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Saving Ruby King

Add Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West to your TBR and thank me later. This book is a force to be reckoned with and a story with relevant themes and topics that will keep you turning the pages.


Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their south-side Chicago home, but only her best friend Layla knows how harmful this is for her. Ruby’s father is violent and unpredictable, so Layla tries to help, but her father, who happens to be the church pastor, wants Layla to stay away from Ruby and her family. They both uncover hidden family secrets that were long ago buried deep but are finally coming to the surface, proving that our children really do carry the burden of our past and nothing can be hidden forever.

Mel’s Thoughts:

Saving Ruby King is a unique book, as it is told from multiple character perspectives and alternating timelines that piece the story together page by page. The story is told from Ruby’s, Layla’s, Ruby’s grandmother’s, and their father’s perspectives, as well as the perspective of the church building. I loved the inclusion of the church as a character because what building doesn’t have stories to tell? It brought a neutral third-party perspective to everything that was happening and was the glue that held their stories together.

I loved the strong friendship between Ruby and Layla. Their story is not one of perfect female friendship but loving and supporting each other through all the ugly that life can bring. Their determination and desire to break the cycle their ancestors had lived under was what brought the past to light. The concept that our legacy carries our past is so true and this concept was what kept me turning the pages.

Saving Ruby King is a brilliant work of literary fiction with a story that is incredibly real, raw, and timely. I highly recommend Saving Ruby King to fans of Brit Bennett’s masterpieces The Vanishing Half and The Mothers.

Content warning: rape, incest, domestic violence, death of loved one


4.5 stars

Favorite Quotes:

“I always found it odd how the impermanence of life is something that surprises humans though it is something they know with certainty-that death will come for them all. There is still shock among them, sorrow, fear. Their mourning as fresh and distinct and varied from person to person, like snowflakes.”

“The easiest thing to do is nothing and we were all guilty of it.”

“A man’s legacy is a difficult thing to build, but very easy to destroy.”

“Rebellion even in its smallest forms can eventually birth great change. With change comes hope.”

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