Ruby Parker Hits the Small Time [NOOK Book]


It seems like Ruby Parker has the perfect life.


goes to an exclusive stage school

stars in the hit soap opera

gets to kiss Justin de Souza, the hottest actor around

Millions of fans are watching Ruby—and wishing they could be her.

If only they knew that behind the ...

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Ruby Parker Hits the Small Time

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It seems like Ruby Parker has the perfect life.


goes to an exclusive stage school

stars in the hit soap opera

gets to kiss Justin de Souza, the hottest actor around

Millions of fans are watching Ruby—and wishing they could be her.

If only they knew that behind the scenes, Ruby's life is falling apart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A thin layer of show-biz dazzle lends some sparkle to this comfortably predictable coming-of-age tale. Every year since she was six, Ruby, now 13, has appeared in the wildly popular (and fictional) English soap opera Kensington Heights.She also attends a performing arts school, where she and her best friend, Nydia, inhabit a middling social stratum, looked down on by Anne-Marie (who "looks just the same as everyone else: tall, thin, and blonde") and the rest of the cool crowd. Several events shake Ruby out of this routine: something's not right between her parents (it turns out they are getting separated) and she believes she's about to be dropped from the show, when in fact the writers are expanding her story line and giving her the chance for her first-ever kiss (on- or off-screen) with her longtime crush. Anxiety about this on-air smooch leads Ruby and Nydia to draft the dreaded Anne-Marie as kissing coach—which leads to positive changes to the girls' social standing. Adhering firmly to the conventions of the genre, true romance comes about for Ruby only when she opens her eyes to the charms of the boy next door. No show-stopping surprises here, but Ruby's perky first-person narration will likely be a hit with her target audience, who may well be pleased to see that Coleman leaves the stage door open for sequels. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Maria Lamattina
Who wouldn't want to be a regular on a hot television series at age thirteen? Who wouldn't feel like she's living on cloud nine when she's barraged with letters from peers who are also her fans? Ruby Parker, the self-described ugly, dumpy, "frumpiest thirteen-year-old in the entire history of the whole world," that's who! This novel, narrated by none other than Ruby Parker herself, is a predictable but delightful tale of a young girl who learns firsthand that having what others want doesn't necessarily make you happy. Ruby also learns that things aren't always what they seem. As she tries to cope with the off-screen intrigues of a jealous cast member, a crush on the teen hero of the show, and the separation of her real-life parents, Ruby demonstrates all the awkwardness, insecurity, humor, and resourcefulness of an intelligent, talented, teenage girl. Ruby Parker Hits the Small Time will entertain any thirteen- or fourteen-year-old girl I know. Ruby deals with age-appropriate issues, but without the "dark side" emphasis of many young adult novels these days. Although not a book I'd use as part of my curriculum, Ruby Parker is a novel I'd definitely recommend for a pleasure read.
Judith A. Hayn
Ruby Parker, at 13, would be the envy of every middle school girl as she has the ingenue role on a popular British soap opera, Kensington Heights, and attends Sylvia Lighthouse's Academy for the Performing Arts. Troubled teens pour out their hearts to her in fan mail, and she solves their problems with ease. Her best friend Nydia supports her fame and celebrity. Her parents live an upper middle class life, while they bank her money in trust and provide the stability every teen needs. Then her parents decide to divorce; her dad moves into an apartment; her mom is in tears; the advice letters begin to mirror her life. She overhears that her role may be cut, but she thinks she is saved by the aging actress who plays her mom. Her first screen kiss looms with her secret crush, her teen hunk co-star. Ruby slowly grows up amidst all the drama, both onscreen and off. This novel was first published in England in 2005 and includes fan mail, Ruby's answers, and sections of TV script.
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Ruby Parker wants everything in her life to stay the same. But life refuses to cooperate, giving her gigantic breasts one day and divorcing parents the next. Still, what makes Coleman's realistic heroine unusual is that she's actually a famous actress who plays an ordinary girl on TV. Fans write seeking advice from her character, who always seems to know what to do. But Ruby isn't the girl she plays on television; that girl has a script. As Ruby, a regular girl with genuine problems, struggles to gain control over her unwieldy life at home, in school and on the set, she learns that she too shouldn't make unfounded assumptions about other people. Although some of the comedy is embarrassing enough to make the reader cringe, Coleman is both witty and insightful, and she makes her points clearly without being didactic. At the end of the tale, Ruby comes to accept the changes that life brings, even deciding to make a few alterations of her own. (Fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061881350
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • File size: 330 KB

