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by Marisa Reichardt
Pub Date: 29 Sep 2020
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⭐⭐⭐⭐Very enjoyable.

At first I wondered how the author was going to have a whole book told by someone caught in the rubble of an earthquake, but I was pleasantly surprised by the use of flashbacks and storytelling by the trapped characters. Then the narration changed as the story changed (I don't want to tell how, since that would be a spoiler. I'll just say that flashbacks were no longer needed.)

I loved everything about the book with the exception of the lead character's (Ruby) 'best friend' Mila. No one handled her situation well - not the adults (her school, her parents) nor her friends. True, sometimes it takes a literal Earth-shattering event to wise up, but it's a shame the character was allowed to get so far gone that only a natural disaster helped her. I'm reluctant to say it, but I felt that the Mila character was there just so Ruby could have something in common with Charlie. Though, I will admit, alcohol is a major problem with teenagers, so it's quite possible that any two teens would have a Mila or a Jason in common. And if it weren't for the alcohol, Ruby and Charlie never would have met.

The characters were real and developed. Though I'm someone who has never experienced a natural disaster, the author's clear and descriptive writing allowed me to sympathize with the characters' ordeals; I was able to ebb and flow with their hopes and despairs. The author was also realistic in developing the characters' experiences and growth. This was truly realistic fiction not watered down with magical thinking. I can't wait to put this into my high school library.

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