What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

March 19, 2024

When thirteen-year-old middle child Ruthy disappears after track practice, her Staten Island family is thrown into disarray. Twelve years later, oldest sister Jessica is watching a trashy reality show called Catfight and spots someone who looks exactly like her missing sister: the woman on screen has dyed red hair and the same beauty mark under her left eye as Ruthy. Convinced that this is their long-lost sis, Jessica and younger sister Nina hatch a plan to drive to the location where the show is being filmed and bring her home.

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a fiercely-flawed portrait of familial angst and grief, capturing the ways that loss reshapes a close-knit group of women's lives with a mix of snark, resentment, and tenderness. The character of each of the Ramirez sisters feel authentic and resonant, and their witty banter adds to the narrative's energy.

Claire Jimenez has worked on the novel for a decade, workshopping the short story upon which it's based in grad school and writing programs while juggling multiple jobs to pay the rent. She says the early response to her debut is a sign that "people are hungry for fiction that's honest and unflinching about the struggles that people of color face every day."


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