Published: December 27th 2011, Ember
Pages: 222 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is the fourth and final installment
Acquired: Purchased myself
Summary (from Goodreads): In this fourth hilarious episode of Ruby Oliver's high school career, the neurotic, hyperverbal heroine of The Boyfriend List and its companions The Boy Book and The Treasure Map of Boys interviews her friends for a documentary on love and popularity. While doing so, she turns up some uncomfortable truths—and searches for a way to get back what she had with Noel.
Roo has lost most of her friends. She's lost her true love more than once. She's lost her grandmother, her job, her reputation, and possibly her mind. But she's never lost her sense of humor. The Ruby Oliver books are the record of her survival.
My review: Most of you will know I'm a big contemporary YA fan. It's my absolute favourite genre and, because of that, I think I'm usually more critical of contemporary books in my reviews. I've made no secret of the fact I prefer standalone novels to series but the Ruby Oliver series is one series I have always adored and every installment is even more charming and hilarious than the last. Real Live Boyfriends is the final installment in the series and it's absolutely the best - a completely perfect way to end one of my favourite series. I'm sad it's over but I couldn't think of a more lovely ending - big, massive cheers to Lockhart for crafting such a wonderful and entertaining series. Huge fan right here.
Ruby is her usual neurotic but loveable self in Real Live Boyfriends and her lists are back and better than ever. Her footnotes never fail to make me laugh and are such a great addition to the story, they really help the reader get to know Ruby a little better than the standard narrative allows. It's the attention to detail like this that makes the Ruby Oliver books go from fun to fantastic and I'm convinced these books have staying power - I'm sure girls (and maybe boys) will be reading and enjoying them for years to come, I certainly hope so anyway.
Noel is gorgeous as ever and absolutely one of the best YA heroes in a long, long time. Forget your Edward and Patch and those paranormal, brooding bad boys - sweet, funny, kind Noel is the kind of boy we should be celebrating.
Importantly, every character in the Tate Universe (including the parents and older siblings) has flaws and, while it can be frustrating to see characters make bad choices, it serves as a reminder than they are human; they make mistakes, they don't always make the best decisions but it makes them leap off of the page as real people, rather than character sketches that are yet to be developed.
The Ruby Oliver series is one I know I'll reread so many times. Whenever I'm in a book slump I can always pick up one of the books, flick to any page and be laughing within minutes. Books like this just renew my love for reading and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this series to any YA fan. Contemporary YA at its absolute finest.
First line: 'A definition: A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.'
Read if you liked…: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Total: 18/20 (A)