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Saving Ruby King

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,622 ratings  ·  823 reviews
Set in the South Side of Chicago, an epic, enthralling story of a young woman determined to protect her best friend while a long-buried secret threatens to unravel both their families.

Family. Faith. Secrets. Everything in this world comes full circle.

When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of vio
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 16th 2020 by Park Row
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  3,622 ratings  ·  823 reviews


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Chelsea Humphrey
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Saving Ruby King is an engrossing, authentic, and timely interpretation of a journey in the African American community in Chicago. While this is a fictional tale, the author has stated that she inserted much of her own experience into this book, as she is both black and the daughter of a pastor, born and raised in Chicago's south side. This book is truly complex, touching on the racial divide throughout Chicago's borders, the autobiographical experience she had as a member of the black church co ...more
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars
Saving Ruby King is a powerful story that explores some heavy topics with trauma and domestic violence while weaving a mystery with a family saga that spans over decades, bonds and loyalty through friendship and gives a voice to racial injustice.

Through the voices of a few characters, Catherine Adel West tells us what it is like for a black community of faith living on the South Side of Chicago while painting a clear picture for us. She writes with empathy, grace and gives hope while e
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Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3 stars. Thought-provoking and timely.

An intimate look into a young black girls’ life torn apart by the violent murder of her mother. Left to live with her abusive father, Ruby is devastated by her mother’s death and searching for answers. Long hidden family secrets surface as Ruby’s best friend, Layla, and their community come together to unravel details buried in the community’s past.

The author did an excellent job providing insight into Ruby and Layla’s thoughts and emotions. The various pers
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Rene Denfeld
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit this is good. What an astonishing book. Catherine Adel West is remarkably talented, and brings to life such an important story. In this world—as in the real world—danger is not fictional. Politics are not just theory. And safety is an illusion. This is one the best novels I've ever read. I hope everyone reads it. ...more
Brandice
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family and friendship are at the center of Saving Ruby King, which follows 24 year old Ruby, in the wake of her greatest loss.

The story predominately takes place on the South Side of Chicago. Ruby’s violent father, Lebanon, her best friend, Layla, Layla’s father and pastor of their church, Jackson, and the church itself, Cavalry, are additional characters whose perspectives are shared. I liked Layla the most and thought it was really cool and original that the church was its own character.

Savi
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Elle
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elle by: Chelsea Humphrey
Shelves: 2020
I picked this up because Chelsea and @bostonbookfanatic had been talking it up like crazy. For some reason when I first saw the cover I assumed it was historical fiction? Maybe that’s because it features a silhouette of a woman in a long(ish) dress, and that’s basically the period-drama cover template.

Thankfully it’s not historical, Saving Ruby King is a work of contemporary YA fiction set in modern day Chicago. Though it’s been tagged as a Thriller, if you’re looking for a traditional whodunnit
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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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SAVING RUBY KING is a book that sneaks up on you with its emotional intensity. At first, it's a bit hard to get into because there are so many POVs and characters, but all of them are carefully intertwined into the story, forming a tapestry that ends up serving as a microcosm of the African American community in Chicago, and their stories represent a number of really complex themes, from cycles of violence and abuse, to how friends can e
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Michelle
4 amazing stars for this brilliant debut!

Get your highlighters ready! This is one of those books where you are completely captivated by the author's writing. Ms. West's mastery of the written word is clearly evident and you will need to add her as an auto buy author for the future.

This is not a criticism of the book, but a warning to readers who have read the summary. This is NOT a mystery/thriller. This is very much an exploration of a place, its people and secrets that were kept long ago that
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Larry H
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Powerful and timely, Saving Ruby King really packs a punch.

On Chicago’s South Side, a wife and mother is murdered one night in her own home. While some dismiss this as just another act of violence in a city riddled with it, the woman’s daughter, Ruby, is struck with grief.

Ruby knows her mother took abuse from her father in an effort to protect her. She was the glue that kept the family tenuously together, and without her, Ruby is in danger both physically and psychologically.

As Ruby tries to
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Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio 4 Stars

I love a full cast audiobook and all except one 1 narrator gave a 5 star performance. The narrator I was not impressed with was the one used for Layla. Her performance was mostly stiff and unnatural.

