Whenever Oprah announces a new book club selection, it’s big news. A lot of readers consider Oprah’s choices to be “must-reads.” And Oprah seems especially passionate about her latest book, Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Here she is announcing the selection:
Like so many other readers, after seeing Oprah’s powerful reaction to Ruby, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy! I was fortunate enough to receive a copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. As I began the book, my main question was whether this book would have appeal for young adult readers. I was seeking a coming-of-age theme, an adolescent main character, first love, a high-interest premise / fast-paced plot, or all of the above.
In other words, could Ruby be considered a contender for an Alex Award, which annually honors ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adult readers? Is it the type of book that would be reviewed on Adult Books 4 Teens, a blog that recommends the best books published for the adult market that appeal to teen readers?
The verdict? While Ruby is a rich and intricate novel, it is ultimately not one that will be a go-to recommendation for teens. The very mature themes (e.g., the legacy of racism), harrowing sexual violence, and the novel’s incompatibility with the teen-appeal categories I mentioned above are among the reasons why. I will keep a copy in the Ridley High School Library, mainly for staff members who have discovered the book by way of Oprah, or for mature readers who enjoy the works of Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat.