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Love, Ruby Lavender

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  3,624 Ratings  ·  323 Reviews
Ruby Lavender and Miss Eula are a pretty good team, for a couple of chicken thieves. What other granddaughter-grandmother duo could successfully drive the getaway car for chickens rescued from a journey to the slaughterhouse, paint a whole house shocking pink, and operate their own personal secret-letter post office?
So, when Miss Eula leaves for Hawaii to visit her new gr
Paperback, 188 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2001)
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Mackenzie Patel I definitely think so! Everyone deals with grief differently, and her way was to be mean-spirited...I'm not saying it's right; it's just how she chose…moreI definitely think so! Everyone deals with grief differently, and her way was to be mean-spirited...I'm not saying it's right; it's just how she chose to deal with it. (less)
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Ginny Messina
Jan 02, 2011 Ginny Messina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comfort-reads
In the opening scene of this book, Ruby and her grandmother Miss Eula (who, according to the Agricultural Page of the Aurora County News, is “long known for her commitment to animal rights and lost causes,”) rescue a group of chickens headed for slaughter.

And it gets even better from that point on.

Like Each Little Bird That Sings, this takes place in a small Mississippi town, presumably in the 1950s-60s. In the three books I’ve read by Deborah Wiles, there are some great recurring themes regard
Jun 16, 2010 Qt rated it really liked it
Recommended to Qt by: Kathryn
I really enjoyed this one! The first couple of chapters were a bit hard to get into, but once I got into the swing of things it was a really easy, fun read--perfect for summer, especially because of the lovely little everyday details, which I really like in a book. Although the underlying theme is a serious one--Ruby dealing with her grandfather's death--the book is, on the whole, humorous. It has a sort of timeless feel to it--I couldn't say for sure what decade it was set in, and I think that ...more
Jul 29, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing
This book in one (made up) word: heartmelting. (That's one joyous moment past heartwarming.)

This was a perfect summer read! The story takes place over the course of one summer, and it's a light little Juv book, so I didn't have to concentrate hard on it.

Nine year old Ruby Lavender is best friends with her grandmother, Miss Eula. They write letters to each other nearly every day, and leave them in a knot in an oak tree. Ruby Lavender spends her days hanging out at her grandmother's store, wher
Apr 28, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, 2012
This review pertains to the audio version of this book:
It is summer time in Hallelujah, Mississippi and Ruby Lavender has a lot to deal with. She is taking care of some recently "liberated" chickens, missing her grandmother Miss Eula, who is on an extended visit to her son in Hawaii, and dealing with a nemesis, Melba Jane, all while trying to come to terms with a recent family tragedy. The heart of this story is the correspondence between Ruby and her grandmother while they spend this summer apa
Ms. Arca
Nov 06, 2015 Ms. Arca rated it really liked it
This is a good book and I got swept into caring about the main character. She is a bit young for a main character. I had just come off of reading 'Each Little Bird that Sings' so I think I wanted to keep seeing the world through a bit older eyes. However, by the end, this book was nuanced and thoughtful. I love the way Deborah Wiles writes, thinks, and shares about death. She isn't afraid to put it in her writing and it makes me reflect and think so much!
Linda Lipko
Mar 26, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Because I loved Each Little Bird That Sings, I wanted to read the this first work by the author. While Each Little Bird That Sings resonated with me more than this tale, still, Love, Ruby Lavender is delightful and poignant and worth the time spent in reading.

Ruby lost her beloved grandfather. Now, a year later, her very special grandmother needs time away from Halleluia, Mississippi. Leaving Ruby heartbroken, through a series of letters the two remain connected.

When Ruby lost a grandfather, her
Ruby Lavender is such a delightful, did I just write that? Delightful? Ruby is such a lucky young girl whose grandmother is someone that I hope to be, full of fun and nurturing in a healthy positive way. I am not much for books for the younger generation but I do enjoy ones like this that has a mature approach. Which means there is intelligent writing that propels a message or storyline that the child or adult such as myself can learn or grow from. I feel no matter how old a person is, I think w ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sue by: Leslie
Shelves: juvenile, c-book-club
Lovely story told in prose and in letters about young girl dealing with some very weighty issues. Her grandfather's drowning death has caused her life to change in many ways and the one person she has always clung to is her grandmother. They write letters and leave them in a tree, but when Miss Eula goes on a trip to Hawaii the letters become much more important as Ruby tries to deal with a mean rival and some hatching chicks. There's comedy, tragedy, and growing up in this delightful story.
Nov 20, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing
Ruby Lavender is
- nine years old
- has red hair and freckles
She lives in the small town of Halleluia, Mississippi. The sign that welcomes you to the town says:
- population 400 Good Friendly Folks and a Few Old Soreheads.

