Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ruby Oliver

Lockhart, E. 2005. The Boyfriend List.

This past week, among my lighter reading, I have read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart and its sequel, The Boy Book. Both books were great fun, I must admit. They reminded me, in a lot of ways, of the Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison. (For the record, I love Georgia! So it is meant as a compliment.) The books are full of plenty of drama. Drama over friendships. Drama over boys. Drama over gossip and lost reputations. The books, in some ways, focus on the chaotic and ever-changing world of social hierarchies in high school. Ruby Oliver is a girl who seems to have it pretty good. She's relatively popular--far from being an outcast or loner. She's got a boyfriend. She's got three best friends. But then within a one-week period, everything flip flops. Her best friend, Kim, steals her ex-boyfriend, Jackson. They had only been broken up two or three days. (So you KNOW there is bound to have been suspicious activity beforehand leading to the break up.) Crushed that she has been rejected by both her boyfriend and her former best friend--who essentially tells her that she wasn't any good for Jackson and that she was "the one" for him. What's worse than losing your boyfriend and your best friend? Losing the rest of your friends too. Nora and Cricket take Kim's side. They choose the boyfriend-stealer! (What were they thinking???) And then when Ruby 'accidentally' kisses her ex at a school dance, she's branded as the slut. Never mind that six or seven days before, these two were an established item. They had been going out for six months! Kim has him for two or three days, and he's suddenly branded lawfully hers??? With a slashed reputation, few remaining friends, and no pride...it's no surprise that Ruby finds herself having panic attacks and needing to go to a shrink. (Her term, not mine.) Can Dr. Z help Ruby through her many dramatic issues?

Lockhart, E. 2006. The Boy Book.

The Boy Book, the sequel, begins the next school year. Ruby and former friends are now juniors in high school. Ruby has begun to patch things up with one of her friends, Nora, but the others remain angry, bitter, and vengeful. Jackson is as mysterious as ever. One minute he'll be passing Ruby notes pretending they're still friends. He'll be inviting her to a party on the weekend. Ruby is very confused by the mixed messages. Why is Jackson suddenly remembering she exists now months after their break up? Is it because Kim is out of the country for the semester? Possibly. Is it because he's a dumb boy? More likely. Especially since she sees him with his arms around another girl. So it's not that he's after her...he's after any girl he can get. Which is a relief in a way in Ruby's opinion. It's not about her. It's never been about her. That is HIS pattern. He cheats on his girlfriends. This book is all about Ruby discovering her true self. Realizing her patterns. Realizing how her choices effect her and those around her. There is still a lot of drama about boys and friends and gossip. Overall, it is good fun.


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