Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Ruby Oliver #4

Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver

Rate this book
From E. Lockhart, author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller We Were Liars, which John Green called "utterly unforgettable," comes Real Live Boyfriends, the fourth book in the uproarious and heartwarming Ruby Oliver novels that finds Ruby Oliver as neurotic and hyperverbal as ever as she interviews her friends for a documentary on love and popularity and while doing so turns up some uncomfortable truths.

She’s 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.

225 pages, Hardcover

First published December 28, 2010

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

E. Lockhart

20 books13.8k followers
E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars and Family of Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Instagram: elockhartbooks
Twitter: elockhart

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,038 (34%)
4 stars
2,194 (37%)
3 stars
1,264 (21%)
2 stars
270 (4%)
1 star
129 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 564 reviews
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,379 reviews11.7k followers
September 5, 2021
This is a rare series conclusion that doesn't disappoint.

Granted, the book started rather rocky for me. You see, Ruby now (finally) has a boyfriend after getting no proper action due to her uber-slut reputation. But the moment she gets him, our girl is back to her Jackson-time antics, meaning her guy is the most important part of her life, the epicenter of her existence. When things get difficult with him, she is back to her insecure self - being fake about her feelings, trying to be the bestest girlfriend and pretending being cool when she is hurt, holding her concerns back and then finally exploding and pouring them out publicly to everyone's embarrassment, flirting with other guys when her problems with her "real live boyfriend" are unresolved. Oh, Ruby, Ruby, I wanted to scream, have you not learned anything at all? Were your years of therapy a complete waste? Are you destined to be another Carrie Bradshaw jumping around single at 40, self-sabotaging, being insecure and trying to be what a guy wants instead of yourself?

To my relief, it turns out Ruby is not a lost cause. She did learn something and she does come out on top and shows the level of maturity I have never seen in her before. Yes, there is hope for all neurotic girls out there.

I love this series. Even though Ruby Oliver is not always easy to bear - her neurotic character traits are very much exaggerated. But her romantic (mis)adventures and personal struggles are very familiar ones. I think these books highlight many issues teen girls face - how to be a good friend, how not to be so boy-obsesses, how to be assertive in relationships - and handle them very well, responsibly.

I've enjoyed these books very much, but I hope never to see 5th Ruby Oliver book in print. I want to believe this neurotic, panic-attack prone girl had learned all her lessons and won't be back to her old behavior and endless obsessing about things that do not matter.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
April 23, 2012
I'm going to be perfectly honest and just say it: I'm feeling very Reginald. I don't want to say good-bye to Ruby but at the same time, I almost don't want to see a fifth Ruby Oliver book. I'd like to think that Ruby has learned as much as she can possibly learn, has experienced all types of crazy scenarios and that in the future, although she is bound to still find herself in a mountain of debacles, she'll be able to persevere onward, facing them head-on, and tackle them with her vast knowledge of relationships, life, and love. Real Live Boyfriends is very possibly my favorite Ruby Oliver book (although The Boyfriend List is probably the most re-readable) and I was amazed at the level of depth Lockhart was able to put into this book that had never been done previously in the series. Every Ruby Oliver is unique, special, and insightful in its own way, but Real Live Boyfriends knocked them all out of the park.

It's Ruby's senior year and everything seems to be perfect: Noel is her boyfriend (clarification: her real live boyfriend). He calls her when he says he will, he replies to her emails, he doesn't check his phone when she talks to him, and Ruby can't believe she can be this happy. However, when Noel comes back from visiting his brother Claude in New York, he seems to have changed; their relationship seems to have changed. Furthermore, Ruby's grandmother dies, leaving her father in a pool of depression; her mother is driving her up the wall and seems to be going crazy; Gideon seems to be mysteriously re-appearing into her life; and if that isn't enough, college applications are due just around the corner! Ruby's life was never easy, but senior year may just be her hardest one yet.

