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by Ronni Arno

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4814-3757-8
Publisher: Aladdin

Ruby, 12-year-old daughter of a major league pitcher and a popular model-turned–television star who are plagued by paparazzi, discovers her California “friends” want only to gain access to her famous parents.

She decides on a major life change and enrolls in a Maine boarding school, where she immediately, unthinkingly lies upon arrival, claiming to be an orphan. That makes her seem like a soul mate to Connor (who is an orphan), to whom she's attracted—as is vindictive classmate Cassandra. A highly talented designer and seamstress, Ruby wins a campus contest and is chosen to present a fashion show of her work during parents' weekend. Much rings improbable, at best, in this frothy tale, including Ruby's ability to quickly turn out an array of fashion-forward clothing that exactly fits her friends and her loving parents' complete ignorance of her skill. When Ruby pulls out her credit card and charges $300 of magazines at a local newsstand so classmates won't see her photo in them, she risks losing readers’ sympathy. While Ruby's young teen voice rings true, neither the Maine setting nor the other saccharine-sweet characters are infused with much life. Only stock-character Cassandra distinguishes herself, albeit negatively. Awaiting the predictable reveal of Ruby's secret is more irritating then suspenseful.

A superficial story that's mildly amusing but neither especially plausible nor deeply engaging. (Fiction. 9-12)