"...Boys are expected to do. Accomplish something. Seek adventure. Sure, they study for careers now, but what are girls still expected to seek? Boys. Boys get mountains, girls get boys...
A lady I will be, but a man's accessory, his handbag, no thank you. I will not just be someone's ornament. I will not must be someone's honey, baby, sweetheart..."
~Miz June from Honey, Baby Sweetheart, pp. 235 - 236 (hardcover)
This week I read a YA selection, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti. She wrote the book I hated last week, but I really enjoyed this one. I'd already checked it out from the library before I read he's GONE, so I was dreading reading it even though it was a finalist for the National Book Award.
First of all, I love the name of the protagonist: Ruby McQueen. She is the quiet girl in school due to several unfortunate embarrassments. Her mother is a librarian at the Nine Mile Fall's public library outside of Seattle, and her father, a musician and performer who's responsible for Ruby's showy name, no longer lives with his wife and children. But during the summer when she's Sweet Sixteen, Ruby suddenly goes from a shy, studious girl to a reckless, mindless teenager and criminal accomplice. The catalyst for her change? Travis. Becker. Travis is wealthy, handsome, and dangerous...the trifecta of trouble for someone like Ruby. She begins taking risks and harming others she cares about only to belong.
She makes a confession to her mother, and her mom takes charge of her free time by over-scheduling Ruby so she won't have time to see Travis. That's how Ruby begins attending the book club of the elderly Casserole Queens. One of the Queens who recently suffered a stroke might be the former lover of a very famous author (their book club selection during the summer was written by said author). This leads Rudy and the Casserole Queens on an adventure that's quite sweet as well as exciting.
I do like the growth Ruby makes in this book, and I even like the strong adult support system she has surrounding her even more. I think this is a book that many young, impressionable teenage girls should read because it illustrates how easily girls can fall for the wrong boy for all the wrong reasons. Ruby figures out that she might have been "...in love with Travis Becker's motorcycle [rather than him]." Plus there are consequences for actions....a novel concept in some YA books.
Until next time...