Ruby and her Grandma - Miss Eula - are also best friends and partners in all sorts of adventures. Even though they live in the same town they write to each other everyday and leave their mail in a silver maple tree right behind the post office.

Lucius Peterson announces that he
Sep 21, 2016 Jaylee added it
Love Ruby lavender is such a good book, i love it so much. I love how Ruby is super nice and sweet and i love the storyline and all of the charitos. I love how Ruby kinda has a bully and she hates her so much but at the end she ends up helping her and they end up liking each other somewhat. And i love how it is in a small town and how Ruby gets mad at her grandma Miss Eula for leaving and going to Hawaii to see a baby, Miss Eula is her best friend and she is sad that she is leaving but she ends ...more
A light-hearted, simple story that was perfect for what I needed in my listening reading life right now. I loved the narrator. She did such great accents and I felt a part of that small, southern town. (I had my own memories of TX and WV, too!) Sweet and funny. Cute, too. I even almost cried at one part. A good book. Always fun to grab something off the shelf without knowing about it and discovering that it is enjoyable.
Alex Schwartz
Oct 29, 2014 Alex Schwartz rated it really liked it
Love, Ruby Lavender was a really good book. The story is being told by a narrator who can see into the mind of the main character, Ruby Lavender. Ruby's grandmother, Miss Eula, has just left for Hawaii to visit her newborn granddaughter, Leilani. Ruby and Miss Eula are chicken thieves who live in Halleluia, Mississippi. The stole three chickens; Ivy, Bemmie, and Bess. Now that Miss Eula is in Hawaii, Ruby has to take care of her chickens all on her own. What will she do? Well, that's for me to k ...more
May 16, 2016 RileyL rated it it was amazing
The second book I read for the third trimester reading was Love Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles. This story takes place in Mississippi with a girl named Ruby Lavender. Ruby’s best friend in the world is her grandma and when her grandma is moving to Hawaii for a while, Ruby is taken aback. What was Ruby going to do without her grandma with her to help her raise her three new chickens; Ivy, Bemmie, and Bess? And what Ruby do without her grandma to help stick up to Melba Jane, a girl who always has ...more
Aug 12, 2014 babyhippoface rated it it was amazing
Wiles' second best (Each Little Birds wins that title, hands-down). Great characters, great laughs, great emotion. Wonderful read.
Sep 25, 2016 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
Ruby Lavender and her spunky grandma have a wonderful friendship. They love reading to their chickens they saved from near death. Ruby's life is turned upside down when her grandma goes to Hawaii to visit the new grandbaby. Ruby writes to her grandma everyday and pours out her heart. Ruby talks of Melba Jane who seems only to exist to annoy her. Ruby also begs for her grandma to come back and help with the chickens. Ruby tells her grandma everything except one deep dark secret that she has told ...more
Elizabeth (NC)
Originally read 2009

As I reread this for Battle of the Books, I kept thinking the story sounded really familiar--glad to see that I have read it before, but wish my memory was just a little bit better!
Apr 04, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I have always looked at the cover, but never picked it up. I listened to it. The narrator was a tiny bit over the top, but the story is a happy, sad, gentle book.
Amanda Walz
Dec 12, 2014 Amanda Walz rated it really liked it
Ruby is an interesting little girl with a big look on life. She is stubborn and can hold a grudge. Ruby loves her grandmother, Miss Eula and sees herself as a chicken thief. There are a lot of things going on in Ruby's world and they are not all happy. Her grandfather died in an accident about one year before the book begins and with this Ruby holds a secret. This secret is a heavy one that won't be revealed until the end of the story.
I really enjoyed Ruby's story. It took me a little bit to ge
Jul 21, 2014 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathy by: Battle of the Books 2014-15
Second time through - I read it this time and missed Judith Ivey and her narration - but loved the book and still think Deborah Wiles rocks! Interesting that she had "Each Little Bird that Sings" on the Battle of the Books list this year, too. Love the letters to Miss Eula and the emotional feel of their relationship as well as Miss Eula growing into herself as much as Ruby. I liked the way Wiles dealt with death and grief and attaching blame - especially dealing with that blame. Well done.

Sep 07, 2013 Louis rated it it was amazing
I read this title after listening to the author's "The Aurora County All-Stars", which I found to be outstanding.

At first, I felt that there was no way that this book could match the previous work. But it very subtly unfolded truths and secrets that made this another excellent work by this author.

