Review: Ruby Holler

  • Author: Sharon Creech
  • Pages: 288
  • Genre: Middle-Grade

Brother and sister Dallas and Florida are the “trouble twins.” In their short thirteen years, they’ve passed through countless foster homes, only to return to their dreary orphanage, Boxton Creek Home.

Run by the Trepids, a greedy and strict couple, Boxton Creek seems impossible to escape. When Mr. Trepid informs the twins that they’ll be helping old Tiller and Sairy Morey go on separate adventures, Dallas and Florida are suspicious.

As the twins adjust to the natural beauty of the outdoors, help the Tillers prepare for their adventures, and foil a robbery, their ultimate search for freedom leads them home to Ruby Holler.

Ruby Holler is the second book by Creech that I’ve read that is about orphans.  However, this book is a much sweeter story in comparison to The Wanderer.  It’s also a tad bit slower in pacing, and a little more relaxed, which makes sense, given it takes place in a holler instead of a boat out on the ocean.

The difference in pacing and intensity is one of the reasons why I didn’t love Ruby Holler nearly as much as The Wanderer.  What really sealed it’s fate, however, was how simple it was.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being able to relax into a comforting story set in a house surrounded by woods with two elderly and very loving people who enjoyed cooking wonderful food.  It just wasn’t all that realistic compared to The Wanderer.  It felt more like the fantasies of children who are stuck living in the kinds of cold, unloving places like Boxton Creek Home.  It was the kind of fantasy I would have dreamed up when I was a little younger than Dallas and Florida.

If it weren’t for the interwoven message that children deserve to be loved for who they are instead of constantly punished for the small troubles they get into, I might have considered the story to be more fitting to children who are not quite ready for Middle-Grade books.  In fact, Ruby Holler is only one step above a chapter book.  I would definitely recommend it for children who need something a little more advanced, but who aren’t ready for something like “Harry Potter” or “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”