I was very happy to see that this was released today. Set in Brooklyn, NY the novel begins in 1913. Ruby Thomas is just 7 yrs old. For a few chapters Wallace allows the reader to connect to Ruby, her family and Brooklyn, NY. Then the 1918 flu epidemic hits and everything changes. 13 yr old Ruby must becomes the only provider for her two young nieces, Amanda and Allie. After the epidemic Ruby uses her strong arm to kill squirrels for dinner.
I picked this novel up because it had baseball. A few pages in I realized it was so much more.
Ruby's an amazing character filled with heart and determination to survive. Ruby faces many obstacles while trying to support her nieces. The Klan, is trying to become a presence in NYC. They don't think a Jewish girl should be pitching even if its just as a sideshow at Coney Island. Gangsters have found a way to make money off of Ruby's arm. She must figure out a way to out smart them.
Wallace's writing gave me the feeling of being transported back to 1920's Brooklyn, NY. The book is populated with some sports greats like Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey. This is a beautifully written story. It has a little of everything, suspense, love, loss, fear, family and of course baseball. I loved losing myself completely in Diamond Ruby's world.
Diamond Ruby is fiction and very appropriate for young adult readers. I was flipping through a children's catalog last week and saw Diamond Ruby. It doesn't get more crossover than that. I won't be surprised to see this one on a few best of list at the end of the year.
A starred Library Journal review