Story 2.5 Stars

Not bad for a debut novel, but it did come off a preachy and soapboxy especially when it came to race.
Jennifer Blankfein
Wow! An incredible debut novel. Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West is about the bond of female friendship, the road to redemption and the importance of the church in a black community in Chicago. I was rooting for Ruby King, a young girl who loses her mother, Alice to murder. She has lived a difficult life and is searching for strength. While the church community suspects Ruby’s violent father, Lebanon may have killed her mother, her best friend, Layla is the only one who understands the da ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
4.5 stars
This is a stunning debut novel. West's words are both nuanced and relatable. There are so many sections that are timely to the events going on in today's world with Black people and their relationship with the police. The fact that this book was written before the recent events involving George Floyd shine a spotlight on the fact that, while it may be a new fight for many people, this is nothing new for Black people. I highlighted so many passages that made me stop and ponder these live
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Leesa
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blurbed
LOVED IT. BLURBED IT. A gem!

"Told with teeth and tenderness, SAVING RUBY KING is a surprising, pedal-down debut that explores what happens when the fabrics of family, faith, and friendship snag on violent machinations of the heart. Redemption and survival share a pew with reckoning and hope here, all tangled up with the ties that bind. Catherine Adel West gifts us Chicago, the black church, and a choir of flawed, wonderfully complicated characters who flash fresh with every turn of the page, who
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Amanda Hupe
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
Thank you NetGalley, Catherine Adel West, and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the opportunity to read this book!

Saving Ruby King is a poignant debut novel by Catherine Adel West. It is difficult to decide where to begin with this story, I could never do it justice in a brief synopsis. So let’s start with Alice King. Alice King is married to Lebanon King and they have a daughter named Ruby. Lebanon is abusive to both mother and daughter. Alice does her best to keep it under wraps, meanwhile, her d
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Tucker
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel so fortunate when I discover a great new author and Catherine West has written the most stunning debut novel I’ve read so far this year. Set on the south side of Chicago, the novel examines the effects of domestic violence, murder, and racism on several generations. At first glance it would seem that West was very prescient in the writing of her novel, but police brutality and the murder of black people have been happening for years. The novel is not only extremely topical but West’s writ ...more
Denise
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a poignant read for this time in which we are living. I cannot believe this is a debut work from Catherine Adel West - it is phenomenal! I laughed, I cried, I experienced all the feels while reading this one and was sad to reach the final page and to say goodbye to its characters.

The book opens with Ruby's mother's murder, and Ruby's best friend, Layla's fear concerning Ruby's own safety. Layla’s father, Jackson, is the pastor of the local church, where Ruby's mother spent much of her time
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Nursebookie
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful debut novel, beautifully written that brought intense emotions about family, friendships, and the church of a community in Chicago’s South Side. An eye opening story for me that examines loyalties, cycles of abuse and childhood trauma. This book really shines a light on our current situation that makes this a must read.
Mallory
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this emotional debut novel so much. It was perfect for the times and was completely realistic. The format jumps in time and narrator but it was all clearly labeled and easy to follow and by the end all of the perspectives and stories painted a single picture. The characters were all flawed which made them realistic but the bonds of friendship and family were fascinating. I loved that the church involved in the story also got a voice and spoke of the people inside the halls. It’s hard to ...more
Kristy
Ruby King is twenty-four-years-old when her mother, Alice, is found murdered in the home she shared with Ruby and Ruby's father, Lebanon. The police show little interest in--to them--another death in the King's black neighborhood, but Alice's death unhinges Ruby and leaves her alone with her violent, abusive father. Her only confidante is her best friend, Layla, who knows how long Alice and Ruby have suffered under Lebanon's wrath. But Layla is angry that Ruby won't do more to get away from Leba ...more
Robin Loves Reading
Even though I was invited to read this book by the publisher back in May, I let so much time go that I ended up downloading Saving Ruby King via Audible. With six narrators, I knew that I would have some very interesting hours ahead of me.

This #ownvoices debut novel was written long before the death of George Floyd, but recent events definitely flavored my intense interest in this book.

