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Ruby on the Outside

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,254 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Ruby’s mom is in prison, and to tell anyone the truth is to risk true friendship in this novel that accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked.

Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school, and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, most secret secret: her mother is in prison.

Then Margalit Tipps moves into Ruby’s condo complex, and
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Liz I can't say that I am 100% positive there was no swearing but I certainly don't remember any. I finished yesterday.
Liz Just read this yesterday. I read it in about 2 hours, great quick read. I actually really liked the cover. Everyone has different tastes but don't…moreJust read this yesterday. I read it in about 2 hours, great quick read. I actually really liked the cover. Everyone has different tastes but don't judge this one by its cover, well worth the read.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,254 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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Samantha Stronge
Jun 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I wish I could give this book four stars, because the story was really great. I loved it's simplicity, but that it had such emotional depth. I think it is a perfect book to offer girls going through that transitional phase from middle grade to YA literature.
That being said, the editing--or lack thereof--almost ruined the book for me. The first half of the book had minimal mistakes (a misplaced comma, nothing big), but the second half of the book was like the editor didn't even bother. Words
Nora Baskin
Jun 27, 2017 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I've never written a comment or review of my own book before..But I need to share with everyone how heartbroken I am about the many many typos in the first edition hardcover of this book. I worked very hard and put so much of my heart into this book . (if you want to read a post about just what Ruby meant to me:
It took all my friends and a lot of help to find and fix the many mistakes and then make sure my publishers corrected them for the second printing
Carrie Gelson
A different kind of grieving - for a way family might have been. A story of courage and secrets and friendship. Would make a wonderful book club title.
Francesca Forrest
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This short book for middle grade readers handles its topic (the incarceration of a parent) with sensitivity and empathy. Ruby's evolving feelings of shame, longing, and anger are believably portrayed. Ruby deals with them all in the context of a budding first best-friendship. Ruby has never mentioned to anyone that her mother is in prison. What would her friend Margalit think if Margalit knew? Especially if, as Ruby begins to suspect, Margalit's family is somehow connected with her mother's ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Adorable to the max.

Some might say that this story ties out too neatly, but I couldn't help thinking that Ruby deserves that on a way.

There are impressive twists and turns for a little book, and the characters have so much depth. I LOVED Margalit and Matoo.

This book is so important, especially for those young people, many of whom I teach, who come from families with histories, errors in judgment, or less than storybook pasts.

The themes in this book are so important: independence, forgiveness,
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book felt so real. My heart went out to Ruby. Thank goodness for the amazing people we often meet in our lives. I look forward to reading more by this author.
jill becker
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ruby on the Outside is a sensitive and compassionate story about what it is like to be a child with a parent that is incarcerated. Baskin does what she does so well, brings us to the story through the eyes of 11 year old Ruby. Through the relationships with her Aunt, her incarcerated mother and her new best friend; the story unfolds. Nora Raleigh Baskin gets kids, how they talk to each other, how they relate to grown-ups and how they feel deep inside. She explores beautifully, with the utmost ...more
"...just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. And just because you don't remember something doesn't mean you don't miss it."
Richie Partington
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: RUBY ON THE OUTSIDE by Nora Raleigh Baskin, Simon & Schuster, June 2015, 164p., ISBN: 978-1-4424-8503-7

“Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for”
-- Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager

“But just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. And just because you don’t remember something doesn’t mean you don’t miss it. And just because you are used to something doesn’t mean it’s normal.”

Eleven-year-old Ruby
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Will add more when it arrives.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
It has arrived. Guess I better start reading it now.


