Dust Jacket Description:
"Here is how things stand at the beginning of newly-licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:
• Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
• Cricket: Not speaking.
• Nora: Speaking--sort of. Chatted a couple times this summer when they bumped into each other outside of school--once shopping in the U District, and once in the Elliot Bay Bookstore. But she hadn't called Ruby, or anything.
• Noel: Didn't care what anyone thinks.
• Meghan: Didn't have any other friends.
• Dr. Z: Speaking.
• And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.
But, by Winter Break, a new job, an unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries to The Boy Book and many difficult decisions help Ruby to see that there is, indeed, life outside the Tate Universe."
Characters: I read The Boyfriend List back in 2009, and while I enjoyed it, reading the rest of the series wasn't a pressing desire. I loved Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, so it's natural that I like her writing in other books. However, Ruby does not have Frankie's same brilliance or charm. Her behavior makes her fairly unlikable in parts, and the book's premise is not intriguing enough to make me devour the series whole.
But, I needed something light hearted but clever over the weekend, and I knew I needed to go back to Lockhart. Ruby becomes a little less icky in The Boy Book, and she actually seems to be recovering. Noel becomes even more adorable than he was in the original, and Meghan and Nora actually grow to be interesting. Jackson is still a big jerk, but I may finally see his appeal to Ruby.
There's not a lot in terms of characterization, but I liked seeing the relationship between Doctor Z and Ruby. I also love that this series has done a great job of the who-will-Ruby-end-up-with dance. I've seen several candidates for the role. Although there's the painfully obvious option, I honestly am not sure who will be there at the series end. Usually romantic choices are glaringly predictable, so that's surprising.
It's a decent ensemble that doesn't fit cookie cutter genre expectations. Ruby's story makes for a good way to spend a late night. 4 flowers.
Writing: I love Lockhart's footnotes and Ruby's grammar and feminist musings. It's made me consider rereading Frankie. 5 flowers.
Plot: If this book were any longer, I'd say it suffers from the sophomore slump. Not a lot happens in this novel, but Ruby's emotional recovery helps with the lack of true action. 4 flowers.
End: I like seeing Ruby do the right thing. I like her misfit friends. I like the road she's headed on. It's a good way to leave the story. 5 flowers.
Dust Jacket Description: I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment of the last sentence, but the list format fits Ruby's voice. 4 flowers.
Cover: I like the cover's relevance to the story. I also love the shiny, quirky exterior of the penguin. 5 flowers.
Overall: If you don't necessarily have to love your MCs to love a story, the Ruby Oliver series is for you. It's clever, fun, and kind of surprising. I like that. 4 flowers.