Real Live Boyfriends is literally a culmination of all Ruby's previous teachings from her therapy appointments. It's almost like a final test. I love how we're able to witness Ruby's thought processes: how she breaks down every thought, analyzes it, takes out what she wants, and goes out to get it. Yet, there are still dozens of mistakes, misinterpreted situations, and over-analyzed remarks. In some ways Ruby is back to being the same girl who was in a relationship with Jackson: insecure, whining, and desperate. At the same time however, Ruby picks herself up, dusts herself off, and goes off into the wide world. Her character is portrayed extremely realistically (who doesn't fall back into bad habits from time to time?), yet I love that she is now mature enough to change not only her actions towards others, but her actions towards herself too.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Real Live Boyfriends (either than the romance/misunderstandings/love story between Ruby and Noel) is Ruby's parents. They have always been a large and important part of her life, but they truly came alive in this conclusion. Ruby really had to deal with her parents: their issues, their problems, their romance. She was forced to understand them in ways she had never seen before and the overall growth of their relationship was rewarding. Other relationships I loved to see evolve in this book were Ruby's friendships. Her friendship with Hutch (despite the fact that he was in Paris), her friendship with Nora (despite the fact that she kinda wasn't talking to her), and her friendship with Meghan (despite the fact that her life primarily revolved around Finn). Throughout the series, Ruby has constantly struggled to make wise decisions concerning her friends, unable to find her true friends from a sea of enemies. However, by senior year, Roo truly does find out who her real friends are and what makes them that way. Her friendships, despite being few and far between, are genuine and I am confident will stay true throughout her college years.

Finally, the last thing I have to say about this book is that I loved the ending. Lockhart ends this series on a realistic note. Yes, she ties up the loose ends, but not all of them. There is hope for what the future may bring and Roo's future is up for the reader's imagination - which I love. Through her books, Lockhart has shared Roo with us all, bringing her into our lives, our thoughts, and our hearts. Now, in her conclusion, she allows us to keep Ruby with us always, learning from her mistakes, all the wiser for her therapy appointments, and ever so hopeful for our futures. The Ruby Oliver series is one that will stick with you, no matter your age. Anyone and everyone can relate to Ruby and it is comforting to know that whenever I am in need of a shrink, expert advice, or just someone to share my debacles with, Ruby is waiting for me in the covers of these books. This series is one you won't forget easily - especially if you're consumed with Reginald like me (;
Profile Image for Cassi aka Snow White Haggard.
459 reviews155 followers
April 6, 2012
I think I'm upgrading this whole series to a 5.

I laughed. I cried (no really! Megan and the cake! and AHHH!!!! That's cryptic on purpose). I felt like Ruby was talking directly to me. These books are just a complete joy to read. Reading a book should feel like THIS. That magical wonderful can't-put-down, stay-up-past-bedtime, frenzy of words.

(I might try to write a real review. But you shouldn't wait. Just read this series already)
Profile Image for TS.
329 reviews60 followers
September 25, 2017
I'm going to say this rating warrants a 3.75 stars only because I thought the ending was too abrupt and what Noel did and how he dealt with everything and everyone kind of shitty (even though it was defendable).

This series was so good. If you're looking for a quick coming-of-age, chick-lit read, that makes you swoon and laugh but which also unnervingly contains wisdom through feminist messages and character developments, I would definitely recommend this series.

At first, I thought that nothing would ever compare to the Jessica Darling series but after reading this, I feel like I can't even compare the two. Although they're similar in style, the protagonists are both so different from each other and their dealings in high school so different as well, that the two really make up two completely different journeys. I will say this though: As much as I love the JD series, it definitely has its flaws being a product of its time with its slut-shaming and anti-LGBT+ propaganda and this series shoots those flaws down from the get-go. Which I really appreciated (although, it too, has its own faults, such as: But I think what's so great about these types of novels, especially when reading them when you're older, is that as much as you learn from all the good in them, you also learn to criticize the bad and learn from that too.

