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Ruby Holler    by Sharon Creech order for
Ruby Holler
by Sharon Creech
Order:  USA  Can
Joanna Cotler, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Dallas and Florida are known as the 'Trouble Twins.' Left on the doorstep of the Boxton Creek Home for Children when they were only a few months old, they attempt in vain to follow the myriad of rules set up by the orphanage owners, Mr. and Mrs. Trepid. Now thirteen years old, the twins have been adopted many times by people who treat them horribly - locking them in basements, making them dig a well, and accusing them of stealing. But they are always returned to the orphanage when the new families cannot handle their supposedly bad behavior.

Dallas and Florida are surprised when a nice couple in their sixties come looking for children to accompany them on their summer vacation. Tiller and Sairy Morey have decided to take separate vacations this year and each want a child to go with them. Reluctantly, Dallas and Florida agree to the plan. They first must go to Ruby Holler, a beautiful place where the Moreys live, in order to prepare for the journeys. The children are surprised by all they discover in Ruby Holler -- have they found a real home at last?

Ruby Holler is a gem. Sharon Creech describes the characters and setting in such vivid detail that readers will be swept away by the adventure from the first page. The plight of Florida and Dallas is heart-tugging, I hoped throughout the book that they would find a family who would love and accept them as they are. Although the story is set in the present day, Tiller and Sairy are throwbacks to an earlier era and the story has a pioneer-like feel to it. The ending resolves things, but doesn't tie everything up into a neat package. Readers will appreciate the realistic way the author handles emotions and disappointments, yet leaves room for hope.

This book won the CILIP Carnegie Award in 2002, which was the first time a US author won the prestigious UK award. I was entranced by Ruby Holler from the beginning to the end, and stayed up late into the night to finish it. It's a magical story full of humor, adventure, and even a bit of mystery.

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