Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: 12/28/10
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Blurb: Ruby Oliver, the neurotic, hyperverbal heroine of the The Boyfriend List, The 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.
This is a series conclusion that doesn't disappoint.
Granted, the book started rather rocky for me. You see, Ruby now (finally) has a boyfriend after getting no proper action due to her uber-slut reputation. But the moment she gets him, our girl is back to her Jackson-time antics, meaning, her guy is the most important part of her life, the epicenter of her existence. When things get difficult with him, she is back to her insecure self - being fake about her feelings, trying to be the bestest girlfriend and pretending being cool when she is hurt, holding her concerns back and then finally exploding and pouring them out publicly to everyone's embarrassment, flirting with other guys when her problems with her "real live boyfriend" are unresolved. Oh, Ruby, Ruby, I wanted to scream, have you not learned anything at all? Were your years of therapy a complete waste? Are you destined to be another Carrie Bradshaw jumping around single at 40, self-sabotaging, being insecure and trying to be what a guy wants instead of yourself?
To my relief, it turns out Ruby is not a lost cause. She did learn something and she does come out on top and shows the level of maturity I have never seen in her before. Yes, there is hope for all neurotic girls out there.
I love this series. Even though Ruby Oliver is not always easy to bear - her neurotic character traits are very much exaggerated. But her romantic (mis)adventures and personal struggles are very familiar ones. I think these books highlight many issues teen girls face - how to be a good friend, how not to be so boy-obsesses, how to be assertive in relationships - and handle them very well, responsibly.
I've enjoyed these books very much, but I hope never to see 5th Ruby Oliver book in print. I want to believe this neurotic, panic-attack prone girl had learned all her lessons and won't be back to her old behavior and endless obsessing about things that do not matter.