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Ruby, Laura

Ruby, Laura

Personal

Married; children: two step daughters.

Addresses

Home—Chicago, IL. E-mail—lauraruby@lauraruby.com.

Career

Writer.

Awards, Honors

Parent's Choice Silver Honor for Fiction, 2003, and Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for best juvenile mystery, Mystery Writers of America, 2004, both for Lily's Ghosts.

Writings

Lily's Ghosts (children's novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

The Wall and the Wing (children's novel), Eos (New York, NY), 2006.

Good Girls (young-adult novel), HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2006.

I'm Not Julia Roberts (short fiction; for adults), Warner Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Chaos King (sequel to The Wall and the Wing), Eos (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Other Voices, Florida Review, Literal Latte, Sycamore Review, and Nimrod. Contributor of essay to anthology Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, Pocket Books, 2007.

Sidelights

Beginning her writing career as the author of middle-grade novels, Laura Ruby has also written short fiction for adult readers and a contemporary-themed novel for young adults. Considered controversial due to its focus on teen sexuality, Good Girls finds the reputation of high school senior and Audrey blackened when a camera-phone video of her engaged in compromising behavior with arrogant boyfriend Luke is posted on the Web for all to see. Shunned by her friends and condemned by her disappointed parents, honor student Audrey must now reexamine her choices and learn how her present behavior will impact her future. As a Publishers Weekly writer noted, in Audrey's narration Ruby "offers plenty of frank, sisterly insight about teen sexuality" and "leaves readers with plenty to ponder."

In Lily's Ghosts Ruby focuses on a thirteen-year-old girl who is being haunted by ghosts. Lily Crabtree and her mother have recently moved to an old Victorian house in Cape May, New Jersey, that belongs to a very distant family relative. Upon entering the house, Lily discovers a creepy portrait of her great uncle, which she decides to put in a closet. From that point on, strange occurrences plague the teen, such as finding jam in her shoes and seeing objects moving about mysteriously. When Lily decides that she is being haunted by ghosts, she calls on a friend to help her discover what is actually going on in her house. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commended Ruby for her "sharp-witted narrative and lively characterizations," while Renee Steinberg, reviewing Lily's Ghosts for School Library Journal, predicted that "readers will be hooked right up to the surprising ending."

Ruby turns from ghosts to fantasy in the middle-grade novel The Wall and the Wing and its sequel, The Chaos King. In The Wall and the Wing readers are transported to a large, dazzling metropolis where magic is commonplace and many inhabitants have the power of flight. Much to her dismay, twelve-year-old orphaned Gurl is one of the flightless living in this Manhattan of the future. However, she has another skill, one that is highly coveted: she has the ability to make herself invisible by fading into shadow. Taken advantage of by the matron of the orphanage where she lives, Gurl escapes with fellow orphan Bug. The two soon find themselves on the run from a series of surreal pursuers, among them giant red-eyed rat men, a creature with a zipper face, and a professor who has grass atop his head where hair should be. Noting that "it takes time to sort out the large cast" in The Wall and the Wing, Kay Weisman nonetheless deemed the novel "intriguing" in her Booklist review. Ruby's "fast-paced wackiness is told with humor, often black, that will have young readers giggling," concluded Connie Tyrrell Burn in her School Library Journal review of The Wall and the Wing.

A year older and orphaned no more, Gurl is known as Georgie when readers meet up with her again in The Chaos King. Still able to disappear at will, she is also phenomenally wealthy, but when her parents enroll her at an exclusive high-school prep school Georgie realizes that money does not always buy happiness. When best friend Bug—now a local celebrity—is briefly abducted by a huge octopus, the occurrence marks the first in a series of unusual events, many linked to Georgie's mysterious but absent-minded new friend, the Professor. After the Professor disappears, Georgie and Bug express concern, but school and social squabbles take top priority until something dire threatens their entire magical world. Citing Ruby's "off-the-wall writing style and infinite imagination," Kliatt contributor Cara Chancellor called The Chaos King "a wonderful story about … being different." Also praising the novel, a Kirkus Reviews writer remarked that Ruby's "zany adventure unfolds in a startlingly odd alternate universe" that is brought to vivid life through the author's "humorous narration."

