February 16, 2011

Series Review: Ruby Oliver (E. Lockhart)

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (3/22/2005)
Kindle Edition: 240 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Ruby Oliver #1
From Goodreads. Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break—she's had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:

* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver, #2)
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (9/26/2006)
Kindle Edition: 224 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Ruby Oliver #2
From Goodreads. Here is how things stand at the beginning of newly-licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:

* Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
* Cricket: Not speaking.
* Nora: Speaking—sort of. Chatted a couple times this summer when * they bumped into each other outside of school—once shopping in the U District, and once in the Elliot Bay Bookstore. But she hadn't called Ruby, or anything.
* Noel: Didn't care what anyone thinks.
* Meghan: Didn't have any other friends.
* Dr. Z: Speaking.
* And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.

But, by Winter Break, a new job, an unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries to The Boy Book and many difficult decisions help Ruby to see that there is, indeed, life outside the Tate Universe.

The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver  (Ruby Oliver, #3)

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (7/23/2009)
Kindle Edition: 256 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Ruby Oliver #3
From Goodreads. Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more: Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill. Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists

Review by Kate
THE RUBY OLIVER Series, by E. Lockhart, has reserved a special place in my heart. I stumbled upon the last book in the series, Real Live Boyfriends (Review) and fell in love. I just had to know everything about this quirky and cute character, Ruby Oliver.

In THE BOYFRIEND LIST, Ruby is fifteen and she starts seeing a shrink after she experiences some panic attacks. So much as happened in her social and personal life, her body reacts negatively toward it. Lockhart weaves the past and present together into a funny and heartbreaking story of how Ruby gets a negative reputation at her school. Her friendships and romantic relationships are dissected to find the real root of the problem.

In THE BOY BOOK, Ruby is (barely) living with her eccentric parents and very little friends. Excerpts from The Boy Book, that Ruby, Kim, Cricket, and Nora created when they were friends are included (and hilarious). I liked the development of a new friendship with Meghan. They were an unlikely duo but Meghan kept Ruby grounded when all hope of social redemption was lost. More hilarity and fun ensues.

In THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS, Ruby was asked by Dr. Z to create a treasure map of her life to find a deeper meaning to her relationships. Since she is a boy-crazy teen, she creates a map of the boys in her life. Her friendships and relationships are tested more than ever. This was probably my favorite book because Ruby had definitely learned from her mistakes but was constantly balancing to keep everyone but herself happy.

Now that I am caught up, REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS, floated back into my mind. All the relationships were more understandable and I see how much Ruby has grown throughout these books. Even though I am sad that the series is over, Lockhart created such a 'real' ending to this book that is both bittersweet and very honest.

This contemporary series is for any age. Lockhart exposes the insecurities that everyone has felt during their teenage years. She definitely tortured Ruby again and again but in the end, Ruby always seems to overcome her issues and learn a valuable life lesson. Ruby is a fantastic MC because of her fun personality and her constant list making (I can relate!). Although the 'girl-wars' were at times cringe-worthy (been there, done that) they were very true to life and forced Ruby to take a deeper look into herself and her relationships.

The original covers from this series are really great. Looking at them before reading the book you would probably say, 'what the heck?' but they turn out to be inside jokes after reading. My favorite one is for TREASURE MAP because the marshmallow people were a small but hilarious part of the book.

Overall, great series for anyone who wants to experience the teen life of Ruby Oliver, and some cute boys.

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