The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver Quartet) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2016-07-02 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 29 user ratings

"E. Lockhart makes me want to go back to high school so that I can do it again and do it right this time. I am convinced that with the tools I learned in this book, that I will be a master. Oh and I really want to meet a boy like Angelo. Somehow I missed knowing anyone like him in high school ....

The Boy Book is the second book in a four book series that focuses on Ruby Oliver. Ruby is a student at a private high school in Seattle, she has two off beat parents who mean oh so well (but are pretty funny in their attempts), and at the start of The Boy Book, Ruby believes that she doesn't have any friends. The Ruby Oliver series is a message series. It is about the true meaning of friendship and what it takes to be a true friend. It is about the conflict between the positive feeling having a boyfriend gives to a girl v. the struggle with what if he is actually a jerk. It is about the meaning and effect of labeling other people. And it is about the crazies and confusions that dating and liking love interests in high school brings to a high school teenagers life. But even though the Ruby Oliver series is a message series and The Boy Book teaches so many great things it never comes off as a after school special. These messages are delivered through experiences and character growth. But really super important, these books are hilarious, they are fun and the main character (Ruby) feels like my best friend or maybe even me. E. Lockhart is brilliant.

So Ruby is like many high school girls. There are some good things about her, she is okay at some things, bad at others, she isn't drop dead gorgeous but some of her friends are and she has some positive physical attributes. This is a quote from the first book in this series and it gives you an idea how Ruby is not described, "I hate those endless descriptions of a heroine's physical attributes . . . it really bothers me how in books it seems like the only two choices are perfection or self-hatred. As if readers will only like a character who's ideal--or completely shattered." Ruby is still discovering who she is, learning to appreciate her great legs and learning to appreciate that guys like her legs

So, it is really hard to tap into why this book is so fun, I will just summarize some of the plot lines: Hooter Rescue Squad, Penguins, Llamas, the stockpiling of fruit rollups, a discussion on reclaiming the label of "slut" (along with learning why that label gets thrown around), the realization that the kid with acne may not actually like having acne, an appreciation for guys who know how to properly grope boobs (this is carried over from the first book -- very important), public embarrassment from parents, confrontations with a former best friend turned arch enemy, and lots of fun and yummy boy crushes.

Ruby is fun, makes mistakes and never ends up with the guy she thinks she wants. Kinda like real life but better (maybe because she lives on a houseboat with a greenhouse). I highly recommend this book for anyone in high school or who has ever gone to high school.
" said.

"These books are so infuriatingly short, but I can't help but love them. They're just such great explorations of teen relationships, both between friends and members of the opposite sex, and I love watching Ruby's character arc develop over the books. Excited to read the next two!" said.

"I simply love it! It's super funny, touching, and compelling. I enjoyed every moment of it. I really enjoyed the footnotes." said.

"It is a cute series where ruby learns her own way to cope with adolescent issues and how the heart feels." said.

"Initial reaction: This. Was. Awesome. I loved it, and I adore Ruby. I'm glad to see some of the resolutions to relationships in this book, as well as openings for potential new threads in the upcoming series. I decided not to factor the audiobook in my rating because I ended up ditching it and checking out an e-copy they had available at the library because I loved the story so much (I completely and utterly HATED the audiobook, and I don't say that lightly). More on this to come in my full review.

Full review:

Oh Ruby Oliver, how I adore you - and it seems like there aren't enough strong young ladies like you taking the reins of YA literature and riding off into the sunset. You might not be in your happy place yet, but certainly it's a pleasure to watch you grow and work your way towards it.

I think this is one of the best series I've come across in a while, because not only is the heroine genuinely humorous and easy to follow, she faces quite a bit of challenges. Relationships with boys being a significant part of that.

When we last left off with Ruby in "The Boyfriend List," she'd managed to find a way to come to terms with some hard times in her social circles - losing friends, losing two close relationships on different levels, dealing with panic attacks, among other things. "The Boy Book" picks up the pace as Ruby still has to deal with the fallout of events. Her best friend is no longer her best friend, but yet Ruby faces building bonds with others again, and actually coming to terms with some fragmented relationships that didn't have the meaning that Ruby thought they had in retrospect. It's very much a story of where Ruby's trying to get back to sorts, yet she has a fresh voice and humor to things that make it well worth following her through those hills.

Ultimately, this book centers itself around the existence of "The Boy Book" - sort of a guide to how to approach relationships with guys based on experiences and rules. Ruby's matter of point delivery makes it both humorous and illustrates some of the conflict that can come with those relationships. It was touched upon in the last, but more of a focus in this one. I enjoyed it, and couldn't help but think I wish I had this book to read in my teen years. It's a story with a lot of heart and ultimately has Ruby growing in so many ways by the end of the work, with some threads left open to lead into the series more.

I thought Ruby's budding relationships with Noel and Angelo were cute here. And I did appreciate an eye to Ruby trying to not only mend her relationships with her former friends, though the results of that certainly varied on the scales, and left Ruby biting off a bit more than she could handle in some turns. Luckily Dr. Z isn't too far along to help Ruby through those turns, and Ruby's parents remain in the scene, sometimes supporting Ruby and other times maybe proving a little too much help. I laughed at some of their interactions and attempts though.

I did have one bone to pick with the story, but that was not a fault of the series at all, so it didn't factor into my rating, but I actually read two formats of this book in my reading experience. I started with the audiobook because for "The Boyfriend List", I really enjoyed Mandy Siegfried's narration of it. To me, her voice captured Ruby perfectly. I didn't realize that they changed narrators for the series starting with this book. Normally I would be fine with that as long as the narrator can carry the story.

I have to be blunt about it, though - the audiobook for this was TERRIBLE. I don't understand why the narrator was changed to someone who couldn't capture Ruby's voice and humor, being so out of place that it often missed on opportunities and did more to throw me out of the book than anything else. The delivery felt so dry, unemotional, and quite awkward. I was very disappointed in it and had to stop a good way in because I couldn't stand it. I didn't want to put the book down, though, so I checked out an e-copy at my library and finished out the work from there. It's not that I think Kirsten Potter is a lacking narrator - she was just a wrong fit for this series in my opinion. I have heard her narrate other works, and granted she was fine on those, but it seriously made me wonder how the narration could've been so awkward for such a fun series.

Nonetheless, having read "The Boy Book" - I'm eagerly reading on. I can't wait to see more of Ruby and how her relationships unfold from here on out. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite chick-lit/humor/romantic reads in YA.

Overall score: 4.5/5
" said.

"Read within 12 hours. If you're like me and you enjoy reading books that remind you of being 16, though you are now far removed from that life era... this series is for you. Don't think. Just read." said.

"This was my least favorite of all the Ruby Oliver books, but it was still great nevertheless. I ended up giving The Boy Book 4 out of 5 stars. So Ruby’s old friends pretty much suck, which you learned about in the first book. In this book, they continue to suck. But Nora starts to suck a little less. Once again the series continues to be hilarious and engaging. I loved reading about Ruby’s encounters with the opposite sex, trying to figure out what she’s going to do/who she might date next. As she continues to go to therapy, Ruby keeps picking up on “therapy talk” and realizing what kind of things her shrink would say as the series progresses. This book just wasn’t as good as the other three, but I still enjoyed it." said.

"I liked e. Lockhart but her books are too political. It's like Ruby is saying "I made out with my best friends boyfriend but it's all cute", how the hell is that supposed to be "female empowerment"?" said.

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