Hey y’all it’s Friday! I’ve had a great reading week so far (despite the Friday Night Lights marathon sessions that have been keeping me up past bedtime and causing me to say things like hey y’all. Sorry.), I am right on pace with my yearly reading goal, and I am pleased with my decision to stop listening to a book that just wasn’t working for me (Under the Never Sky). The book I replaced it with is fantastic so far (The Drowned Cities). My point is that knocking out a few book reviews will be the perfect way to end this week. I started The Ruby Oliver series in January and I just finished the fourth book this week, so here is a series overview for you.
The Boyfriend List, 2005
The Boy Book, 2006
The Treasure Map of Boys, 2009
Real Live Boyfriends, 2010
In The Boyfriend List readers are introduced to 15-year old Ruby Oliver. Ruby is a scholarship student at a private school in Seattle. She lives on a houseboat with her performance-artist mother and retro metal-loving father. She loves films, vintage clothes, swimming, and is a vegetarian. She also has panic attacks. The attacks land Ruby in therapy with Dr. Z. Through her sessions Ruby starts to work out why she is having these attacks. The items on her long list include breaking up with her boyfriend, losing all her girlfriends, and intrusive parents. Sound familiar? Pretty typical teen stuff. The second book of the series, The Boy Book, is all about Ruby enjoying her new-found freedom as a licensed driver. She also continues her quest to gather and interpret data about that mysterious creature known as the teenaged boy. She deals with a damaged reputation, girlfriend issues, and of course, boy drama. In The Treasure Map of Boys, Ruby juggles work, school, and extracurriculars. She struggles with the loss of a long-time friend, conflicting feelings for an ex and potential new boyfriends. The series concludes with Real Live Boyfriends. Poor Ruby, just as her social life seems to be on the mend, her family goes into full-on self destruct mode! She needs Dr. Z’s help as much as ever, even though she notices her panic attacks have disappeared. Followers of the series will certainly be rooting for Ruby and they won’t be disappointed, despite the roller coaster of ride.
I really enjoyed this series and I think it will appeal to a variety of teens. The books themselves are small and slim, making them a quick read. Ruby is quirky and funny, but really she is just an average teen dealing with average problems. There are no super powers. There are no Earth-shattering disasters. There are no hotter than hot hotties. Just boys. Average boys. And pod-robots, but you’ll have to read the books to learn more about that. Do not mistake average for boring. There is plenty of conflict. This series is chock full of conflict of both the external and internal variety. Who wouldn’t angst over losing a boyfriend, and best friend, and a good reputation? And while Ruby does suffer from a touch of self-loathing and can be a little neurotic at times (again, who among us isn’t?), she struggles through her problems and comes out in the end a little bit older, much wiser, and definitely happier. Movie aficionados will love the film references, retro-metal lovers will find themselves head-banging with Ruby and Hutch, romance lovers will rejoice with all the kissing, and animal lovers won’t be able to stop themselves from falling for Robespierre, the pygmy goat. And if you like Ruby Oliver, you will love Frankie Landau-Banks, the title character from my favorite E. Lockhart book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I encourage you to treat yourself to a little Lockhart-fest!
You may also enjoy The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler and The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison.