Sunday, February 10, 2013

one of the those hideous books where the mother dies

Sones, Sonya. one of the those hideous books where the mother dies. New York: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004. Print.


With a name like Ruby, you'd think going to live in LA with a famous movie star would be a cake walk -- even if his name is Whip. 

Justification for Rejection:

Ruby Milliken, a fifteen-year-old girl from Boston, has to leave her boyfriend and best friend to go live with her father in Los Angeles after her mother dies. Rich and handsome, Whip Logan is a famous movie star that somehow is her father. It seems he divorced Ruby's mother soon after she was born, and she's never met him. If you have to have your mother die, acquiring a lifestyle of the rich and famous doesn't seem like such a bad consolation prize. 

It isn't. 

Ruby is a stereotypical teenage middle-class suburban white girl; her dad is a stereotypical heart-throb Hollywood movie star. Having left her mother after Ruby was born, Whip Logan is actually a nice guy that was just abiding her mother's wishes, but now that Ruby's mother has died, he wants to make it up to Ruby. She gets to live in Hollywood's version of a castle. She attends an exclusive high school for kids of the rich and famous. But Ruby misses her best friend and boyfriend back in Boston, who both miss her back, but predictably turn to each other for comfort (like any reader wouldn't see THAT coming). 

Ruby bonds with her dad's "personal assistant" who is a great guy and bridges the gap for Ruby to forge a relationship with her forgiveness-seeking father. The gay assistant turns out (of course), to be her dad's lover, and they all live happily ever after, (like any reader wouldn't see THAT coming). The fact that Ruby seems to miss her boyfriend and best friend more than she misses her recently deceased mother makes this verse novel miss the mark completely, abandoning one of the best opportunities to delve deeply into serious subject matter and take this into poetic territory. 

This verse novel also doesn't rhyme, have rhythm, isn't in iambic pentameter, doesn't possess any great prose, and would just be a little novel ready to be a Disney Channel movie if the sentences were simply formatted in paragraphs instead of dangling and left-justified with liberal use of white space in order to look like a poem.  

This verse novel is all shiny candy-cane surface. Thumb's down.

Genre: Poetry/Verse Novel 

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