Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ruth 66

Source: Author Website
Ruth 66 by Elizabeth Barlo (Self-Published, 2014, 576pp.)

16-year-old Charlie’s normally austere Dutch grandmother surprises his family when she screeches up in their front yard in a vintage 1960s VW bus. She’s let down her hair, forsaken her Botox treatments, and has donated the entire family fortune to charity. An even bigger surprise? She wants Charlie to give up his summer job to accompany her on a cross-country trip. Together, they trek across America in a tale filled with rock ’n roll, family secrets, and humor.

For the most part, Ruth 66 is an enjoyable, offbeat road trip filled with an appropriate amount of quirkiness. Although the novel is a little on the long side for a YA novel, the action unfolds smoothly and consistently. On the downside, the novel sometimes resorts to crude moments of slapstick humor, which the reader (depending on his sense of humor) may or may not appreciate. In addition to this, the novel’s closing act contains elements that I felt I had seen many times before in Hollywood films, and pivots on a major misunderstanding that, I feel, could have been easily cleared up had certain characters not resorted to melodrama. On the whole, though, it’s a pretty solid novel, recommended for Ages 16-Up.

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