I would say that although I am giving both of these books a rating of "5", the fact is that the books cannot be compared. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. Each is outstanding in its own w
Cindy Huffman
Feb 10, 2013 Cindy Huffman rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I always get a little catch in my brain when asked about things for 'girls' or 'boys.' One of our librarians got a letter of complaint from a mother who raged against the idea that any book was gender-specific. But Love, Ruby Lavender is primarily about a girl and her relationships with other girls (even the chickens are hens). So I think that this book satisfies the 'for girls' requirement.
Two girls, Ruby and Melba, are seemingly enemies for life. As the story unfolds, the reader sees that bot
Inhabiting Books
Nine year old Ruby Lavender and her muumuu wearing, champion-of-lost-causes grandmother, Miss Eula, are best friends. The two of them "liberate" three hens from Peterson's Egg Farm (saving them from certain death,) go on picnics, share secrets, and have their own secret mailbox tree, where they constantly exchange letters.
Then Ruby's anticipation of another summer of fun with Miss Eula is dashed when her grandmother tells her she won't be there this summer; she's going to Hawaii to visit her son
Jul 26, 2009 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Another sweet, funny, touching story by Deborah Wiles. I've become a big fan of this author. This story is similar in plot to each little bird that sings. Or I should say each little bird that sings is similar to Love, Ruby Lavender since Ruby came first. Once again, death plays a prominent role in the story. Surprising for a book for 8-12-year-olds but Wiles handles it better than any other children's author I've seen. Yes, it's very painful and everyone grieves differently and it may take a lo ...more
Ruby Lavender loves her grandma, Miss Eula...the two are best friends and they do everything together. They do crazy things too like rescuing three aging chickens from slaughter when Mr. Peterson decides to sell the chicken farm. Ivy, Bemmie, and Bess are like family.

But both Ruby and Grandma are grieving since Grandpa Garret died last summer. He drowned off of Lake Jasper Bridge when he and Mr. Latham, Melba Jane's father, were traveling back from out of town. Ever since that day, Melba Jane a
Dec 13, 2007 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of children's books with spunky Southern characters
I reread this book, because I enjoyed it so much when it was read aloud at the beginning of each class, a chapter a day, by the Professor of a children's literature class I took in 2004. In fact, the Professor that read it aloud to my class, Nancy Johnson, is thanked by the author in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
I was hoping my reread of it would be as good as the first time, but Nancy Johnson did the voices, and reading it to myself just wasn't the same, although I did still enjoy
Feb 28, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2015
It's going to be a long summer in Halleluia, Mississippi for Ruby Lavender. She has chickens to care for, her grandmother has up and left her for Hawaii, and mean-girl Melba Jane torments her at every turn. But by the end of the summer Ruby has learned a lot about friendship, love and forgiveness. This is a good read-aloud for children. I particularly loved the tender letters between Ruby and her grandmother. There's a lot here that made me smile. ("Good garden of peas!")

Nov 20, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it
I almost gave this 5 stars, but I decided that what really put it over the top for me is that I listened to it on CD and the reader did an excellent job with the southern accents that made it more fun and entertaining than it might have been with me reading it. The story takes place in Hallelujah, Mississippi so that's about as southern as it gets.

Ruby is a nine year old living with her mother who is loving but quite busy with her interesting life so Ruby spends most of her time with her grandmo
Oct 16, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes a sweet story
I just finished this award-winning mid-grade novel, and I'm sorry it's over. I wish I could meet Ms. Wiles, as I picture her to be a grown up version of (ten-year old) "Ruby" herself.

The characters brought to life by this author are very authentic, likable, and full of little quirks that make them unique. Ruby's expression, "Good garden of peas!" is now a permanent part of my vocabulary.

The letters, written from Ruby to her grandmother and back again, are laugh-out-loud funny and give the read
Jul 13, 2014 Brooke rated it really liked it
Ruby lives in one of those idyllic southern towns where everyone knows everyone and has a hand in raising the kids. Ruby has lost her grandfather to a car accident, and now her best-fried grandmother is taking off to visit another grandchild in Hawaii. How will Ruby survive the bullying of another girl whose father was lost in the same accident? Wonderful book that explores friendship, loss and forgiveness - of not only others but of yourself.
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Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama and spent her summers in a small Mississippi town with an extended family full of characters. She writes about them and they live on in her stories.

She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and taught at Towson University in Maryland, Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Vermont College.

Deborah has written three novels about growing up in
More about Deborah Wiles...

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“Life does go on.” 10 likes
“Good garden of peas!” 3 likes
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