Real Live Boyfriends

225p. 978-0-38573-428-8.
Gr 9 Up—This book is the latest installment in the saga that is Ruby Oliver's life. All the 17-year-old wants is a "real live boyfriend," whom she finds in Noel. Things are going great—he is everything she wants—until he starts ignoring Ruby and acting oddly around her. They break up after causing a colossal scene in class and Ruby begins hanging out with Gideon, the older brother of her ex best friend, Nora. Meanwhile, Ruby's father is too depressed over the death of his mother to get off the couch and her mother has taken a vacation with a friend. It wouldn't be a story about Ruby if there weren't a ton of drama involved. Writing in the same fast-paced narrative that fans have come to expect, Lockhart has done it again. Fans of neurotic Ruby Oliver are going to love reading about her latest trials and tribulations. And while it isn't necessary to be familiar with the previous books, newcomers may find themselves yearning for a little more Ruby in their lives.—Robyn Zaneski, New York Public Library
Ruby Oliver returns in a fourth novel about her exploits, delivered in a pastiche of rapid-fire narration, transcripts, poems, and emails. Having finally obtained a "real live boyfriend," Ruby has the usual trouble when said boyfriend withdraws and won't explain why. Lockhart isn't breaking any new ground in this Ruby story; you'll either love her or be irked by her ever-present self-doubt.
Real Live Boyfriends maintains the unique charm of the previous Ruby Oliver novels while taking Ruby and her parents, friends, and goats into new emotional territory. A spot-on portrayal of the loving gestures, calamitous miscommunications, and nerve-racking uncertainties of a serious relationship. Ruby and Noel make an especially believable, endearing couple. The book’s themes of love and self-image come to life in candid documentary transcripts, revealing footnotes, and Ruby’s ruthlessly honest voice. E. Lockhart has written a gratifying, moving finale to an outstanding series.

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