Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
By Deb Caletti
It is summer in the Northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, and sixteen-year-old Ruby McQueen ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. But Ruby is in over her head, and finds she is risking more and more when she’s with him.
In an effort to keep Ruby occupied, Ruby’s mother Ann drags Ruby to the weekly book club she runs. When it is discovered that one of the group’s own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading, Ann and Ruby spearhead a reunion between the long-ago lovers. But for Ruby, this mission turns out to be much more than just a road trip. . .
“Love can come when you’re already who you are, when you are filled with you. Not when you look to someone else to fill the empty space.” Miz June said. “Not when it’s your definition.”
Wow, this book really does deserve to be A National Book Award Finalist. It’s got so much possible quotes that it was so hard to pick just one (especially in the end - the imagery!). I went with the quote above, though, because...well, I just like quotes on love in general.
It seems to me that there are two main plots in the story (as you can already tell from the description). First, there’s Ruby and Travis. She falls for him, but it’s not like her to do that kind of thing. As she mentioned, she felt that it was like a whole other person was talking and doing everything and she was also the one to make the first move. The reason? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out. Second, the Casserole Queens (a name given to the book club members). I have to say, I really, really, really loved them. Their conversations were so enjoyable and realistic! I loved their sense of humour and adventure, especially when they decide to do something exciting. It actually makes me want to join a book club.
In the beginning, it wasn’t difficult to relate to Ruby McQueen. She’s The Quiet Girl, but when she reads out loud, it sounds like there’s something more to her and people look at you with the softest concentration. But throughout the novel, she makes choices, foolish ones, and in the end, she sets herself to repair what she’s done.
The relationship between Ruby and her brother, Chip Jr. is amazing. At one point, they were fighting, like all siblings do, and then before you know it, they’re playing Things I Hate. I found myself laughing at the things Chip Jr. did. For example:
“Mooshie mooshie.” Chip Jr. made kissy noises my way. I whacked him. (p. 283)
You’ll find out what mooshie mooshie means, but that’s what made me laugh.
The end, oh my. It was absolutely perfect, but man, oh man, it was sad. Everything was resolved and complete, though, and I think that’s a good thing. The book also left me to ponder about a lot of things, especially love (the quote above made me really think). The whole time I was reading the book, I felt a sense of meaning and understanding, as if the novel was meant to do just that. Deb Caletti is one heck of a writer, that’s for sure.