Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, plural. If my life weren't complicated, I wouldn't be Ruby Oliver
By: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 2010
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 25, 2011
This is the fourth and final book in the Ruby Oliver series…unfortunately. For those readers out there who’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing these fantastic stories, let us bring you up to date.
Ruby Oliver, known as Roo, is a high school student with a definitive “voice.” A bit on the sarcastic side (which is written extremely well by E. Lockhart), Ruby is one of those girls who just refuse to let life get the best of her. Her rather odd parents have slightly odd careers. Her father has his own website/magazine for horticulture enthusiasts. Usually a very calm individual, Dad is more interested in staring into his flower pots than noticing the things going on all around him. Roo’s mother is a little on the frenzied, slightly crazy, side of life. Every month or so she comes up with a new thing – a new idea that she is sure will take the world by storm. Introduced in this story is a hysterical idea involving a pig’s head and Mom’s complete disregard for the fact that Roo is a vegetarian.
Roo, her wacky parents, and a Great Dane live on a houseboat in Seattle. Roo is extremely excited because she has finally landed Noel as a boyfriend. He’s “the one,” although Roo has to deal with the backlash that came from the fact that Noel was the true love of her very best friend, Nora, AND Noel doesn’t seem to be acting like a real-live boyfriend anymore. It’s as if all of his kind-hearted, loving skills go right out the window when he travels to New York to visit his brother. The emails stop, the phone calls become non-existent, and Roo begins to wonder what the heck is happening. Now, even her own strange mother is upset because she doesn’t think Dad is acting like her real live boyfriend either, and the arguments are getting insane. It seems that every week Roo visits her long-time therapist, her list of issues seem to grow longer and longer.
Going to Tate Prep isn’t easy either. Roo’s family can’t afford the school, but having the scholarship certainly helps. She feels odd in the hallways without best friend Nora by her side, and Roo is quite aware of the gossip and rumors that are being said behind her back. People have always thought Roo was boy crazy and have made statements that she puts her money where her mouth is in the love department; when, in reality, her friend Meghan is actually the girl who really likes boyfriends. Once she’s done with one, she pretty much can get another fairly quickly and never suffer from a broken heart.
When her favorite person in the whole world passes away, Roo finds herself falling apart again. She still works at the zoo, talking to the pygmy goats to try and find answers to life’s most difficult questions, and also begins to make a documentary that she needs for her application to film school. She begins to ask her family and friends what the word “love” means to them – and the answers are truly hysterical and right on the money. A favorite for all will be: Love is trust. It’s when you give someone the power to destroy you and then trust them not to do it. A truly great line!
Ruby Oliver’s story began in freshman year and watching this young girl grow up and face the panic attacks and relationships that are common through the teen years are a true pleasure to witness. In this final installment the story becomes much more in-depth, as the author does a great job of showing the pitfalls and triumphs that come from growing up. This book shines the spotlight on real life and getting to that point where you’re right on the edge of finding out who you are and who you want to become.
Quill says: From the first novel, The Boyfriend List, to this unbelievable ending, the dialogue has been outstanding: quick, smart, hysterical, and completely and utterly real. From Ruby’s nicotine-loving psychiatrist, to a “gay Chinese penguin tale” that will have readers laughing out loud, this is truly a terrific ending to a much beloved series.