Race for the Ruby Turtle
Published October 3, 2023
About Race for the Ruby Turtle
Jake Rizzi is about to spend the summer at his great-aunt’s cabin in the mossy, sodden Oregon backwoods. His parents seem to need a break from him and his ADHD. He tries not to take it personally, but isn’t sure about his aunt’s off-the-grid lifestyle and strange stories about a turtle with a ruby-colored shell.
Soon, Jake learns that the turtle is more than a myth. And thanks to a viral article online, strangers from all over the world have arrived to search for it–including a sinister animal poacher and towering twin zoologists from Sweden. Jake is sure that finding the turtle will change how people see him and his “attention issues”–but he’ll need help. Setting off with his new friend Mia, Jake must decide what matters more–personal glory? Or protecting the wonders of nature?
I liked this book a lot. First, I loved how much it showed Jake’s thought processes and what his ADHD felt like. Those descriptions of his energy ramping up and his zoning in and out of conversations or getting distracted were really effective.
Additionally, I loved all the facts about animals and nature conservation scattered throughout the book. I thought those things were very well embedded in the story, and they would make great discussion points or conversation starters.
I also loved the relationship between Jake and his Great-aunt Hettle. She saw things about him that he didn’t necessarily see in himself, but she also had high expectations of him and of herself. I liked that she was willing to depend on him for help and let him make decisions for himself.
On the whole, I think this is a great book for readers interested in nature, Oregon, or understanding what it’s like to have ADHD. Though it’s just over 300 pages, I found it to be a pretty quick read.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Mia and her dad are Black. Jake has ADHD.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Situations of peril. A woman talks about being arrested for damaging mining equipment. A man with a knife chases two kids.
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