Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review(s): The Ruby Oliver Novels

Book Review of the Ruby Oliver Novels by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List (2005)

The Boy Book (2006)

The Treasure Map of Boys (2009)

Summary: These books detail the awesome and confusing life of Ruby Oliver during her high school years at Tate Preparatory. The books start when Ruby has just been dumped by her boyfriend of six months, Jackson, in favor of her best friend Kim. From there on, Ruby (or Roo, as she is more commonly called) lets us in on all the quippy, neurotic soundbites of her thought processes as she struggles with losing her friends, losing a boyfriend, and trying to understand people (mainly boys). Since Jackson dumped her to be with her best friend instead, Roo has been suffering from anxiety attacks that creep up on her at inopportune moments. But that's not all she's dealing with; she's getting a lot of attention from other boys, too, like the smart, older Gideon who put his leg against hers and the hilarious, enigmatic Noel. Ruby has to figure out what it all means, who she really wants to be, and who she really wants to be with.

Review: E. Lockhart secured a place for herself in my heart when she wrote The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and the Ruby Oliver novels have only made that space bigger and more homey. Far from being trite high school dramedy, Lockhart uses the Ruby Oliver series to tackle issues of friendship, love, and high school in hilarious and meaningful ways. The series is populated with a uniquely excellent cast (with fantastic names! Can we take a moment to give props to Lockhart for Noel, Jackson, Hutch, Finn, and Gideon? Not to mention Ruby.) One of the things I like so well about Lockhart is that her books are blatantly feminist, but it's incorporated naturally into the relationships and plot, often as something the main character herself is just coming in to, either by way of older siblings or a specific teacher. In Ruby's case, it's Mr. Wallace (who is totally crush-worthy, and has a tasty South African accent). I highly recommend this series! Lockhart always finds unique ways to explore issues, empower her characters, and entertain her readers. The fourth, Real Live Boyfriends, comes out December 28th, and I am definitely looking forward to it!

Conclusion: 5/5! No doubt about it, this a very important addition to YA fiction.


  1. I like your new look! And I am very tempted to pick up these books! Thanks for the review!


  2. I've never heard of these books but I love YA novels with strong characters, and you gave them a 5/5, so on my TBR list these go! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Ah, teenage books about boys aren't always top on my list but you're pretty convincing so....

  4. I really liked Frankie Landau. I haven't read anything else be Lockhart. I should though.
    Your're right - those boys' names are great!

  5. I just read The Boyfriend List! and now I love e. lockhart so much! Thank you for the review Bea!