The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
Now, I know what you're all thinking: Miss Critic, is this a blog limited to reviewing books by E. Lockhart? She's gaining a significant advantage over all the other authors, in both quantity of reviews and grading! Well, I'd apologize, but her books are so amazing, I just can't. Sorry!
Ruby Oliver is back at Tate Prep for another year, this time emblazoned with the Scarlet "A" of unpopularity. Her nemesis, Kim, is gone for the school year, but the debacle that was The Boyfriend List hasn't left the minds of the rest of her classmates. Ruby is struggling to stay afloat amidst classmates who want nothing to do with her, a new job at the zoo, therapy sessions, as well as parents who think she might be a lesbian. Life is peachy.
Roo copes with her problems by following her therapist's advice: soon she has a steady "scamming" relationship with a non-Tate boy, new friends in formerly annoying Megan and possibly flirtatious Noel, and a rekindling relationship with estranged friend, Nora. But of course, in typical Roo fashion, everything explodes in her face.
I adored this book. Lockhart's writing is completely infectious - not quite as laugh out loud as Louise Rennison, but close! But unlike the consistently misguided Georgia Nicolson, Ruby is both endearing obviously growing and changing. The Boy Book serves as the perfect sequel to The Boyfriend List: the first book set up the premise and developed the characters, and now in The Boy Book Ruby is shining on her own, meddling through the mess that is high school.
Aside from the snappy dialogue (which is almost impossibly well-written) and the infectious characters, I loved what was beneath the surface of Lockhart's book. So many YA books are about girls and clothes and boys and drama, because, well, teenaged girls' heads are often full clothes and boys and drama. But instead of glorifying the shallow, often manipulative behaviors of teenagers, Lockhart really lets Ruby show us that there are a web of choices being made by these teenagers (both good ones and bad ones) and that while "bad" choices might be so accepted that it becomes a standard for behavior (see some of the advice written in the fictional Boy Book collected by Lockhart's characters), that doesn't mean you can't choose to be a honest, compassionate person. I loved watching Ruby struggle with her own self-efficacy: and that made The Boy Book a cut above the rest of of the pink covered, girly-glitz YA books on the shelves today. '
Oh how I wish the third installment was already on the shelves.
My Grade: A! (oh, how'd you guess)