My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Initial thoughts: I think the only part I’m sad about in finishing this novel is that I have to say goodbye to Ruby Oliver. Following her through this series was such a joy and I can consider E. Lockhart a new favorite author. This was one of the best series of its kind I had the pleasure of reading, and I honestly wish there were more books like this series in the YA spectrum today.
The last Ruby Oliver book? Say it isn’t so. 😦
If anyone wants to know the song that came to mind while I penned this review and though about the book – it’s Tegan and Sara’s “Back In Your Head”. Somehow there are parts of that song that would work swimmingly with this book. But I digress.
“Real Live Boyfriends” turned out to be an awesome end to E. Lockheart’s series, culminating upon many events in the life of its charming protagonist. When we last left Ruby, she was finally starting to have some turns for the better in her relationships, though at the expense of other considerations. Couple that along with her usual scuffles with her parents (Ag!), her sessions with Dr. Z, and rather potent advice about boys and relationships in general, and you get the experience that is this book.
I think the additional tag on the title is apt for this book, because – as usual – Ruby has more than a few complications to deal with. Her current relationship with Noel becomes more of a concern when after some distance apart, he doesn’t call or talk to Ruby in more than limited spells, if at all, and that has Ruby insecure. She thinks he’s either becoming bored with her or doesn’t want to be with her at all. Add to the complication her growing relationship with Gideon, trying to patch things up with Nora, trying to keep up with Meghan, and you get the sea of relationships that she has to contend with.
I adored the character interactions, humor and attention to different challenges Ruby faces in this book. Ruby’s relationship with Noel is way too cute for words (and he cements a new book crush for me – what with his particular fixation on Fruit Roll-Ups among other things), and I could see where Ruby had issues when the two of them were apart (though I suspected that there was more to the story than what his distance would say on its own).
I think Ruby has grown to be quite the character through the course of the series, and this book manages to tie things off nicely in its respective resolutions. For me, those ties really paid off and concluded a wonderfully engaging storyline. I really enjoyed it, and it ranks as my favorite YA series of this particular genre. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for anyone who wants a funny, immersive, character-focused, and smart series to follow.
Overall score: 4.5/5