Furthermore, these books being products of their time, despite all the shit that's going on right now, it's nice to know how much we've progressed as a society (and by that I mean, how much more open-minded and tolerant teenagers and young adults are concerning specific topics. At least I hope it's not just me.)
Profile Image for n.
360 reviews35 followers
February 13, 2013
Ruby finally won me over, guys. I don’t know if it was the fact Roo finally got a grip and smartened up a bit, or if it was because I was sick and vulnerable, or a combination thereof—but Real Live Boyfriends did it for me.

In this, the final installment of the Ruby Oliver series, Roo thinks she has it all figured out. She is dating Noel, and he is behaving like a Real Live Boyfriend. He doesn’t magically fix everything that’s wrong in Ruby’s life, but they are together and they are happy—and Ruby is back to her old my-man-is-my-universe ways. Then Noel goes to New York for a month and comes back as a pod-robot lobotomy patient. In addition to that, Hutch is in Paris playing baguette air guitar, Gideon is back in town, and Ruby has to get her college applications in order, do Reginald, deal with her insane parents and her grandmother’s death, sort out all her friendship issues, hold down a job, and go to therapy. What’s a girl to do?

Well, if you’re Ruby Oliver you might regress. You might flirt with a whole bunch of other boys instead of making an effort with your Real Live Boyfriend. You might think all is lost. You might really upset me for a hundred pages or so before you finally start to wise up and make me proud, opening yourself up to new people and experiences and making attempts to communicate and be yourself. Yay, Ruby!

This book hit me right in the feels a few times. The moment Ruby finds out what happened to Noel and her subsequent interactions with him had me all sniffly (and not just because I had the flu). Roo’s goal is to go into filmmaking, so parts of the book are actually manuscripts of the film interviews she does of her family and friends on the topics of love, friendship, and popularity. At one point near the end, when Roo is particularly down about Noel, this happens:

Meghan pushed her chocolate cheesecake across the table to me. I hadn’t gotten paid yet for November, so I had only ordered coffee. “Here,” she said.
“Don’t you want it?”
“Sure I want it. I ordered it. But I’m giving it to you.”
Meghan stood up and got me a fork. “Remember what Nora said about love? In your movie?”
“Love is when you have a really amazing piece of cake, and it’s the very last piece, but you let him have it.”
“So it’s really amazing cake,” said Meghan. “And I want you to have it.”

Guys!! Friendship!!!

I’m not sure what it is about Ruby Oliver that’s so endearing. She is neurotic, self-deprecating, immature, boy-crazy, and occasionally very similar to Mia Thermopolis or Georgia Nicolson (sometimes in a way that is less comforting and hilarious and more whoa, does this count as copyright infringement?). Maybe it is the way we are sistahs in panic attacks and compulsive list-making. Or maybe it is the way she is so zany and resilient. Possibly it’s how good she is with goats who are named after serial killers.

Whatever it is, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series and I thought this was a great ending to it. These books just got bumped onto my Favorite Series shelf. Also—and most importantly—I am in love with Noel.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews713 followers
July 13, 2011
Four days, four Ruby books.
Not much sleep, loads of laughs... and now I have a new favorite female lead who is far from perfect but definitely unforgetable. YA contemps/ chick lit need not be angst-filled, drama-ridden to be good. And while Ruby's stories are angst-filled and drama-ridden, hers are hilarious and painful and truthful and accurate.

Reading Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver is like the before and after of a rollercoaster ride. Right before, you know you want to, you're dying to get on in fact; that's even if you're a little scared, even if you're a little nervous. And right after? With your heart still galloping, you're thinking, "I want to do that again!" This is the fourth and the last, so I wanted to savor it; slow down and stretch it out, but once I got settled, the pages simply flew and in the end,

Some things came as expected~ it's funny and she, hilarious (as usual.) Things got complicated and then a little bit more complicated. Some people (Ruby in particular) screwed up, but the same people did try to (and sometimes did) redeem themselves.

Now Ruby, specifically? She is not as mental as she first thought herself to be. From The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver to The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them to The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver, she had me cringing, tearing up from laughter, gritting my teeth in annoyance. But, she entertained me with her naivette, with all her observations, and she even surprised with her honesty and her eventual unwillingness to let things just be. And the others? It is safe to say that Ruby wasn't the only one with issues.

