Title: The Beat on Ruby’s Street
Author: Jenna Zark
Publisher: Dragon Moon Press
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 197 (PDF file)
Age Recommendation: 10
How I came across the book: A review request!
The last thing eleven-year-old Ruby Tabeata expected to happen on her way to a Jack Kerouac reading was to be hauled to the police station.
It’s 1958 and Ruby is the opposite of a 1950s stereotype: fierce, funny and strong willed, she is only just starting to chart her course in a family of Beat Generation artists in Greenwich Village. Ruby dreams of meeting famous poets while becoming one herself; instead, she’s accused of trying to steal fruit from a local vendor and is forced to live in a children’s home. As Ruby struggles to return to family and friends, she learns her only choice is to follow her heart.
Join Ruby’s journey as she finds unexpected friendships, the courage to rebel against unjust authority and the healing power of art in this inspiring middle-grade novel by Jenna Zark. ~ From the Publisher
This story is about a girl named Ruby who lives in the 1940/50s. The story follows her as she struggles her way through an important event in her life. Honestly this book surprised me. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. Ruby is a young poet and that’s pretty cool. Very few MG books are about or include poetry. I think that’s a shame because poetry is fluid and mysterious and deserves more credit. I especially love how the author incorporates the poetry into Ruby’s life. You can see where it stems from but you don’t exactly know what it’s about, if that makes any sense.
Another thing I loved about this book was the storytelling. The author built up maybe not a complex world, but filled the world with complex characters with complex stories that gave the world its depth. Ruby’s view was very childlike but also understanding. What I mean by this is that she had the innocence of a child but she understood much more than what the adults gave her credit for. She had many flaws and she doubted herself and blamed herself for things that weren’t necessarily her fault. No character was put on a pedestal and given a medal for being “perfect” or “bad”. Each character had both good and bad and human in them.
There especially was some important historical events foreshadowing in this book. It also was sort of inspired by the ‘Beats’–a group I had never heard of until I read this book. There were diverse characters and not everyone got a happy ending at the end. Characters were forced to make decisions that may have been for the best, but they were not the best that could’ve happened.
Another thing I liked was the storytelling was very fluid, intertwined, fast and realistic. I could would believe it if someone told me that this was based on a true story. I especially liked how things from the beginning happened at the end. It sort of reminded me of some melancholy movie you might see.
And they do. Read, talk, argue, laugh, sing, and read again. Elise reads about loving someone who won’t love you back, and Diane reads about a baby inside her and what the baby will find when it comes out.
Adults are always tired except when they want to go somewhere.
I’m eating the most incredible-tasting raisins I’ve ever had in my life.