Review: Real Live Boyfriends

Review: Real Live BoyfriendsReal Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
Series: Ruby Oliver #4
Published by Delacorte BFYR on December 28, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 225
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Ruby Oliver, the neurotic, hyperverbal heroine of the The Boyfriend ListThe Boy Book, and The Treasure Map of Boys, is back!

Ruby Oliver is in love. Or it would be love, if Noel, her real live boyfriend, would call her back. But Noel seems to have turned into a pod-robot lobotomy patient, and Ruby can’t figure out why.

Not only is her romantic life a shambles:
Her dad is eating nothing but Cheetos,
Her mother’s got a piglet head in the refrigerator,
Hutch has gone to Paris to play baguette air guitar,
Gideon shows up shirtless,
And the pygmy goat Robespierre is no help whatsoever.

Will Ruby ever control her panic attacks?
Will she ever understand boys?
Will she ever stop making lists?
(No to that last one.)

Roo has lost most of her friends. She’s lost her true love, more than once. She’s lost her grandmother, her job, her reputation, and possibly her mind. But she’s never lost her sense of humor. The Ruby Oliver books are the record of her survival.

First Sentence: “A definition: A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.”

*Just FYI: This review contains zero spoilers for any of the books in the series*

Remember that time I read a complete series in a week? Yeah, that totally just happened right now! I started The Boyfriend List, the first Ruby Oliver book on December 9th and finished this one today, the 15th. Reading a complete series in a week can take some dedication, as well as some wiggle room in the review schedule. I would not have been able to complete this feat had the Ruby Oliver books not been so consistently hilarious, honest and enjoyable.

Lockhart keeps the Ruby Oliver series so consistent in tone and Ruby’s narrative voice and how much fun they are to read. This, more than anything, impressed me so much. Keeping a series interesting and each installment just about equally as good as the last is a seriously difficult task for an author, but Lockhart succeeds with flying colors.

What I love most about this series as a whole is how honest it is to the high school experience. There’s frank discussion of kissing and sex and friendship debacles, of the awkwardness of parties, and of things that don’t matter one bit after high school, like how the bake sale went. Ruby acts one hundred percent like a teenager, a very smart one, of course, but she never feels like an adult trying to create a teenager. She has her own weird slang, which, in some books can be annoying, but with Ruby just comes off so naturally. Ruby grows a lot as a person throughout these four books, but remains ever her charmingly neurotic self.

The romance throughout the series is precisely what I love to see in YA. Yes, it’s a primary focus, but, let’s be honest, boyfriends and girlfriends or being in a state of noboyfriend are pretty monumental aspects of life in high school. However, Ruby also spends a lot of time being worried about her friends and consulting with them, and, in fact, I think her panic attacks were more about friendship stress than boys. Though Ruby does think she’s in love a number of times, there’s no feeling of instalove or any sort of assertion that this love will last for all of time. Even when she thinks she’s in love, none of her relationships are perfect.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys humorous books that honestly tackle what it’s like to be a teenager. Ruby has a very strong voice, which will not work for everyone, but these books are utterly delightful and it’s worth finding out if you will get as much entertainment from them as I have.

Favorite Quote:

Get over it, Roo. If you have friends who actually like you, you’re popular enough.

2 responses to “Review: Real Live Boyfriends”

  1. KM says:

    The whole series in a week?! That’s incredible! I don’t think I’ve ever done that…ever lol But these sound great! I love chick lit

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