17 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Robin and Ruby by K.M. Soehnlein

This is one of those books that I picked up simply because it was free at the time and I was looking for something to read. Sometimes, that works out really well and other time… not so much. This is one of those good times.

The book is set in the dog days of Summer in the 1980s. The days of AIDs, bad hair and even worst outfits were upon us. We follow brother and sister, Robin and Ruby, through a weekend of their lives where they try to find out who they really are and what they really want out of their lives. For both, it may be the most unexpected thing.

The writing is absolutely gorgeous, it keeps a slow and modest pace – instead of barreling 300 miles per hour through the story, it’s like a nice Sunday drive in the country, pointing small things out you may not have seen otherwise.

The storyline is well done. It’s not some big mystery, just a simple little story. For those uncomfortable with it, it has some sex in it (gay and straight), but it’s not constant or gratuitous, just part of the story unfolding.

Overall, I’d recommend it to those that enjoyed reading Raising Jake. While not similar in storyline or context, the writing is very similar, that same slow, yet perfect, pace.

In his award-winning bestseller The World of Normal Boys, K.M. Soehnlein introduced readers to the richly compelling voice of teenager Robin MacKenzie. In Robin and Ruby, he revisits Robin and his younger sister, masterfully depicting the turbulence of the mid-1980s–and that fleeting time between youth and adulthood, when everything we will become can be shaped by one unforgettable weekend.At twenty-years-old, Robin MacKenzie is waiting for his life to start. Waiting until his summer working at a Philly restaurant is over and he’s back with his boyfriend Peter. . .until the spring semester when he’ll travel to London for an acting program. . .until the moment when the confidence he fakes starts to feel real.

Then, one hot June weekend, Robin gets dumped by his boyfriend and quickly hits the road with his best friend George to find his teenaged sister, Ruby, who’s vanished from a party at the Jersey Shore. For years, his friendship with George has been the most solid thing in Robin’s life. But lately there are glimpses of another George, someone Robin barely knows and can no longer take for granted.

Ruby is on an adventure of her own, dressing in black, declaring herself an atheist, pulling away from the boyfriend she doesn’t love–not the way she loves the bands whose fractured songs are the soundtrack to her life. Then a chance encounter puts Ruby in pursuit of a seductive but troubled boy who might be the key to her happiness, or a disaster waiting to happen.

As their paths converge, Robin and Ruby confront the sadness of their shared past and rebuild the bonds that still run deep. In prose that is lyrical, compulsively readable, and exquisitely honest, K.M. Soehnlein brilliantly captures a family redefining itself and explores those moments common to us all–when freedom bumps up against responsibility, when sex blurs the line between friendship and love, and when what you stand for becomes more important than who you were raised to be.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2010: 33
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