Meet the Author

Rowan Coleman, a self-proclaimed soap-opera addict, desperately wanted to attend stage school while growing up and to be-come an actress. Although she decided to pursue a glamorous career in writing instead, she did have the chance to visit the set of a soap opera when researching this book. While she has written five novels for adults, this is her first novel for teens. Rowan Coleman lives in Hert-fordshire, England, with her husband, Erol, and their daughter, Lily.

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Read an Excerpt

Ruby Parker Hits the Small Time

By Rowan Coleman

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Rowan Coleman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060776305

Chapter One

You can't stop things from changing, because other people—adults—think they always know what's for the best. It's like it's sort of not officially your life until you're grown up. As if the way you think and feel doesn't really matter, doesn't really mean anything—almost as if you don't even really feel it. As if, because you are only thirteen, everything you think and feel is just in your imagination. I feel like I should have some say about what happens to me in my life, but I never do. My life just happens to me, and other people make the decisions. The wrong decisions, mostly.

Just recently, I've felt like I spend my life trying to keep things exactly the same as they've always been and it's like I'm running up a down escalator. Just when I feel like I'm getting somewhere, I lose my footing and off I go—down and down—until I find the energy to start going uphill all over again. Some of the things that have happened in my life have been amazing. Some of them have been the sort of things that other girls my age lie in bed at night and dream about having happen to them. But I bet none of them dreams about what happened to me this morning. It's like a fairy tale in reverse, with the happy ending at the beginning.

This morning I found out that I am officially the frumpiest thirteen-year-old in the entire history of the world. You might say, like my mum does, that everyone feels that way sometimes, that it's a phase and I'll get over it and one day I'll turn into a swan and boys will follow me around begging me to look at them. But it doesn't feel like a phase; it feels like the end of the world. The end of my world, at least.

If I was just Ruby Parker, girl, it wouldn't matter so much. OK, I'd be doomed to a life of never having a boyfriend, but I could work on being interesting and funny instead, and maybe be "unusually attractive" like the heroines of my mum's books that I'm secretly reading. Once I got past about, say, thirty-five, I expect I wouldn't even mind that much anymore.

But I'm not Ruby Parker, girl.

I'm Ruby Parker, Television Star. And, in my world, being an ugly, dumpy thirteen-year-old means the end of that, and the end of going to my school, and maybe the end of everything else I've been trying to hold together too.

If you saw me, Ruby Parker, standing outside the classroom waiting to go in for math on the last day of term, you'd have said I'm a pretty ordinary girl. Not the sort of girl who'd be singled out for any special attention, good or bad. Sort of medium height, sort of medium build (apart from the obvious, but more about those later), and sort of medium hair—hair that had been shiny and blonde when I was little but has gradually become browner and darker and danker and lanker. I also have average skin (not too many spots), quite a nice nose, and not a bad profile.

You'd notice that most of the other girls in my class really don't bother talking to me, although they frequently talk about me, usually in stage whispers behind my back to make sure I can hear everything they're saying. And you'd notice that while I just hang around in the corridor waiting for Miss Greenstreet to arrive, some of the other girls are practicing their ballet positions against the wall, and Menakshi Shah is reciting Juliet's balcony speech from Romeo and Juliet, flicking her hair all around as she does it, trying to catch Michael Henderson's eye. (Not that he'd look at her in six million years, because everyone knows that he and Anne-Marie Chance will never split up and will be together forever and end up presenting a daytime talk show like Richard and Judy.)

