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Diamond Ruby

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  594 Ratings  ·  183 Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Ruby Thomas, newly responsible for her two young nieces after a devastating tragedy, is determined to keep her family safe in the vast, swirling world of 1920s New York City. She’s got street smarts, boundless determination, and one unusual skill: the ability to throw a ball as hard as the greatest pitchers in a baseball-mad city.From Coney Island sidesh ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Touchstone
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Jun 29, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
For those who love baseball, Diamond Ruby is a must read. For those who love to fall into a book, Diamond Ruby is a must read. And for those who love both baseball and slipping into another world, Diamond Ruby is pure magic.

A truly captivating story inspired by Jackie Mitchell, a teenage pitcher who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig only to find herself (and all women) banned from baseball by then Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Diamond Ruby pulls you in and never lets go.

Taking place
Oct 11, 2014 Stacy rated it really liked it
This is one of my top reads for 2014. It's been a long time since I fell so completely in love with a character. I followed Ruby through tragedy, opportunity, suspense and victory and wished for more when it was finished. This takes place primarily in the twenties and thirties when baseball was THE American sport. Ruby's self-perceived handicap is what will save her family from the harsh life events they encounter. There were thrills and chills, villains aplenty and unlikely heroes. Diamond Ruby ...more
Krisette Spangler
Feb 18, 2015 Krisette Spangler rated it it was amazing
What a great read! You'll fall in love with Ruby Thomas, as you follow her struggles to feed her nieces after the Spanish Influenza takes most of her family. The characters were very well drawn, and the story was fantastic. I couldn't believe this was Mr. Wallace's first fiction novel. Go ahead and pick up your copy today. You won't regret it.
Erika Robuck
Dec 22, 2011 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing
Set in the twenties in New York City, Diamond Ruby is the story of a young woman thrust into the role of caregiver for her family after the devastating Spanish influenza epidemic. With a combination of fierce love for her nieces, stubbornness, and a baseball pitch as good as any Major League player, Ruby manages to take care of her family, shatter stereotypes, and inspire suffragists by playing in an all male league.

It doesn’t take long, however, for predators from the KKK, to Prohibition rumrun
Sonia Reppe
Jun 24, 2012 Sonia Reppe rated it it was ok
Beautiful cover, just OK writing. I picked this up because the main character is a teenage girl, but surprisingly it turns out to be too much of a guys book.

First, I am annoyed by historical fiction that is populated by famous characters; it's just not real to me. In this case it is Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey that have big roles (but plenty other famous people make an appearance too).

Second, I got tired of all the baseball in the second half; it got repetitive and it didn't help me know Ruby o
Jul 04, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
To say I'm surprised that I really liked this book, let alone loved it, is an understatement. I'm not a sports fan and I don't know diddly about baseball. But I do love a well-told story, and let me just say that Diamond Ruby is a wonderful story that's very well told indeed!

