|REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS|
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Oh, Roo. In this fourth (and last?) installment of the series, Roo is just as lovable and quirky as ever. She's a bit wiser this time around, and though she's still trying to figure out who her real friends are (does Nora count anymore?) and have a stable relationship with Noel, she's handling things much better. No more panic attacks, though she still thinks of herself as a deranged mental patient.
Though there's a lot in this book that I don't want to give away, I will say that the plot revolves around Ruby and Noel's complicated relationship (and Noel's pod-personality) as well as her friendships with Nora and Meghan and her family's issues. After Ruby's grandma dies, her dad becomes depressed and her always-insane mother can't quite handle his depression and Roo's broken heart. The relationship Roo and her mother have is, while incredibly hilarious, also quite dysfunctional. This is mostly because her mother is... well, kind of horribly mean, and it seems even worse in this book than in the previous ones. And while it's comical, the family aspect of Ruby Oliver's story (and this last book in particular) is actually sort of a cornerstone of the book and Roo's maturation throughout. There's a point in the book where Roo realizes that when she's away at college next year she'll have to take care of herself, and her therapist points out -- "aren't you kind of already doing that?" Which, yeah, she kind of is what with the mess that is her family. And this is one of the Ruby Oliver realizations that really helped make clear how much Roo's grown since The Boyfriend List.
This is, I think, a great ending to a great series. Though she's grown up a bit and handles things better, Ruby Oliver is still the obsessive, crazy, quirky, and adorable Roo that we all love. Her life is messy and complicated, yet the end to the series brings with it a resolution (if not a neatly-tied-up ending) for the issues that have plagued her since sophomore year.