Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: 7/28/09
Publisher: Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Blurb(GR): 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.
The fourth book in this series is most definitely my favorite, but it’s this one that really cemented Ruby Oliver into my fictional-soul-sister-for-life hall of fame forever and ever. In book two, Ruby was struggling to be a better friend – to be more considerate and thoughtful – while at the same time stand up for herself and respect her own feelings. But how far should she go in the name of friendship? How much should she sacrifice? It’s easier to see that line with frenemies like Kim and bad-news-boys like Jackson, but what about friends she genuinely cares about and wants to keep? How much of herself should she repress in order to do so?
“And why was it that I had to lie to my friend in order to do the right thing by her? In order to be a good person, I had to pretend I didn’t feel the way I felt. Was that what good people did? Denied their feelings and acted fake?”
I think that this is Ruby’s book about taking a stand. It’s about recognizing her real friends and saying goodbye to bad ones. And for the friends who lie somewhere in between, it’s about vocalizing all of her thoughts and grievances and feelings, and giving them a chance to respond. Maybe it will destroy the friendship, or maybe it will forge even stronger bonds, but either way it’s better than repressing everything. And I absolutely love that Ruby doesn’t ever get everything “right.”
Two of my favorite aspects of this series as a whole are Ruby’s parents. Ruby’s mom is a serial health-craze follower, performance artist, poor listener, and a loud mouth. Ruby’s dad is a specialty gardener, kumbaya-lover, emotional analyzer, and is generally irresponsible. They both make a ton of mistakes, don’t really get Ruby, and argue with each other at almost every turn. AND YET. And yet, they are both caring parents who have a healthy marriage. I love this passage from Ruby:
“ In life, there’s no happily-ever-after-into-the-sunset. There’s a marriage, complete with arguments, bad hair, lost hair, mentally unstable children, weird diets, dogs that fur up the couch, not enough money. Like my parents. That’s their life I just described – but then, there they were, talking on the phone about my dad massaging my mom’s groin area after yoga; cuddling on the couch; holding hands and wearing stupid Great Dane paraphernalia.
That’s all we can really hope for. In fact, I think it’s as close to happily-ever-after as things get.”
The ability of E. Lockhart to write quirky, hilarious, three-dimensional characters who I inevitably fall in love with is amazing!
Perfect Musical Pairing
Cyndi Lauper – I Don’t Want To Be Your Friend