That last tidbit, above all, is what I loved most. I loved how imperfect they all were. Ruby was a given, but Noel? Her father? Her mother? Issues abound!

And there's the unexpected too. A moment, 95% in, with me almost done, there's this one bit between Noel and Ruby that had me sniff-sniffing like an idiot. Where in heck did that come from?! So now, I love the book just a smidge more.

Profile Image for ♥ Sarah.
539 reviews127 followers
October 19, 2014
My Very Own Final Soundtrack List:
One Two – Bitter and Sick
Ben Howard – Promise
Crystal Fighters – Bridge of Bones
Angus & Julia – You’re The One That I Want
Bright Eyes – Devil Town
Atl-J – Every Other Freckle
Foster the People – I Would Do Anything for You
Dala – Dream a Little Dream of Me
Hozier – Take Me to Church
The Jepettos – Chemicals
London Grammar – Chasing My Young Years
The Dandy Warhols – We Used to be Friends

I’m stuck in a Ruby Oliver funk and I’m not ready to let her go yet. But it’s over and I’m left with only this review.
“It’s funny how you can see a person in your greenhouse every day, and you can watch movies next to him on the couch and sometimes go get pizza or something for most of a summer, and you don’t share all the dark secret details of your lives. Back when I was friends with Nora, Kim and Cricket, the dark secret details of our lives were what friendship was all about. We talked about fights with our parents, dreams for the future, guys we liked, disappointments and small triumphs. There was an endless series of notes, e-mails, and phone calls.”

This was the final book in the Ruby Oliver series and her senior year in the Tate Prep Universe where misery, confusion, and misunderstandings abound.

Though her start with Noel seems promising, it is “Tate Prep” after all. And Ruby, experienced and shunned and misunderstood and loved as she is, she is far from perfect. But she comes to terms with that part of herself. She confronts her fears this time around and fights for her Real Live Tommy Hazard. She wins.

But it’s not the kind of “fairy-tale” happy ending win. It’s not like in the movies, either. It’s kind of open-ended and sad and hopeful and unsure and realistic. And I’m okay with that.

Actually, it was the best ending ever.

Meghan: Get over it, Roo. If you have friends who actually like you, you’re popular enough.”
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews714 followers
August 10, 2016
*This mini review has also been posted on Tangled in Pages

I have never felt so relieved to finish a series. I LOVED the series but I don't think I could have take another book of Ruby's neuroticness.

Finishing this series makes me feel all grown up. With the end of Ruby's journey and the end of my own approaching, I cannot help but get a little nostalgic.

Ruby was an incredible character and one I will miss but one I am glad got a happy ending. She is a character that most teenage girls can relate to. We all have doubts, we can all be slightly crazy/neurotic, but most of us are genuinely nice if you get to know us. The problems she deals with are real so it's really easy to just relate to her and it helps that she has a great sense of humor so you always end up laughing your ass off.

What I personally love about this series was how it did not romanticize teenage years, it portrayed teenagers realistically. With Rabbit Fever as Ruby so eloquently puts it. They are still growing into their skin, they won't suddenly become mature overnight. It's a long journey to becoming an adult, in fact it's more like a roller coaster ride. There are a lot of ups and downs. Lots of mistakes made.

The one thing that I learnt from this series was how I seriously need to see a shrink.

I am happy that after such a long time I can actually say that a series I loved had a good ending, an ending I approved of, an ending that I wouldn't change, an ending that made me happy. I can bid adieu to this series with a smile on my face and go about seeking my own happy ending (realistically, I'll be making last minute touches on my college applications and getting paranoid about not getting accepted).
Profile Image for Deyse .
290 reviews26 followers
February 23, 2017
Review originally posted here.

This book you guys, Lockhart was so, so mean with my heart - this is definitely the more "serious" one of the series (I mean, if you would call one of the Ruby Oliver books serious), Ruby is finally on the senior year and things get bad right from the start - this time around not just friends fights but also with hecr family. I don't want to tell much about it's plot, just my feels and I have to tells that at the end I did teared up a little bit because of feels, my poor baby Noel.

