Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: March 2008
Age Range: 12 and up
Source of copy: from publisher - S&S US
It is summer in the Northwest town of Nine Mile Fails, and sixteen year old Ruby McQueen , ordinary dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hangng ouy with gorgeous, rich, thrill- seeking Travis Becker. But Ruby is in over her head and starts risking more and more when she's with him.
In an effort to keep Ruby occupied, Ruby's mother, Ann, drags her to the weekly book club she runs. When it is discovered that one of the group's own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading. Ann and Ruby spearhead a reunion between the long ago lovers. But for Ruby, this mission turns out to be much more than just a road trip...
I'm not going to lie. It's really hard reviewing this book as well as rating it. Honey Baby Sweetheart just tore me apart. With its amazing parts knitting with the not-so-interesting moments, the book makes it quite impossible to decide whether it's a outshining or just an okay book.
First, let me start with what I love about the novel.
The tone of the narrator is exquisitely calm and collected. Fans of Sarah Dessen, like me, will definitely get absorbed into the story once Ruby voices. Everything just flowed slowly, step by step helped us discovers the characters and their hardships. Even anger and frustration were depicted elegantly; not once did I feel anything heavy at all. Also, there were a lot description and telling throughout the book, the majority of which was nicely written. Readers can also find a lot of hidden messages through random details - it surprised me that Deb Caletti delivered her thoughts in such a cool way, I bet lots of authors want to do the same thing as well.
My favorite of Honey Baby Sweetheart was the first few chapters where Ruby introduced everything about herself: her family, her routine, her incident that labeled her The Quiet Girl among the kids at school. The best thing off all was the union with her father. It made me feel as if I was living with the story and experienced every single ounce of the characters' thoughts and emotions. I was happy, I was mad, I was depressed in spite of not having encountered anything these people had to go through. I also loved Ruby's story of how she became a normal girl to one who didn't know what her true qualities were. It was real, like it could happen to any of us here without our realization. The matter of finding one's self could never get old and it became more complicated once someone stepped into the picture and gave Ruby the adjectives of her own personalities and she started to see herself the way he did.
What's more to look out for? The secret love of the author and one of the book club members. I thought it was really beautiful, it was pure, unexpected and wore the color of a classic book which fitted the mood of the story well.
Honey Baby Sweetheart had so many good points right? So how could it possibly make me feel doubtful?
Because at some chapters of the story fell pretty dull. You know, too much monologue and not enough of dialogue could kill any good stories. I had to skip a few parts even though I didn't want to. Moreover, having said that I did feel the excitement, Honey Baby Sweetheart still didn't satisfy my hope of a snapping point. There was a climax but it felt not much different from other parts.
I also had a few problems with the characters. First the bad boy Travis Becker. To me he didn't appear to be bad enough. He was risky, check. He was unexpected, check. He was flirtatious, check. Still, it didn't perfect the image he was supposed to reflect. Quiet often I thought he was more thoughtless than bad, perhaps a little bit stupid. He did sound, the first time he met Ruby (maybe it's just me but that's what I really felt), overexcited like a young boy. As for Ruby, she was great in first half of the book but the rest, I'm not sure. During some book club discussions she seemed lost and her character just became a shadow to me.
Okay, so, overall, Honey Baby Sweetheart was a book about finding your true self and true love, a mixture of the goods and the not-real-goods. You just have to read to find out yourself.