The doll funeral : a novel / Kate Hamer.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "On Ruby's thirteenth birthday, a wish she didn't even know she had suddenly comes true: the couple who raised her aren't her parents at all. Her real mother and father are out there somewhere, and Ruby becomes determined to find them. Venturing into the forest with nothing but a suitcase and the company of her only true friend-- the imaginary Shadow Boy-- Ruby discovers a group of siblings who live alone in the woods. The children take her in, and while they offer the closest Ruby's ever had to a family, Ruby begins to suspect that they might need her even more than she needs them. And it's not always clear what's real and what's not-- or who's trying to help her and who might be a threat. Told from shifting timelines, and the alternating perspectives of teenage Ruby; her mother, Anna; and even the Shadow Boy ..."-- Provided by publisher.
    • Notes:
      "Originally published by Faber & Faber Ltd in the United Kingdom, February 2017"--Title page verso.
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Booklist Reviews 2017 July #1

*Starred Review* On Ruby's thirteenth birthday, she learns that she's adopted, and her heart sings; she sends up a whispered wish for her real parents to rescue her from her abusive home. After a severe beating, Ruby runs away and finds refuge with three siblings who have been abandoned by their eccentric parents, but their house holds secrets that throw Ruby for yet another loop. Ruby's story is overlain with a gossamer of the supernatural so delicate only she can see it and the lost souls it conceals. These figures haunt the narrative, particularly Ruby's friend Shadow Boy, as she endeavors to survive the world's harshness. Her original quest to find her real parents gradually distills into a search for love, during which she assumes the responsibility of helping the mired spirits move on. Hamer (The Girl in the Red Coat, 2016) handles language beautifully, fashioning effortlessly evocative sentences that place the reader beside Ruby, like one of her many ghosts. Her narrative is intercut with that of her birth mother's and the slightly cryptic monologues of Shadow Boy, all necessary threads in a well-designed whole. An unblinking light shines through this tenacious girl, who makes a goddess of Siouxsie Sioux and dreams of the mother she never knew, for she refuses to be broken. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2017 July #1

How desperately do the dead wish to interact with the living? This is a strong underlying theme in Hamer's second novel (after The Girl in the Red Coat). Ruby can see dead people, an ability she's been peripherally aware of since she was very young. On her 13th birthday, Ruby learns she was adopted; she confides this to someone she refers to as Shadow, an ever-present ghostlike companion who has tried to protect her all her life. Ruby, energized by the desire to find her birth parents, finally fights back against her abusive adoptive father. The consequences lead to her taking up with an odd group of siblings living hand-to-mouth in their family's rundown mansion while their parents are away in India on a spiritual quest. As Ruby's history becomes clearer, Hamer—with evocative and vivid prose—explores the depths to which a mother will go to connect with her child, while Ruby discovers her family's secrets and learns a true family can be the people we choose to live with, not just the family into which we are born. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.