Ruby Thompson stole my heart--a bright and talented and sympathetic character, she beat the odds on a multitude of levels. Set against the backdrop of 1920s New York, this novel is rich in history, and it is also human and h
Kellyann Zuzulo
Diamond Ruby resonated for me in a way that few books do. Joe Wallace weaves a tale so lush with imagery and emotion that I not only felt I visited New York in the youth of the 20th century, but that I personally met his characters.
Ruby Thomas really is a gem. She's the star of this novel and you'll want to hold her hand as she embarks on a startling and determined path from a childhood that crystallizes her focus on the value in life. I won't give away the details, but from the very beginnin
Neil Shurley
Aug 16, 2010 Neil Shurley rated it it was amazing
Twitter's a funny thing. I first read about this book on Twitter, in the conversations between other authors and readers. Soon I was following this author (@joe_wallace) and the praise for the book continued. I finally bought it, expecting to read a tale of a gal who played baseball against Babe Ruth. What I got was a book that sucked me into its world. At once thoughtful, informative and entertaining, Diamond Ruby lives in a very real cross section of 1920s America. Filled with great period det ...more
Christine Woods
Mar 18, 2015 Christine Woods rated it it was amazing
Ruby Thomas is a "diamond". Ruby, at a very young age, was called upon to endure so much in a very difficult era of life. Time and time again Ruby steps up to the "plate" and does what needs to be done to protect herself and the two small girls left in her care to survive. Thank-you Joseph Wallace for such a delightful and exciting book. The story never drags and is full of excitement and history. Diamond Ruby is a must read and one of my all time favorites.
Stephanie Woods
Mar 06, 2015 Stephanie Woods rated it really liked it
I actually enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I would. Joseph Wallace's writing is refreshing and superb. The character building was great and I was completely sucked into the story. I don't read a lot of baseball related books, because to is quite boring. But this book is far from boring and it really shed's a light on not just baseball set in the 1920's, but also about prohibition, and the Ku Klux Klan. Great read!
May 22, 2015 lucy rated it really liked it
What a wonderful book of historic fiction. Would especially be great reading for young girls ((and this 71 year old girl). Moderately uncomplicated plot but with some nice twists and turns and characters that you can almost see on the pages. It takes some real historical figures and twists them into the fictional story of this young girl's life in NYC In the 1920's. The venue is baseball, and although important, it's not the star of this book - Diamond Ruby is and her conquering spirit.
Apr 15, 2015 Gayle rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a contest in 2010, and it has been sitting in my bookcase since than. I wish I had read it as soon as I got it, because I would have had 5 years of wonderful memories of this book. It starts out simple enough at a baseball game, but picks up speed when the flu epidemic hits New York in 1920 and changes Ruby Thomas' life in ways you could not guess. My heart went out to hear when she was hunting squirrel to feed herself and her nieces as well as when she falls prey to all the v ...more
Dec 21, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it
This is ordinarily *not* the kind of book I'd pick up, but I'm glad I did. I have next to no interest in baseball, which is a big part of the story -- but it's so entertainingly written and so compelling that I really enjoyed it. Not to mention the fact that I ordinarily loathe fiction that incorporates actual historical characters. I take my hat off (or should that be my baseball glove?) to Joseph Wallace. Very nicely done.
Aug 30, 2014 Chicagoliz rated it really liked it
i really enjoyed this book, and I appreciate that overall, Mr. Wallace seems to do his research and gives us some good information about times and issues while giving us a good story (I also enjoyed his other novel, Invasive Species). There was, however, one error that threw me out of the story so thoroughly that I couldn't go back to reading it for a half an hour -- on page 361, I read the following line: "He lived on the South Side, not far from Wrigley Field." Oh, the travesty! Any Chicagoans ...more
Colleen Parker
Apr 29, 2015 Colleen Parker rated it really liked it
Though farfetched, this is a highly entertaining book and I recommend it as a pleasure read. The review on Goodreads said that it was closely based on a true story. Though loosely based on an actual event the main character is entirely fictional. There are some true historical events that occur in the story. This is covered in the afterward by the author.
Kate Durant
Jul 05, 2010 Kate Durant rated it liked it
I liked this book enough to recommend. It had solid writing and it made it easy to imagine you were right there. It made me want to learn more about Jackie Mitchell; and if the ban that Judge Landis put on women in baseball still exists today. I absolutely hated the ending, It should have there linked back to Jackie with a true strike out w the babe.
Jan 09, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok
On the cover it says it's comparable to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" -- that's an insult to Betty Smith. This one has a rail-thin plot and implausible situations. I wouldn't recommend this one. I wanted to like it and just couldn't. Silly stuff.
Susan Coster
Jan 11, 2015 Susan Coster rated it liked it
Ruby Thomas is only eight when she catches a fly ball at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn from Casey Stengel which triggers her love of the sport....However, Spanish influenza wipes out her beloved parents and siblings, leaving her to fend for her nieces and herself in hard times. Known as "Monkey Arms", Ruby gets a gig at a Cooney Island side show pitching at unheard of speeds. There, she attracts the attention of Babe Ruth and other players. Howver, Ruby gets caught up in the world of bootleggers and ...more
Sep 27, 2015 Kay rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
very good historical fiction!!!
Mar 09, 2011 Vicky rated it really liked it
All right, I will be the first person to admit I am not a huge fan of baseball. And maybe that’s the reason I had trouble getting “into” this book. But, I will also admit, that by the end of it, I was cheering for Ruby and really enjoying what I read.

The book is about a young woman growing up in 1920s Brooklyn. She is orphaned at age 13 by the death of her parents during the 1918 Spanish influenza. Her sister-in-law also dies leaving her to take care of her two young nieces. To say life was diff
Paul Pessolano
Jan 29, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
"Diamond Ruby" is the story of Ruby Thomas adn her coming of age in the 1920's, in Brooklyn, New York. Ruby's life was probably non-descript for her time, she was not any better off or worse than most people. Her life takes a sudden turn when an epidemic hits New York and Ruby loses everyone in her family except her brother-in-law and nieces.

