progress toward healing and acceptance.
A deeply compassionate exploration of an experience underrepresented in children’s literature but overrepresented in the real world. (Fiction. 10-14)