The only thing I didn't love about Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace was finishing it, because then it was over and I had to leave her world. Lucky you, you can still look forward to it.
If you want the perfect book to read while you lie in your hammock this summer, even if it's only the summer hammock of your mind, get Diamond Ruby. (And then you're going to want to pass it on, so you may want to buy an extra.)
I don't want to give much away, but I'll say this: Joseph Wallace's inspiration for his book was Jackie Mitchell, who was signed (in 1931) to an all male-team in an all male baseball league in Tennessee. She struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. A few days later, the baseball commissioner banned her (and all women) from the league on the grounds that the sport was "too strenuous" for women.
Diamond Ruby begins in 1913 Brooklyn, when Ruby Thomas is seven, and then shoots us into 1920's New York in a manner which, for me, captured the danger and wildness of that era in a way I've never experienced. Ruby's story is half fairy-tale, and half knuckle-biting suspense (there were times towards the end when my stomach did actual flip-flops.) This book never lectures, but it teaches, in the best way, about the world girls lived in before the doors of opportunity creaked open.
This story drew me in, then captured me and then rocketed to an intense ‘gotta know.' Finally, in my best Brooklyn ‘fuggeda bout it' I put everything away until I finished the story. This is the book I'm forcing into my daughter's, sister's, cousins, and friend's hands. You can share it with your 14-year-old daughter and your 84 year-old Grandma, and even though I guess it's a baseball story, neither of them has to care a fig about baseball (I don't-although now I may start.)
Truth in posting: I am not a sports fan, but I am a rabid fan of sports movies, fromSlapshot to Any Given Sunday (something my husband still finds baffling-he who can't get me to watch even three minutes of football.) I am not usually a YA fan (not that I think this is even vaguely a YA book, but some might try to box it and thus push it out of sight) though A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my most beloved book.
Diamond Ruby may be A Tree Grows In Brooklyn meets Any Given Sunday.
The author, Joe Wallace, a friend from Twitter and Facebook, wrote a post for this blog on Monday. He wrote about the courage it took to write in a female voice (a child and teenager's female voice.) Joe, you did the voice proud.
This is a book I wished I'd never read, so I could still look forward to reading it. This is a book I wish I'd had when I was 13-years-old. This is a book that was a perfect read for me right now.
You're so lucky to have it in front of you.
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