From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

E. Lockhart: The Boy Book

I was on the library's waiting list for about a month, but I was finally able to pick up The Boy Book by E. Lockhart.


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.

Ruby's still reeling from the loss of her boyfriend and her best friends, still having panic attacks, and still meeting with her shrink Dr. Z. In other words, Ruby is as neurotic as ever in this fun follow-up to The Boyfriend List.

Each chapter beings with an excerpt from "The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them," a notebook she and her friends Kim, Nora, and Cricket filled with advice on dating and things they learned about boys.

The advice ranges from serious ("Rules for Dating in a Small School"), to hilarious ("Boy-Speak: Introduction to a Foreign Language"), to scandalous ("What to Wear When You Might Be Fooling Around"). Looking through the notebook helps Ruby remember her friendships and what went wrong.

While still processing the past and trying to shake her "social leper" status, Ruby makes new friends (Meghan & Noel), gets a cool job at a local zoo, makes peace with Norah, and starts crushing on a new guy. Unfortunately, the promises made in "The Boy Book" come into play yet again, causing more stress.

I like Ruby as a narrator. Her voice is authentic, sympathetic, and funny.

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