Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: The Ruby Oliver Books

Upon my return to the land of the employed, I beheld the newest Ruby Oliver novel on our new book display. I had read and enjoyed The Boyfriend List, but somehow the rest of the series had drifted down the TBR list and I was way behind. Luckily, we had all the books in and I had some spare time, and I quickly powered my way through The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and the newest, Real Live Boyfriends.  Adorable, very nearly perfection. Similar to Georgia Nichols, but more self-aware and less zany. 9/10, and an extra squeeze to Noel.

Plot: The complicated love life of a neurotic teenage girl sounds like it would be an annoying plot, but the amazing character of Ruby Oliver, who is smart and funny and who I would love to be friends with, if she were real and about 10 years older, makes this series worthwhile. When romantic entanglements lead Ruby to lose her friends she begins having panic attacks, which leads her to visit a shrink, which (of course) ends up leading to her being labeled a slut. These books are clever, charming and a step above your standard YA romance. While you will, undoubtedly, care who she ends up with, because you will love her to bits, you will care even more about her accepting herself. The plot is definitely secondary to the characters.

Characters: Ruby Oliver is amazing. She is clever and loyal and somewhat messed up. She is completely believable and you will miss her when you're done with the books. Secondary characters are just as compelling, especially her parents, Noel, Meghan, Hutch and Nora. There is a great diversity of characters in Ruby's world, which I loved. Standard high school cliches need not apply.

Style: Ruby's neurotic narrative and endless list-making create a light-hearted and sarcastic tone that is fast and easy to read.

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