When twenty-four year old Ruby King’s mother is murdered in their home, Ruby's already tragic life takes a
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Ellie Clayton
4.5 stars!
This is such a phenomenal novel, and the fact that it is a debut is even more impressive! This book was a bit out of my comfort zone, as it was definitely not an easy book to read... it is extremely heavy (trigger warnings for emotional, physical, and sexual abuse) - but it is so important, relevant, and is still ultimately hopeful. It is also very literary, so it took me longer than usual to read to appreciate the beautiful language. The characters were very well-developed; I adored R
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Jypsy
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Harlequin, Park Row, BookClubbish and Catherine Adel West for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saving Ruby King
By: Catherine Adel West


REVIEW ☆☆☆☆☆

"She(Alice) had too much faith. It's what we learn in church, that if you have enough God in you, you can pray to Him and He can move mountains and shape circumstances and do great miracles on your behalf. You just have to believe enough. And Mom believed God would change Lebanon, bu
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Lisa
Nov 29, 2020 marked it as unable-to-finish
The writing is heavy-handed and YA-like. And at page 135 I was just bored.
Lulu
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing, remarkable debut from the author! This is a phenomenal story about redemption and survival. Catherine Adel West wrote her a** off! The characters are so well written you’re actually able to empathize with the people you’re supposed to hate. Definitely an emotionally intense ride that won’t let you go until the very last page.
Michelle
4.5 stars

This book was so deep. Saving Ruby King deals with generational trauma and how the sins of the past hurt us in the present. I thought it was clever of Adel West to include the church as a character in this novel as the church is the center of the Black community. In Saving Ruby King we get to see the hopes and dreams of the families as they arrive in Chicago during the Great Migration. We get to see them as their hopes are shattered through racist policy. We also get to see how the comm
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Maxwell
Dec 04, 2020 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-authors
DNF @ 40%. For me, the writing was too on the nose. Either she told the reader way too much, assuming they wouldn't be able to read between the lines, or the characters (who all sort of sound the same) would go on paragraphs-long soliloquies about sociopolitical topics that clearly the author believes. I have no issue with the content of her writing at all—I actually agreed with a lot of what the characters said—however, it didn't feel like they were characters anymore, but mouthpieces for the a ...more
Laura • lauralovestoread


Saving Ruby King was such a timely read on race that takes place in dual timeline Chicago, from present day to the 1960’s, as the mother of Ruby King is murdered. Author Catherine Adel West brought this story to life through many POVs within the Black community and I loved how small details of the mystery within the story are slowly revealed.⁣

It’s a powerful generational story that spans over the course of three generations. This book holds so much emotion, and the writing is so good. There ar
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Isabel • The Crime Bookshelf
3.5 STARS

Thank you so much to Park Row Books for the gifted finished copy of Saving Ruby King and for a stop on the Bookstagram tour! 💛 This is an incredibly powerful debut and you guys will definitely want to get your hands on this one 🙌🏼 Saving Ruby King is out NOW so make sure to go grab a copy!

•••

MINI REVIEW:

I thought this was an incredibly solid debut novel 🙌🏼 Catherine Adel West’s writing was so compelling and I will absolutely be picking up whatever she writes in the future. This book wa
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Krista
Rating: 4 thought-provoking stars

This debut book by Catherine Adel West pulled me in on the first pages, and did not let up much at all throughout the whole book. It’s window into the lives of three generations of African Americans living in Chicago. It is told from multiple perspectives. Even the solid old church that anchors this community has a voice in the goings on.

Based on the cover, I thought that this was a work of historical fiction set in the 1800’s. There is some historical fiction,
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Sonica
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler alert: this book was INCREDIBLE
Thank you Harper Collins and Netgalley for my digital copy of Saving Ruby King, in exchange for my honest review. This title published June 16, 2020.

What an incredible DEBUT!

A timely read given everything that has been going in the world on lately and a read so compelling I am certain this story with stick with me for a while.

Catherine Adel West does an impeccable job at bringing this story to life - a story about racial divide, domestic abuse and growing u
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Catherine Adel West is an editor living and working in Chicago. She graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Her work is published in Black Fox, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805 Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket and Gay Magazine. Saving Ruby King is her first novel.

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