So, you know how I said I have very specific books that I choose to read in the previous post? (Okay, you won't have if you're reading this from most recent post to oldest post, but you'll see when you get to An Abundance of Katherines) Well, though I tend to be a thoroughly devoted reader of all things fantasy and historical fiction, as a kid I loved, loved, loved Sharon Creech (who writes, primarily, realistic fiction). Of course, I still love Sharon Creech, but my obsessive reading of her works fell off as I got older (around age fifteen or so). So, realizing I had an extreme lack of middle level books in my repertoire, I decided to pick up one of the few Sharon Creech books I have not read (mostly because it was published right around the time I had stopped reading her books).
Ruby Holler is about the "trouble twins", Dallas (boy) and Florida (girl), who have been bounced around from foster house to foster house, facing everything from neglect to flat out cruelty (there are a lot of allusions towards physical and emotional abuse), always landing back at the Boxton Creek Home where they had been abandoned thirteen years before. Their new foster parents, an older couple, Tiller and Sairy, whose children have grown and left home, have decided to take them in, but just for the summer, in hopes of giving the kids an adventure of a lifetime. However, things don't turn out quite as anyone had planned, and isn't that the point?
This story is so wonderful and sweet and made me bawl like a little baby at the end (I'm actually trying not to cry now as I think about it). As usual with Sharon Creech, there is a series of interesting and gripping plots and subplots all mixed together to highlight the beauty and importance of home and family, whatever shape or place it may be. I particularly liked the ending--it was so wonderfully frustrating and vague, yet perfect, so you can't get mad at Sharon Creech for writing it like that, but you can't prevent your mind from running over with ideas as to how the story ended. So good.
Comparable Reads: I think if this book sounds interesting, any of the other books Creech has written that sort of fit this profile (the country, adolescents, adventures), you'll likely find those books interesting, too. So, you have, of course Walk to Moons, and then Chasing Redbird, Bloomability, and The Wanderer.
Who this book is for: I think the typical audience for Creech's novels are young teens or "tweens" (I hate that word, but I guess it applies here). The book is so wholesome, but without being too goody-goody or obnoxious. It's a nice break from the overly dramatic, angsty stuff that sort of fills the airwaves and some of the books in teen culture. And while angst is great (I'm being serious) and is definitely applicable to the life of a adolescent, sometimes it's nice to have a break. Also, as an adult, it's nice to take a break from adult troubles and be a kid again an see things from the eyes of a kid again.