Ruby Tuesday by Hayley Lawrence

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Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9781760894894.
(Ages: 14+) Ruby Tuesday describes the life of an Australian teenager, living in semi-rural Australia with her paraplegic mother, with the story starting up at the funeral of her grandmother. Ruby and her mother's lives revolve around music - for Ruby it's singing and creating music, for her mother it's precision piano playing. Given the start of the book (family funeral), Ruby is going through a hard time, which is not made any easier by attending a party a few weeks after the funeral. It was not a good party. All aspects of her trust have been shattered. Ruby is faced with moving on, while everyone around her insists on reminding her of that night.
This is a contemporary novel, covering issues that are still impacting teenagers today: peer pressure, underage drinking, rape, estranged friends, dealing with loss and dealing with unwanted attention. While I understand that the author wanted to highlight these issues, I find myself frustrated that women are continually at a disadvantage in society, and while Ruby and her situation are relatable, there are aspects of the story that some readers will find frustrating. The story is evenly-paced but lacking any real drive - it is simple enough to read though. Throughout the book Ruby deals with anxiety, loss, love, trust, fear and the aftermath of a sexual assault.
The author has written a contemporary novel which utilises social media and YouTube, as well as deals with relevant issues.
Themes: Music, Relationships, Disability, Anxiety, Human relationships, Facing fears, Trust.
Melanie Phillips