Almost Paradise

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What to expect

Twelve-year-old Ruby Clyde Henderson’s life turns upside down the day her mother’s boyfriend holds up a convenience store and her mother is wrongly jailed for assisting with the crime. Ruby and her pet pig, Bunny, find their way to her estranged Aunt Eleanor’s home. Aunt Eleanor is an ornery nun who lives in the midst of a peach orchard on Paradise Ranch. With a little patience, she and Ruby begin to get along. But Eleanor has secrets of her own—secrets that might mean more hard times for Ruby.

It’s not going to be easy for Ruby Clyde and Eleanor to heal old wounds, face the past, and learn to trust each other. But with enough little pieces of love, they might be able to bring their family together again and learn that paradise isn’t a place―it’s the feeling of being home.

Corabel Shofner’s Almost Paradise is a bighearted novel about trust, belonging, and the struggles and joys of loving one another.

Critics Review

  • “Stevens’ depiction of Ruby and the family-of-sorts who take her in is a perfect fit, just like the heroine’s red cowboy hat. She rolls from Ruby’s bravado to Sister Eleanor’s matter-of-fact practicality to Joe Brewer’s kindly resolve as smoothly as mud on Bunny the pig’s back. The easy Texas accent of Frankie, who lives near Eleanor’s retreat, and the whoop-de-do of Carl’s immature impulsiveness are spot-on, as are the myriad voices for all the characters who make this first novel memorable…A winner.”

    Booklist (starred audio review)
  • “It’s not often that a book gets everything so right: characters, plot, setting, voice. It’s even rarer to find all that in a first novel. But Shofner has taken all the established, important elements of a good middle-grade novel, given them a brisk shake, and served them up to readers in way that both entertains and enlightens…[with] a surprising twist that will leave readers with plenty to chew on.”

    Booklist (starred review)
  • “Plucky and wise beyond her years, Ruby relies on hope and common sense in equal measure, and her voice is the star of Shofner’s debut novel…Quirky and ultimately uplifting.”

    School Library Journal
  • “Idiosyncratic characters and plot twists and turns keep the story going, but it is Ruby’s distinctive voice that shines in this debut novel and makes even the most far-fetched twist seem trustworthy. Ruby’s folksy precociousness and determination are as endearing as her realization that the world is not perfect and that love comes in pieces…A rollicking read.”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “What makes the story sing is our protagonist’s voice. She’s resilient, vulnerable, alert, honest, and hilarious, sharing her unique take on an unreliable world dotted with moments of joy and the kindness of strangers.”

    Horn Book
  • “Totally delightful… What a joy to meet a spirited heroine like Ruby Clyde Henderson and to linger over Corabel Shofner’s glorious words.”

    Augusta Scattergood, author of Glory Be

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