Book Review: Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
Published by: originally by Simon Pulse, audio by Brilliance Audio
Release Date: originally in 2004, audio in 2010
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook

I have been keeping my eye on Deb Caletti's work for awhile, but I hadn't taken the plunge into her writing yet. I was worried that she'd be one of those generic teen writers and I would be bored. However, I figured this one was a good one to start with since it is set in the Pacific Northwest. Our followers know by now that I am a sucker for books set in this part of the country. I love being able to experience my new home through the eyes of a fictional character. It also often gives me ideas for things to do or go see in the future. To my knowledge, Nine Mile Falls is not an actual town in the Seattle, but it did remind me of a town near me. I did a little googling and learned that there is a town in Washington called Nine Mile Falls, but it's nowhere near Seattle. It is a tiny place out near Spokane - clear on the other side of the state. I wonder if Deb Caletti knew this when she created her town or just randomly made the name up. I did find out in my epic googling that she lived in the same area I currently do as a teen and attended the University of Washington. The town I pictured the entire time I was reading this book is actually where she lives. No wonder she has such a great handle on this setting! I also did further research and found out that some of the places and characters will appear in other books. I think it is so cool that Deb Caletti has made a fictional town and is telling the stories of its inhabitants. My students are working on something similar in class! I will have to mention her work to them if they'd like to use it as a model.

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart follows two major story lines featuring the main character, Ruby McQueen. Ruby is that girl we all saw in high school, but never truly knew. She is "the quiet girl" moving through the hallways, blending in with everyone else, but never truly having an identity of her own that anyone besides her closest friends can recall. I really liked Ruby. Heck, in high school, I had a lot of times where I was Ruby. I remember walking a fine line between loving and hating that I was unnoticed by many. However, unlike Ruby, I never used my summer vacation to fall in love with the town's richest bad boy or any bad boy for that matter. 

The first story line follows Ruby as she finds herself dangerously drawn to Travis Becker who lives in the largest house in town, drives a motorcycle, and has a passion for breaking and entering. Ruby doesn't feel like she's the quiet girl when she's with Travis. He sees her as a beautiful girl who is full of adventurous spirit and reckless abandon. Ruby knows that she isn't truly the girl Travis thinks she is, but at the same time she can't help wanting to be if it means keeping him around. Their summer together heats up fast putting them both in hot water. Ruby's mother steps in to help her daughter break away from Travis' bad influence.

The second story line follows Ruby as her mother works to keep her away from Travis. She forces Ruby to accompany her to her book club meetings with The Casserole Queens. These are elderly widowed women and one man who spend their time reading books, gossiping, and daydreaming about meeting new spouses. It seems like such an unlikely place for Ruby to forget Travis and free her heart, but she soon learns that sometimes we find friends in the most unlikely places.

I was not a big fan of the first story line. I didn't find Travis appealing at all. Furthermore, I didn't like Ruby when she was with him. However, I loved the second story line. Each of the members of the Casserole Queens had so much spunk and personality. I loved their sound advice and bickering. It brought a smile to my face and as the book neared the end I also shed a tear or two. I couldn't rate the book higher because the beginning was so hard for me to get through, but the end makes this one well worth the read. I also really enjoyed when the reasoning behind the title becomes clear. 

As far as the audiobook goes on this one - it was pretty decent. The narrator didn't annoy me all that often. However, I hated it when she tried to do the voice of Harold. She just sounded odd. I know it's harder for female readers to do male voices at times, but this one was really bad. If you can get over that though it was a decent audiobook.

One Last Gripe: I thought there was too much foreshadowing about the ending of the road trip. It actually made me dread the end of the book because I knew what was coming.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Peach and Harold's bickering

First Sentence: The first thing I learned about Travis Becker was that he parked his motorcycle on the front lawn.

Favorite Character: Chip, Jr.

Least Favorite Character: Chip, Sr.

Ruby McQueen is a sixteen-year-old high school student with the name, she thinks, of a rodeo cowgirl porn star, or, maybe worse, a Texas beauty queen runner-up. Her mother, Ann, one of the town librarians, was reading too much Southern literature before Ruby was born, and Chip, Ruby's father, who was already dreaming of Nashville stardom, thought it would make a great stage name someday. Soon after Chip Jr. was born, Chip left to try his luck in the music business and ended up at the Gold Nugget Amusement Park one state over. He returns occasionally for visits that turn Ann's heart upside down, and Ruby's stomach inside out.

It is summer in the northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, a place where brown bears sometimes show up in the shopping mall and people in hang gliders soar down the mountains and sometimes get stuck dangling from the trees. Ruby, ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. With Travis, Ruby can be someone she's never been before: Fearless. Powerful. But Ruby is in over her head, and finds she is risking more and more when she's with him.

In an effort to keep Ruby occupied and mend her own broken heart, Ann drags Ruby to the weekly book club she runs for seniors. At first Ruby can't imagine a more boring way to spend an afternoon, but she is soon charmed by the Casserole Queens (named, quite ironically, after women who bring casseroles to new widowers' homes in hopes of snagging a husband). When the group discovers one of their own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading, Ann and Ruby ditch their respective obsessions to spearhead a reunion between the long-ago lovers. But this mission turns out to be more than just a road trip. Somewhere along the way Ruby and her mother learn the true meaning of love and freedom from it, individual purpose, and the real ties that bind.

This lyrical, multigenerational story of love, loss, and redemption speaks to everyone who has ever been in love -- and lived to tell the tale.


  1. this book is sooo.... boring i bought it because i thought it would be good but no it wasnt

  2. This book i thought was also boring and now i am stuck doing it for a book project and i get get out of it. it is so boring that i have been on chapter 3 for about a month, because i dont want to read it.


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