What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

Hachette Audio. Mar. 2023. 5:59 hrs. ISBN 9781668620984. $18.99. F
Ruthy Ramirez, the middle child of a Puerto Rican family, vanished after track practice when she was only 13. Now, 12 years later, her older sister thinks she’s spotted the missing Ruthy on a reality show. Her family, still reeling from Ruthy’s absence, must sort out what happened so many years ago. The story features the perspectives of each Ramirez woman, with flashbacks to Ruthy’s 1996 disappearance through the novel’s present day at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. Narrating her own work, Jiménez smoothly delivers the raw and honest dialogue. She embodies each of the indomitable Ramirez women, effectively conveying their sorrow at losing Ruthy and the pain that subsequent trauma brings to their lives. Short chapters revealing Ruthy’s 13-year-old self, interspersed between her family’s perspectives in the present, will keep listeners hooked. Jiménez examines complex issues via her characters, exploring tricky sibling dynamics, family expectations, cultural identity, and generational violence.
VERDICT Jiménez’s prose and narration shine in this engaging and powerful debut novel exploring identity, trauma, and enduring familial bonds.
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