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Saving Ruby King

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Saving Ruby King

A Novel

Forever and to the end. That’s what they say instead of I love you.”


Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by The Every Girl, PureWow, Book Riot, Library Journal and more.

When Ruby King’s mother is found murdered in their home in Chicago’s South Side, the police dismiss it as another act of violence in a black neighborhood. But for Ruby, it’s a devastating loss that leaves her on her own with her violent father. While she receives many condolences, her best friend, Layla, is the only one who understands how this puts Ruby in jeopardy.

Their closeness is tested when Layla’s father, the pastor of their church, demands that Layla stay away. But what is the price for turning a blind eye? In a relentless quest to save Ruby, Layla uncovers the murky loyalties and dangerous secrets that have bound their families together for generations. Only by facing this legacy of trauma head-on will Ruby be able to break free.

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.

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“Catherine Adel West's stunning debut novel explores the dark and cobwebbed corners that lurk in the history of two families. These long-buried secrets both bind and separate them through several generations, as they struggle to rise above. The murder of Ruby King's mother is the catalyst that forces the past to the surface and holds the key to forgiveness, hope, understanding and the possibility of a new beginning.”

Maxwell Gregory, Lake Forest Book Store

“Catherine Adel West's Saving Ruby King is by turns heartrending and tender. It pulls us into the lives of its characters—each more complex than the next—and shows us the power they've found in their friendships and in their faith. Saving Ruby King is an excellent selection for readers looking for a story filled with grit and hope in Chicago.”

Jenny Clines, Seminary Co-op Bookstore

“A compelling story, unique perspectives, and lyrical prose--Saving Ruby King is a wonderful debut full of shadows and secrets, truths and lies. Catherine Adel West is a voice for the invisible; her words a beacon in these divisive times.”

Samantha Kolber, Bear Pond Books



About the author

Catherine Adel West is an editor living and working in Chicago. She graduated with both her Bachelors and Masters of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Her work is published in Black Fox, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805 Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket and Gay Magazine. Saving Ruby King is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @cawest329. Saving Ruby King is her debut novel.


“A daring, dynamic story. A multilayered love letter to South Side Chicago's African American faith-based community.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Incorporating compelling perspectives, this is a powerful story of family, faith and friendship.”

MS. Magazine

“In the midst of widespread protests and calls to end racial injustice, the conversations and understanding tackled in Saving Ruby King are all significant reflections of this country’s reality today.”

Parade Magazine

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