Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ruby Oliver - my new fictional BFF

4/5 stars (Note this is a review for the first 3 books. Yes I know that's a lazy cop-out but I've read too many books to properly review lately. Also I'm not really sure why I took away a star and I'm considering giving it back)

When I first met Ruby Oliver at the local library, I thought the books looked pretty darned girly. Also it sounded a little bit too boy-crazy.  Sometimes I get frustrated with all those true-love YA stories.  I want to scream THERES MORE TO LIFE THAN BOYS! Besides, who finds true love in high school?

Oh how judgmental I am sometimes.  This series is one of the best that I've read this year.  This is not a mushy true love story.  It's girly, but the right kind of girly.  Ruby is witty, intelligent, neurotic, boy crazy and completely awesome.

I'm very impressed how these books touch upon some serious topics without taking themselves too seriously.  Sometimes girls treat each other like competition rather than friends.  The Ruby Oliver books navigates tough girl friendship situations with humor unlike anything I've seen.  But at the same time they acknowledge that sometimes girls suck, especially where boys are concerned.

The story starts with Ruby in social exile because she kissed her (former) best friends boyfriend.  Never mind that Jackson was Ruby's boyfriend first, or that Jackson kissed Ruby back. None of that matters because the school mob has deemed Ruby a boyfriend stealing slut.  (Sidenote: Why is it that the boys are never to blame in these situations?)

Ruby's new found social leprosy leads to panic attacks, shrink visits and an unfortunate Xerox of her "Boyfriend list" created for her psychiatrist.

It's hard to list every reason I love these books.  There's just so much to like.  But you know I have to try!
  1. Ruby's insightful and witty commentary about life
  2. Neurotic hippie parents who live on a houseboat but clearly love their daughter very much
  3. Misadventures and confusion with boys
  4. Noel's fruit roll ups (the second and third book)
  5. Hooter Protection Agency
  6. The Boyfriend Book--insightful scientific observations of the male species
  7. Non-preachy but important commentary on girl friendship and always blaming the girl
  8. A main character who isn't perfect but is likable
  9. Silly poems written by boys
  10. Frogs laden with meaning
  11. A goat named Robespierre 
  12. Ruby's addiction to making lists
Who cares about stars! This book gets a whole box of fruit roll-ups, value sized folks. (I am currently on a fruit roll-up binge so this is a high compliment).  It's so much fun, but it's not mindless fun it's SMART fun.  I cannot recommend this series enough.  Just ask my friend Catie at the Readventurer who is plowing through the books. (She wrote a much more coherent review than me) Or even better, spend some time with Ruby yourself!

If you like audio, these books are excellent.  Please note that the narrator changes after book 1.  They're still good, but the original narrator is amazing.  After a few minutes I didn't really mind the new narrator.


Catie said...

Dude, your review is about ten times better than mine. I LOVE the list! I just tore through the third one and I'm about 15% into the fourth! Why do they have to end? :(

I agree with everything that you said here - she does such a good job of showing all the complexities of girl friendship. These books really aren't (just) about the boys!

veela-valoom said...

I don't know why they need to end. When I realized there was a 4th one I did a happy dance (even though I still haven't read it).

The list just seemed to be the most Ruby-esque way to review three books at once. I hope more people realize these books aren't just mushy girl books, but both deep AND funny.

Unknown said...

LOVED THIS SERIES! I read it before I started high school and I'm seriously considering buying them all :P Great review!