Way Down Deepby Ruth White
Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. They figured that if Ruby's people were dumb enough to lose something as valuable as a child, then that was their problem. So even though Ruby can't… See more details below
Although Ruby seemed to just appear out of thin air on the steps of the courthouse on the first day of summer in 1944, no one in Way Down Deep, West Virginia, ever worried too much about where the toddler came from. They figured that if Ruby's people were dumb enough to lose something as valuable as a child, then that was their problem. So even though Ruby can't help but wonder where she came from, she has led a joyful and carefree life in Way Down Deep, loved and watched over by Miss Arbutus – proprietor of The Roost, the local boardinghouse – the residents of The Roost, and the rest of the town. But when Ruby is twelve, a new family moves to Way Down Deep, and they inadvertently provide enough clues about Ruby's past that she is able to find her own people. Ruby travels from Way Down Deep to the top of Yonder Mountain to learn who she really is – only to find that she is bound to Way Down Deep by something even stronger than family ties: love.
With a touch of fairy-tale magic and a lot of heart, Ruth White explores just what it is that makes a place truly home.
Way Down Deep is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
“Both fable and mystery, Way Down Deep is simply irresistible, as plucky orphan Ruby June searches for the secret of her past, deeply entwined with an entire community worthy of Dickens. Funny, sweet, and filled with the heart's own truths, this is the best book yet from the queen of Appalachian storytelling.” Lee Smith, author of On Agate Hill and Fair and Tender Ladies
“A tale of magical beginnings and the everyday magic of an ordinary place populated by a colorful cast of characters worthy of Dickens. A story to love.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“At the heart of the story are profound questions that readers will enjoy puzzling out.” Booklist, Starred Review
“Captivating and thoughtful on many levels, White's novel offers humor, mystery, and a feel-good ending that a multitude of readers will find satisfying ‘way down deep.' ” School Library Journal
“Has its own memorable charm.” The Horn Book
“White's humor is wise and gentle. . . . Goats, children, readers, disappointed old men, and crotchety old women--all find a warm welcome in Way Down Deep.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Ruth White . . . narrates in a voice that is not condescending by wryly knowing, as if she's Flannery O'Connor for the younger set.” Chicago Tribune
“Peopled with delightfully quirky characters, this short novel caputres the authentic cadences of Appalachia.” VOYA
“You easily fall in love with the little town of Way Down Deep.” A YALSA YA Galley Teen Reader
“This book has a great plot. I love the small hometown-feeling of the story and all of the characters. . . . this book was great!” A YALSA YA Galley Teen Reader
“This is one of my favorite books--I felt like I was really in Way Down Deep.” A YALSA YA Galley Teen Reader
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.18(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.78(d)
- Age Range:
- 10 - 13 Years
Read an Excerpt
From Way Down Deep
When Miss Arbutus and Ruby grew weary, Ruby would go to her cozy room, which Miss Arbutus had decorated for her in ruffled yellow and white, with purple pansies embroidered on her curtains and pillow shams.
Before turning out the light, Ruby always stood before the window and gazed at the hills against the night sky. Though she could not remember her parents, she thought of them, and wished them health and happiness.
"And don't forget me," she always added. "Woo-bee is right here waiting for you."
Then Ruby climbed into bed. The pansy curtains fluttered in the mountain breeze as her eyes closed. Sometimes she woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find a lady in her room, sitting very still in an armchair by the window. At such times a hazy memory floated to the surface of Ruby's mind - a memory of being held and rocked beside a window, through which she could see snow falling.
If Ruby sat up in bed, or said anything, the woman disappeared into the shadows. So she learned that if she was to keep this lady, who was surely her mother, then she must not move or speak. She would drift off to sleep again, and the morning daylight revealed nobody in the chair.
Meet the Author
RUTH WHITE is the author of many award-winning books for children and young adults, including the Newbery Honor Book Belle Prater's Boy and its sequel, The Search for Belle Prater. Her newest book, A Month of Sundays, will be available from FSG in October 2011. She lives in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
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