Review: The Treasure Map of Boys

Review: The Treasure Map of BoysThe Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
Series: Ruby Oliver #3
Published by Delacorte BFYR on July 28, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Pages: 248
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

First Sentence:

In laboratories dim
We bend to Fleischman’s whim
And suffer twice a week
Horrors terrible to speak

These Ruby Oliver books have truly wormed their way into my dark, judgmental heart. Reading series books all in a row has been a reading goal of mine ever since I got partway into the Wheel of Time books, took a break and couldn’t remember anything by the time I came back to it, meaning I would have to start over. Still, I don’t follow through on my series-reading plan most of the time, because sometimes you just don’t want to begin the next book immediately after closing the one you’ve just completed. With Ruby Oliver, I want to segue directly into the next one, because I just need to know what will become of these flawed and loveable characters.

To a large degree, I do not have a lot to say about these books besides what I’ve said in my previous reviews, which I do not see a point in repeating ad nauseum. Ruby remains a marvelous character, with ups and downs, but general positive improvement. She grows and changes, but in a slow, natural way. Her whole situation feels so lifelike, and so does she. Her narration remains spot-on, consistently Ruby.

These books have been incredibly consistent in quality and narrative voice. In the previous installment, The Boy Book, I encountered some difficulties with infodumping information about the first book, but Lockhart locked that down here, keeping any needed back story for an unfamiliar reader to Ruby’s footnotes. With that small weakness fixed, the writing is perfect and engaging for anyone who appreciates Ruby’s way of expressing herself.

One aspect of the series I’ve as yet neglected to mention is Ruby’s feminist viewpoint. She does wonderful things like getting boys to contribute to the bake sale, insisting that the idea that only women should bake is antiquated (true). Of course, Ruby still suffers from our society, struggling with labels like slut, and whether she’s a good or bad person because of how she behaves with boys (she’s not). I love to imagine Ruby in college and squelching these unhealthy societal attitudes from her mind, and loving herself wholly. Speaking of that, Ruby is not one of these heroines who goes on and on about how ugly she is; nor does she have perfect self-confidence. Basically, she’s a normal girl who feels sexy sometimes and like a roly poly leper troll other times.

If you’ve been enjoying the Ruby Oliver books, The Treasure Map of Boys will not leave you disappointed, but will however leave you wanting more, namely the final book in the series, Real Live Boyfriends. Thankfully, I’m reading this next, because I just have to know what will happen with Ruby, Noel, Meghan and the rest.

Favorite Quote:

“And in life, you do have to choose between your friend and the boy you like. She doesn’t magically fall in love with someone else, realize she’s gay or turn out evil. No one turns out to be evil. People are complicated and make mistakes.”

10 responses to “Review: The Treasure Map of Boys”

  1. “Roly poly leper troll” is exactly how I felt in high school. Perfect line is perfect. I’m glad this series has stayed high quality throughout. Sometimes series just veer right off a cliff and become either so far out there, or too lacking in plot for me to stomach.

  2. i think i’ve read the boyfriend list a couple of years ago but i didn’t enjoy it all that much. however this book has the cutest cover and i like how the main protagonist is a feminist!

    great review
    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  3. Giselle says:

    OMG OMG. So I click on your blog right? And then I see that cover, right? And then I laugh for at least 20 minutes. For real!

    Wait… you have a dark, judgmental heart? *gasp*

    And wow, Ruby is a normal girl? Ok I’ll read it! But honesty, those who complain they’re ugly or even worse, those who complain they have traits that are so obviously nothing to complain about “Oh my silky hair attracts so much attention I’m so annoyed” *stab stab*.

    But this series sounds pretty good. And now I totally have to check the covers of the others. Are they like this? God I hope so!!!

    • Christina says:

      Bahaha, isn’t it cute? These covers (the original hardbacks for the first three) match the series perfectly.

      Ha, she has some self-confidence issues, but she also likes her legs, which is pretty much how real girls feel. I have so much promise because of this feature, but why is my butt like this? Or whatever.

      They are! The first three hardbacks!

  4. Whoa the covers really changed… What happened to the girl.. did she become a marshmallow?

    Yay this one went back up to 4! I am going to order these soon, they sound really good, and a 4 from you is so great. Love that it leaves you wanting even MORE!

    • Christina says:

      No, the first three came out with hardbacks in a style like this, and then the series got redesigned. I got the girl covers for the other three and this one for book three, because those were the cheapest ones.

      She did better blending in the info from previous books. 🙂

  5. Lilian says:

    I prefer marshmallow man over the girl. Sorry, marshmallow man is just cuter. dum dee dummm

    “Reading series books all in a row has been a reading goal of mine”
    I should really do that, I keep ditching after the first book. *looks at The Maze Runner and The Blood Over Never Letting Go* Yesterday I was reading the first chapter excerpt of Dan Wells’s Fragments and I FORGOT EVERYTHING. I was on the last page before I remembered who was who…kinda. I can’t even remember the protagonist’s name. ARGH.

    *bangs head on desk* REMEMBER, DAMMIT!

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

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