Sunday, 6 May 2012

Review: The Boy Book, E. Lockhart

The Boy Book

E. Lockhart

Corgi, 2007 (2006)

Oy with the boys. The Boy Book is the second in the Ruby Oliver series, and after reading The Boyfriend List a couple of weeks ago, I requested this from the library. If you read my review of The Boyfriend List, you’ll know that I started to warm to Ruby considerably as the book drew to a close, and this time around I had a lot of sympathy for her situation. It might be a new school year, and there might be some new friends on the horizon, but Ruby is still dealing with a) her bad reputation, b) her ever-present ex, and c) her lack of BFFs.

And, of course, boys. Lots of them, although not quite so many as in book 1. I was gratified to find that Noel took a bigger part, as did Hutch. I could take or leave Angelo, and I could certainly leave Jackson, who has no redeeming qualities in my eyes, and every time he appeared (in person or in thought), I wanted to shake Ruby until she realised he was in the running for moron of the year.

On first putting the (very short) book down, I was a little disappointed in the lack of romance (a brief dalliance with Angelo aside, which I remember mostly for the sitting-on-the-labrador moment). But having thought about it, I actually appreciate the path that book 2 takes. The structure follows The Boy Book first mentioned in the first book, a kind of how-to guide too boys that Ruby and her friends write a year or two before. By the end, however, Ruby has begun writing The Girl Book, which is actually a more accurate description of this book as a whole. There are still boys on the horizon, and all the confusion they bring, but what I enjoyed most was Ruby’s tentative forging of new friendships, her patching up of old ones, and her letting go of others. This was the part that felt the most authentic, whereby growing up is less about having some boy boob-grope you and more about figuring out who you are and where you stand.

This book made me smile a lot; Ruby’s parents are a nice touch of comic relief, and I enjoyed Ruby and Noel’s protracted plans to save Nora’s embarrassment over the photographs. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Ruby Oliver series, although my citywide library system doesn’t have the other two books in the series (!) so I might have to wait a while!

Overall rating: 7/10

Book source: Borrowed from the library.

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