Ruby on the Outside (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Baskin addresses a subject rarely mentioned in books for kids – a middle-school girl’s mother has been in prison for almost as far back as her daughter can remember. Not wanting her secrete revealed, Ruby hasn’t let anyone get too close to her. But a new girl in her apartment complex seems to want a friendship – and seems to have a secret of her own. Ruby’s ambivalence about her mother is achingly real. This is a moving, believable, beautifully written book on a very sensitive subject.

- Banna

— From Banna's Recs


Ruby’s mom is in prison, and to tell anyone the truth is to risk true friendship in this novel from the author of The Summer Before Boys that accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked.

Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school, and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, most secret secret: her mother is in prison.

Then Margalit Tipps moves into Ruby’s condo complex, and the two immediately hit it off. Ruby thinks she’s found her first true-blue friend—but can she tell Margalit the truth about her mom? Maybe not. Because it turns out that Margalit’s family history seems closely connected to the very event that put her mother in prison, and if Ruby comes clean, she could lose everything she cares about most.

About the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin is the ALA Schneider Family Book Award–winning author of Anything But Typical. She was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, and has since written a number of novels for middle graders and teens, including The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, The Summer Before Boys, and Ruby on the Outside. Nora lives with her family in Connecticut. Visit her at

Praise For…

"A deeply compassionate exploration of an experience underrepresented in children's literature."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Sensitively handled and emotionally impactful, this novel is especially a must-have for libraries that serve children of incarcerated parents."
— School Library Journal

“Beautifully written from 11-year-old Ruby’s perspective, this lyrical novel explores multiple aspects of the effects of incarceration on family.”
— Booklist
Product Details
ISBN: 9781442485037
ISBN-10: 1442485035
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 16th, 2015
Pages: 176
Language: English