Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
4Q 5P J/S/Adult
As soon as Ruby McQueen sees Travis Becker, she knows that she’s in trouble. She’s always been known as the quiet girl, the good student, the good girl. She knows who Travis is. She knows his reputation as a rich bad boy. But she can’t help herself. When she sees his shiny motorcycle parked on the grass of the mansion he calls home, she knows she shouldn’t walk up the driveway to sneak a peek at it. She’s horribly embarrassed when Travis catches her in the act. Staring back at him, she gets that Something About to Happen feeling. Right away, she knows he’s bad, and that it doesn’t matter. When he invites her to ride with him on his motorcycle, she does. And she becomes a different girl. She’s terrified, but at the same time, she likes the feeling. And she likes the girl she is with Travis. This Ruby isn’t afraid, or at least, she doesn’t let Travis see her fear. He thinks she’s cool, and she’s never been cool before. For the first time in years, Ruby feels strong and confident. But as much as Ruby loves Travis, she has to admit that he’s bad news. He almost kills them by refusing to get off the train tracks when a train is coming. He rides his motorcycle at 100 mph, with her clinging to his back. This guy has a dangerous streak a mile wide. Is that enough reason to break it off? No. As scary as it is, it’s also thrilling. But then one night, Travis takes her to “a family friend’s” house. Nobody is home, but Travis has the key. “I’m feeding the cats,” he tells Ruby. But he doesn’t turn on any lights, and suddenly, Ruby knows. Travis is a thief, and he’s involved her in his illegal activities. That’s too much. She has to break it off now. And she tries, she really does. But how can she walk away when the attraction is so strong? She knows it’s a bad idea, but they’re a couple again. Then Travis involves her in something that hurts people who love and trusted her. She knows she needs to break it off for real this time. But how can she walk away from someone she loves so much? It’s just too hard.
As it turns out, Ruby’s mother has the same problem. Ruby’s parents have been divorced for years, but every time Ruby’s father comes back to town for a visit, her mother loses her head and heart all over again, hoping they’ll get back together. Every time, her father leaves and her mother is depressed for weeks. This has to stop.
Ruby and her mother aren’t the only ones in romantic difficulty. Ruby’s mother is a librarian who runs a book club for senior citizens. She calls them the Casserole Queens (there’s also a Casserole King in the group). Ruby’s mother convinces (well, to be accurate, forces) Ruby to join her in the book club, thinking it will take both their minds off their miserable love lives. It works much better than either would have ever guessed. As the club members start to read their latest book choice, they slowly realize that it’s about a member of their own group. Lillian has recently had a stroke and is living in an old age home that she hates. The book’s author tells of how he was separated from the love of his life after WWII and how he has never forgotten her. He’s waited and hoped for over fifty years to see her again, but he doesn’t know where she is. Now that the Casserole Queens know the story, how can they let Lillian die without being reunited with her long-lost love? They can’t! And so they break her out of the home and go off in search of one true love. Who would ever have guessed that a road trip with a bunch of senior citizens is the perfect cure for a bad case of loving the wrong guy?