Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plot Summary:
Ruby McQueen (aka. The Quiet One) lives in a small town known Nine Mile Falls with her mother is the town librarian and local elderly book club host. When she isn't hanging out with Sydney or working t the greenhouse with Libby, she keeps to herself because of two incidents. When she was younger, she broke her tailbone and had to use an inflatable doughnut to sit on. Well, needless to says, the kids in class gave her a hard time about it. The second humiliating moment of her life occurred when she giving a presentation in class. In order to control her sweaty armpits, she decided to put mini pads under under her arms to soak up the sweat. Unfortunately, when the maxi pads started slipping, one of them fell out of her shirt and onto the floor (in front of the entire class) and she was mortified.Ever since then, Ruby has kept a low profile and has very few friends. Amongst her mission to stay invisible, Ruby's life is constantly turned upside down every time her father waltzes into town after abandoning them and her mother is still in love with him. Despite the family drama, Ruby continues to keep a low profile and then she met Travis Becker.  Travis was the son of the richest family in town and he was an all around bad boy. The moment Ruby jumped on his bike, clinging for dear life, she knew she was never going to be the same. Although Ruby and Travis are from two very different worlds, she can't resist this boy who is not only gorgeous, but actually likes her for who she is. However, unlike most relationships, secrets are revealed and sometimes what seem to good to be true really is.

Critical Evaluation:
Those who remember their first love will instantly relate to this story. Although this is a classic tale of an average girl winning the heart of the popular bad boy, this story has an additional dimension that adds quite a bit of depth to Ruby's character. Ruby's parents, like Calletti's, are no longer together because Ruby's father walked out on them to pursue his dream. What's even harder is that her father will sporadically return, which constantly instills hope in her mother's mind that her father will stay for good. Unfortunately, Ruby knows this isn't the case and she, and her brother, Chip Jr., are forced to watch this charade. In many ways, Ruby struggles with this because she is afraid, without a doubt, that she will end up like her mother. However, despite her flaws, Ruby loves her mother very much and endures her father for her mother's sake. When she meets Travis, Ruby is literally swept off her feet, especially when he gives her a gold chain. In many aspects, Travis ignites a fire within her that rattles this wall that she has built between her and others. Travis is reckless and Ruby loves him because he makes her feel powerful and at ease. However, Ruby's father was the same way and there are quite a few instances where she has to come back to reality and realize that she can't be bought with fancy jewelry or false promises. Unfortunately, Travis' recklessness becomes too much for Ruby and it leaves her with no alternative: to let him go and move one with her life. What I love about Ruby is that she at the end of her journey in the Travis saga is that she realized what she loved about the whole experience: she learned to live in the moment. Travis may have been the beginning, but it was her time with the Casserole Queens and the Book Club that showed her how precious this life it to worry about making mistakes or not fitting in. However, it was Travis' accident the showed her that we are not invincible and there will be times we need to be aware of the consequences of our decisions. For Ruby, her time with Travis wasn't in vain, but showed her what she is capable of and that she will do just fine without him.

Information about the Author:
Deb Caletti was born raised in San Raphael, California where her father worked in the optometrist field and her mother has a painter, business owner, and had a job in the school district. She and her sister grew up with a rough looking cat named Luigi and loves to read. In fact, she would even read at night, while her parents were driving, which prompted them to tell her to stop for fear of damaging her eye sights. When her father's job took them to Washington State, she joined girls scouts, which, according to Calettii, was very sororoity-ish. Unfortunately, when she was nineteen, her parents divorced, which marked a difficult time in her life. Caletti attended Bellevue Community College and got involved with the college Newspaper, met some amazing musicians who put her lyrics to song, and made friends with English instructors, with whom she is still on contact with. According to Calletti:
After I earned my B.A. degree from the University of Washington, I got married, won the Nobel prize (just seeing if you were still awake) and started working for The Learning Annex, which is this fun adult education company that gives classes in everything from river rafting to writing to how to find a lover through the classifieds (find a lover and get a barely used Bow-Flex at a good price). I was there for a few years, until my daughter was born. During her babyhood, and after the birth of my son two and a half years later, I wrote stories, more lyrics, and a few plays. When my son was two, I got serious about writing. I didn’t want to be one of those people who talked about their dream but never did anything about it. That seemed sad. I worried I would end up at the counter at Denny’s eating pie and smoking cigarettes, and I’ve never even smoked. So I made a decision that I would do it until it happened. No giving up, no going back. Since I had studied journalism, I had an education to make up for. I read everything on the craft, read through many classics to see what the big deal was. I read, and took notes and studied. And I started writing. The first book I wrote was 600 pages long, mostly crap. But it gave me a feel for what I was doing. I learned as I went.
Calletti has written over ten YA titles and her latest book is The Story of Us

Genre:
Teen Chick Lit

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up


Books Similar to Honey, Baby, Sweetheart:
Awards & Recognition:
  • 2005 National Book Award Finalist
  • 2005/2006 California Young Reader Medal Finalist
  • 2005 New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age
  • 2001/2005 SLJ Best Book of the Year

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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