Ruby, at the age of eighteen, takes control of the family and uses her skills to survive. She discovers that her lanky arms, she was called "monkey girl" in
Mar 01, 2011 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
When you finish a book and your are sad not to have it around anymore you know it is a good book. I absolutely loved this book! It's always great to read about girls who are heroes and defy all odds. Knowing little about New York in the early 1900's made the historical events the author chose to share not only interesting, but informative. Life was tough then, especially for women who were trying to fight for rights granted to men.
I have always been interested in Jackie Mitchell who is a real p
Aug 20, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Ruby Thomas is seventeen years old when she loses just about everything. In the wake of a heart-breaking tragedy, she is left to care for her two young nieces- somehow providing food, shelter, and safety for them in a time where those things can be hard to come by. Then, by chance, she is able to forge a life for them with the one instrument at her disposal, her wicked-fast pitch.

If you love baseball, you'll love this book. If you don't care about baseball, you'll still love this book. If you h
Jul 19, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
Whether your interest is baseball, Spanish Influenza in NYC, or women suffragettes, this book has something meaningful for you. At the age of 8 Ruby has the good fortune to catch a fly ball from the bat of Casey Stengel. It is her most prized possession until she tosses it in the sea to test her skill at throwing. Not only is her throwing powerful it is so accurate she can use this skill to feed her family by tossing rocks at squirrels, when there is no money to buy food. She looses part of her ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing
(Review written by the 13 year old boy member of our household, who is a fan!) Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace, a historical fiction baseball novel, was published by Touchstone in 2010. Diamond Ruby is a page-turner. It is full of suspense, and Wallace keeps you wondering what will happen in the main character’s life. The plot takes you into the world of 17 year-old Ruby Thomas, who is left in charge of her two young nieces when everyone else dies from influenza. She is looking for ways to suppor ...more
Aug 26, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: recent-reads
this is a story about a young girl, ruby, growing up in brooklyn circa 1925 that has unusually long arms. because of this, she is an extraordinary pitcher.

ruby's young life is marred by a spanish flu epidemic (which takes her mother, father and a brother) and a subway accident that claims her beautiful sister-in-law. this leaves ruby, age 17, in the custody of her brother that has long gone checked out emotionally after losing his wife. his two young girls, amanda and allie, become ruby's respon
June Ahern
Aug 22, 2010 June Ahern rated it really liked it
Joseph Wallace paints a unique personable story about a young girl who matures through the school of hard knocks. I rooted for her throughout the whole story.
The story is set in Brooklyn’s New York during the early mid 1900’s to the late 1920’s. It deals with social and political issues of the day making it more of interest to me: the prejudices against women and African Americans. Finding this of interest, the Wallace gives it “real life” through the Thomas family. The main character is Ruby T
Wisteria Leigh
Mar 13, 2011 Wisteria Leigh rated it really liked it
DIAMOND RUBY[return]Joseph Wallace,Touchstone, 2010, $25.00,pb, 464pp, 978-1-4391-6005-3.[return][return][return]Ruby Thomas, a child of seven catches a fly ball hit by Casey Stengel on April 5, 1913. As she looks at the ball she imagines herself a pitcher. Whether her unusually long arms often a source of ridicule, contribute to her success one will never know. Catching baseball fever that day, Ruby is destined to make a mark on the world. [return][return]Later, using a tree in her backyard as ...more
Karen Ball
Feb 13, 2011 Karen Ball rated it really liked it
Historical fiction set in 1920's New York! Ruby Thomas lives in Brooklyn, with her two nieces and her brother. She lost her parents, other siblings and sister-in-law to the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic, which also left her surviving brother somewhat brain damaged. Thus, Ruby is left to work and support the family herself at the age of 15. She has one unusual talent -- she can throw a baseball as fast and as accurately as any major league pitcher. But in the 1920s, no female was allowed to pla ...more
Feb 05, 2011 cecilia rated it really liked it
There is always something satisfying with reading about historical figures - especially females - who break boundaries and change the world for the better. Yes, even if it simply involves bringing women into a man's sport. It just gives me hope for the world - and a better appreciation of the world we live in today. I mean, Diamond Ruby is set in the 1920s - that's 90 years ago, and while that seems like a century ago, how many of us still know someone who can remember such a time where sports w ...more
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I am thrilled to announce that SLAVEMAKERS, the follow-up to my novel INVASIVE SPECIES, will be published by Ace Books on December 1!

Set twenty years after the apocalyptic events of
INVASIVE SPECIES ("You might want to read this one under the bed"--Jack McDevitt), SLAVEMAKERS was a blast to write. I loved being able to use some of the fascinating--not to mention creepy--facts I've learned during my
More about Joseph Wallace...

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