Saturday, June 20, 2015
Am enjoying this story immensely thus far. However, I am quite bothered
Gabi Coatsworth
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
AN unusual book for middle grade children, I think, though I don't read many, so I can't be sure. I found this story of an 11-year-old girl with a mother sentenced to 25 years in prison to be very convincing and gripping. It addresses a number of questions: What loyalty does a child owe a mother she will only see once a week until she's 31 years old? What will happen if Ruby tells her friends that she has a mother in prison? What makes a true friendship? How can you have a family with a mother ...more
Garrett Gaudin
This is a good book that I think many people would like. Ruby's mom is take in a facility center and she can barely ever see her. No one knows that Ruby's mom isn't with her. Until a new girl moves in to her complex. Will all her secrets be revealed. Will she lose a friend she just made. Read Ruby on the Outside. The book is good for all readers and makes you realize what it may be like to have a mom who's in prison. I rate this book 5/5 stars.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored Ruby and her story--riveting, suspenseful, sweet, and kind. That is an unusual and very winning combination.
I did not want the book to end and think Nora Baskin should write a sequel or a series. Ruby lets the reader inside and you come away wanting to be a better person because you have come to know her. The dedication is absolutely fabulous too!
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-kid-fiction
What a cool story about a young girl dealing with life on the outside while the most important woman in her life is on the inside. Excellent story. Great read aloud!
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Captures what it must feel like to have a parent in prison - the shame, loneliness, and anger. An excellent addition to the library for those students experiencing separation from a parent.
Janie Lee
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good and heartwarming story. :) :) :)
As I often tell my preservice teachers, there are not many books for children featuring characters in prison or families dealing with an incarcerated family member. That makes this book particularly useful since it fills a gap but does so in a way that intermediate or middle graders may find quite appealing. Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is set for another boring summer right before starting middle school when she meets Margalit Tipps at the condo pool, and everything starts to change. For the ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I loved this book. It is about a young girl named Ruby. I think this book will help a lot of young people. Ruby's mom is in prison. The book talks about all of Ruby's experiences and feelings about her mom being in prison. It goes from her not understanding why her mother can't come home right now, to her finding out exactly why her mother is in prison. Ruby never tells anyone her mom is in prison, and she feels like she has to lie to her new friend. Ruby doesn't have many friends (none really) ...more
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Christina Hanson
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Just because you are used to something doesn't mean it's normal." What a powerful quote from eleven-year-old Ruby in Nora Raleigh Baskin's book Ruby on the Outside. Ruby is about to start middle school, and doesn't have many friends. But when she meets Margalit, the two instantly hit it off! They go to the pool, over to each others' houses, and even write and illustrate a story together. But Ruby has a dark secret: her mom is in prison. Will this secret hurt her and Margalit's new friendship? ...more
Ava Pratt
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Ruby is a very independent 5th grader her mom is in jail and her Matoo (her aunt) doesn't often get involved with anything that Ruby does, like school. Ruby meets her new best friend and unfolds many secrets as her journey continues. I gave this book 3 stars because the beginning of the story is very detailed and interesting, but closer to the end I couldn't really follow her. I would recommend this book, Ruby on the outside to those who enjoy mystery and realistic fiction. This book was a quick ...more
Scott Fillner
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story. I found myself stopping to reflect, retread, and make connections. This is a book that you want to read with someone else, so that you can have rich discussions as you read. It is also a book that has you stopping to as if you just want to keep on reading and devouring, or if you want to slow down and savor every page? I highly recommend this book to others. In the right hands, this may really help put into words what others may be thinking and feeling. It may also give ...more
Molly Dettmann
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a sweet story about a girl dealing with life while her mother is in prison. I thought the author did a fantastic job of capturing the hope, dreams, and insecurities of an 11-year-old while also tackling what it is like to have an incarcerated parent mixed in with the development of a new friendship. Ruby is a sweet kid, and I especially enjoyed how for a quick read, this book had a lot of depth in terms of what is fair in the world, consequences for actions, and what Ruby deals with because ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-the-middle
This is a powerful book, and because of its emotional content and shorter word length, an excellent choice for reluctant readers (one of my students had never finished a book before "Ruby"). Over 10 million children have a parent who is either currently incarcerated or has been incarcerated. This book tells these children they are not alone, and also helps others empathize with what it is like to be separated from a parent. Highly recommended for upper elementary, middle school, and even high ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fine. It was a nice short read, but I thought the plot could have been more interesting. Although the author did put in some suspense or things to wonder for the reader. The writing itself was pretty good. I thought the character, Ruby was good and well built and you could see her emotions really well. The friendship she developed was great. Overall, the book was perfectly fine, and I would recommend it, but not as highly as some others.
This is the 2nd book I've read this month about a child with a mother in prison. Sadly, that is becoming more and more common with our current drug epidemic. 11 year old Ruby doesn't want anyone to know. She finally makes a best friend she wants to confide in, but it seems she may be related to the victim of her mother's crime. Ruby may soon realize what friendship truly means. Powerful story that offers more "windows and mirrors" for our students to see into.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book, although it took some time to get into it. Ruby deals with her mother's prison sentence from a young age. This book shows how she had adjusted to her mother's prison sentence and her reactions to visiting her mother throughout the book, but also has to figure out what to do when she finds out that her new best friend might be connected to her mom's case. The end was powerful and showed how much Ruby has grown over the course of her short life.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book did an excellent job of introducing readers to a touchy topic. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to have a loved one in jail, but this book gave me a glimpse into the pain and confusion that children who have an incarcerated parent might feel.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an easy middle grade read about a girl and her processing the fact that her mom
is in prison and trying to have a best friend which doesn't judge her home life.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is very good. Kind of sad. And that is all...
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Realistic Fiction 1 5 Sep 14, 2015 04:53PM  

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I am seriously an open book. I've been writing semi-autiobiographical fiction since I was in 6th grade (1972) then, in 2001, Little, Brown published my first middle grade novel, about my life in 6th grade! titled "What Every Girl (except me) Knows." Sixteen years and thirteen books later, that still, pretty much sums things up.
“But just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. And just because you don't remember something doesn't mean you don't miss it. And just because you are used to something doesn't mean it's normal" -Ruby” 3 likes
“You can not know any better and still know you don't like something" -Ruby” 2 likes
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