Anyway, you'd have noticed that none of the boys talk to me either, although they sometimes creep up behind me and twang my bra strap and say things like, "Oy, Ruby, have you seen my football? Me and Mac lost our footballs and . . . oh, look, they're down your top! Give 'em back!" And they pretend to lunge at me and try to grab my boobs, then I scream and hit them over the head with my folder, and my best friend, Nydia Assimin, charges at them, which usually sends them packing, but still they shout really nasty stuff like, "Watch out, it's a herd of elephants!"

You'd also notice that almost all the boys are pretty well turned out for thirteen-year-olds. None of them smell, and most of them wash their hair more than twice a week. Some, like Danny Harvey (who always smells of apples), wash it every day. And you'd notice that they're all what my mum calls "natural extroverts." You might think that boys are always shouting and mucking around, but the boys at my school do it with excellent projection and perfect enunciation.

That's because I go to a stage school. I go to Sylvia Lighthouse's Academy for the Performing Arts. Every single one of the kids who was standing outside my classroom waiting to go in for math on the last day of the term wants to be an actor, a singer, or a TV presenter—or all three, usually.

We have all our normal lessons in the morning, and then after lunch we have dance, acting, and music until four o'clock, which might sound like a laugh—and it is—but it's hard too. Especially when your speech and drama coach is a raving lunatic, hung up about the fact that she never made it big and ended up teaching a load of snotty stuck-up posh kids instead (which might be why she hates me more than anyone else on account of my being on the telly). But even though I don't have that many friends, at least I have Nydia. And although it can feel like I'm always working and never have time to just relax, I love the school.


Excerpted from Ruby Parker Hits the Small Time by Rowan Coleman Copyright © 2007 by Rowan Coleman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011


    I loved this book. Some parts of the story is what happens to girls in real life which is why i love the story. Some parts makes the reader become rubys friend and helps you understand her.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

    Since she was six years old, Ruby Parker has been an actress on the British Soap Opera Kensington Heights. She's famous for her role as Angel MacFarley, and fans love her because Angel is the most normal character on the show. Ruby gets tons of fan mail, she attends an exclusive stage school for young actors and actresses, and she works with the ever-so-cute Justin de Souza. <BR/><BR/>Ruby's always been pretty lucky, but now that she's almost thirteen, things seem to be falling apart. Her family life isn't going so well and her parents are splitting up. There are rumors going around that Ruby's going through an "awkward stage" and might get fired from the soap. On top of that, Ruby's just been given a big kissing scene for the show, and she has to kiss her crush, Justin. The only problem is, Ruby's never been kissed and she needs her kiss with Justin to be perfect so he'll fall madly in love with her. <BR/><BR/>Ruby and her best friend, Nydia, decide there's only one person they can turn to for help -- mean girl Anne-Maria. Will Ruby get to stay on the show? Will Justin fall in love with her after their perfect kiss? <BR/><BR/>Ruby Parker is just who you'd want to be a celebrity. She's smart, funny, and totally down-to-earth and real. RUBY PARKER HITS THE SMALL TIME is just the beginning of Ruby's adventures. If you're a fan of soap operas or THE PRINCESS DIARIES, you'll love this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2007

    An Amazing Story!

    This past year I have read numerous books with some relation to Hollywood. I would have to say this one is the best, or nearly the best. I loved every moment of it. It is a relatable story that many young adults can look forward to reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2006

    Snappy First Novel

    Ruby Parker is on a popular British soap opera, and her fans treat her like an advice column. But when Ruby gets a letter so like her home life - divorcing parents, snobby girls at school, an upcoming kiss scene with her all-time ultimate crush - she has to think about it. I found this novel a little predictable, but cute. It definitely fulfilled the genre requirements, and would make a tween/young teen very happy. The tween who saw me with it nearly snatched it out of my hands, she wanted to read it so bad. A very snappy first novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

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