Apart from her novel-length works, Ruby focuses on adult themes in the short fiction she has published in various periodicals. Ten of these stories are collected in I'm Not Julia Roberts, and their interconnected storylines feature three women and the blended families they are part of. As Joanne Wilkinson noted in Booklist, Ruby's collection comprises a "smart take on fractured families" that "captures both warring emotions and fleeting moments of connection" among its compelling characters. Despite the praise her adult fiction has received, Ruby has no intention of abandoning her teen and pre-teen readership. "The reason I write for kids is because it's fun …," the author told Cynthia Letitch-Smith in Cynsations online. "Kids and teens are the most passionate readers there are; I know, because I was one of those passionate readers. And I'll never apologize for writing for kids or teens and I can't imagine I'll ever stop."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 2006, Kay Weisman, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 51; October 1, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of I'm Not Julia Roberts, p. 38.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2003, Janice Del Negro, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 31; April, 2006, April Spisak, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 371.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2003, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 914; January 15, 2006, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 89; August 15, 2006, review of Good Girls, p. 851; September 1, 2006, review of I'm Not Julia Roberts, p. 871; May 1, 2007, review of The Chaos King.

Kliatt, May, 2007, Cara Chancellor, review of The Chaos King, p. 18.

Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Beth Gibbs, review of I'm Not Julia Roberts, p. 98.

Publishers Weekly, August 11, 2003, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 281; March 13, 2006, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 66; September 4, 2006, review of I'm Not Julia Roberts, p. 35; September 11, 2006, review of Good Girls, p. 57.

School Library Journal, December, 2003, Renee Steinberg, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 160; February, 2006, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 136; November, 2006, Jane Cronkhite, review of Good Girls, p. 148.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2004, Deborah Dubois, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 146; February, 2006, Michele Winship, review of The Wall and the Wing, p. 504; December, 2006, Caitlin Augusta, review of Good Girls, p. 432.

ONLINE

Cynsations,http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (May 25, 2006), Cynthia Leitich-Smith, interview with Ruby.

Kidsreads.com,http://www.kidsreads.com/ (September, 2003), "Laura Ruby."

Laura Ruby Home Page,http://www.lauraruby.com (July 20, 2007).

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"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/ruby-laura-0

"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Retrieved November 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/ruby-laura-0

Ruby, Laura

RUBY, Laura

Personal

Married; children: two step daughters.

Addresses

Home Chicago, IL. office c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins Children's, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019. E-mail lauraruby@lauraruby.com.

Career

Author.

Awards, Honors

Parent's Choice Silver Honor for Fiction, 2003, and Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for best juvenile mystery, 2004, both for Lily's Ghosts.

Writings

Lily's Ghosts, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Sidelights

Laura Ruby is the author of Lily's Ghosts, a novel that focuses on a thirteen-year-old girl who is being haunted by ghosts. Lily Crabtree and her mother have recently moved to an old Victorian house that belongs to a very distant family relative. Upon entering the house Lily discovers a creepy portrait of her great uncle, which she decides to put in a closet. From that point on, strange occurrences plague Lily, such as finding jam in her shoes and seeing objects moving about mysteriously. When Lily decides that she is being haunted by ghosts, she calls on a friend to help her discover what is actually going on in her house. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commended Ruby for her "Sharp-witted narrative and lively characterizations," while Renee Steinberg, reviewing Lily's Ghosts for School Library Journal, called the book "a good pick."

When asked if she herself believed in ghosts like her teen protagonist, Ruby told a Kidsreads.com interviewer: "This might sound odd, but I WANT to believe in them. I think the world would be a much more interesting place if all sorts of ghosts were rattling around. But I've never seen one myself."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2003, Janice Del Negro, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 31.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2003, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 914.

Publishers Weekly, August 11, 2003, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 281.

School Library Journal, December, 2003, Renee Steinberg, review of Lily's Ghosts, p. 160.

Kidsreads.com, http://www.kidsreads.com/ (September, 2003), "Laura Ruby."

Laura Ruby Web site, http://www.lauraruby.com/ (October 21, 2004).*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/ruby-laura

"Ruby, Laura." Something About the Author. . Retrieved November 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/ruby-laura