Sunday, June 14, 2020

Review: Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

Title: Saving Ruby King
Author: Catherine Adel West
Published: June 2020, Park Row Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 352 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

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 violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.

Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.

My thoughts: As soon as I heard about this book, I knew it was something I needed to read. Little did I know just how much I would end up loving it. This book is a hauntingly beautiful, yet powerful book that I know I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

I don't even think my review is going to do justice to how much I loved this book. There are just so many parts to this story that kept me glued to the pages - so many things that I cannot say for fear of giving something away - yet I will try to articulate some of my feelings here. 

One of my favorite parts of this story is just how complex the characters are and whether they were likeable or not - and believe me there are some unlikeable characters here - the way the story is crafted, your opinion of these characters is constantly changing. Just as I thought I had one character all figured out, something would come to light that would have me rethinking things...and I absolutely loved this. The whole book is structured this way - much like that of an onion, where the layers are ever so slowly peeled back to reveal what's inside.

This story explores the complicated history between two families and the secrets that have been kept thinking that it was in everyone's best interest. It is gripping and compelling and will have you see just how generational trauma and the cycle of violence can be carried on. It is hard not to feel all the emotions while reading this and yet there is the sense of hope throughout - hope that just maybe things can have a different outcome.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone and I think it would definitely make a fantastic book club read - there is so much to unpack here. I know I will absolutely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this talented author - for a debut novel, she hit it out of the park with this one!



  1. Its on the opening page of Netgalley this morning! Thanks for the review.

  2. The first time I read the synopsis of this book I immediately put this on my wishlist… I'm personally finding it not too accessible price wise here in the UK currently (hardback is like £20+), but definitely hope to get to this book soon - especially now having read your wonderful review.


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