BUT I did felt like a lot of the book (the Gideon's parts) where such a filler, that scenes were there just because it needed to have some intrigue before the happy couple could work on their issues and march out on the sunset. Despite that I loved every second of this (THERE ISN'T JACKSON ON THIS ONE FINALLY!!) and it's with a sad heart that I say goodbye to Ruby and all her craziness - unless Lockhart decides to write about Ruby on college, which a totally support!
Profile Image for Ellis.
446 reviews232 followers
August 23, 2016
While my experience with The Treasure Map of Boys was rather interesting, in that it managed to piss me the fuck off, it took all of three pages of this book to have me happy-sighing again. Ruby is back. Jackson is gone. Noby is a thing as in a thing thing as in a canon thing thing. LADIES REJOICE. And while the happy sigh quickly turned into an overall sense of everything is terrible why is everything terrible what did I ever do to you this is supposed to be A PAIN-FREE ZONE I WANTED THE OPPOSITE OF THIS, that ridiculous happy sigh and its even more ridiculous companion, the goofy grin, returned in full force by the time I turned the last page. Because, for serious, what am I supposed to do in a life without more Ruby? Denial is always an option.

Read the rest on The Random Transliterator.
Profile Image for Den.
428 reviews51 followers
October 27, 2018
Read this if you like: humor, entertaining footnotes, quirky parents, high school romance and drama, dealing with anxiety and grief, cute romantic gestures, true friends and the meaning of friendship
Profile Image for Lizzie.
688 reviews94 followers
August 1, 2011
Oh come on now!!

Wow. So glad I finally bought this book. I think I waited so long because I borrowed all the other ones from Meg, and I guess I forgot that I could... own them. For my own. And then it would just appear, bidden into my life. Like that.

Anyway, to me this was a really pleasing way to pull together the tiny little Ruby series with a hundred things to say. A lot of the arc here is Ruby learning to get rid of a lot of her bad habits that help her not help herself cope, and personally I found that just as tough to read as the books about the things that overwhelmed her entirely out of her control. She's done with the panic attacks now, her mental health is healthily improved, but also, no it isn't. She still is upset, dissatisfied, oversensitive and hurt. Because that is what happens even when you get over something. "Plus a general inability to relate to other human beings in a way that leads to happiness."

And sometimes you have to make yourself quit giving up because you feel bad. Sometimes you have to take some blame. I think at some times it might be easy to read Ruby as a self-centered kid when she sticks to her guns at an inopportune time (painfully, her mom misreads her this way when they fight), but I like following Ruby into those mistakes where what she has to sort out is a lot harder than just whether or not she should really be yelling at someone in a restaurant. Though I think her problems in the other books were really more painful, in some ways doling out those conclusions that have nothing to do with your own bad attitude are much less painful than what she starts to do here.

And I like that she doesn't finish. She starts the growing-up work and isn't done yet when the book is.

I mean, ok, I laughed so hard every time she said she was going to "flush it down with the poo." (I think I should start a new Goodreads shelf called embarrassing-subway-laughter.) But also, I wanted to cry a little.

The other best thing that happens here is the continued complication of life with Ruby's parents, who are super good parents who make super huge normal person mistakes with her. Both her parents get overly caught up in themselves in this book, for different reasons, and screw up their home life and Ruby a little bit. And for the first time, they notice what it does to her. Also for the first time, Ruby bears it pretty well, but she still goes through unnecessary sadness. When her dad realizes, oh, you were worried about this? That worried? I, ah, aw, ouch, Olivers.

I don't know how E. Lockhart does it, the way she writes these books as manifestos, instruction manuals for ownership of teenage bodies, commandments of respect and self-respect. She writes the bluntest advice-column kind of insight into right and wrong girlhood, and makes it a great novel that is so incredibly fun to read. The inner back-and-forths at times when Ruby is frustrated over an email or a non-email or whatever, and her narration pops out in a list breaking down the logic and fairness of the problem -- Am I being dissed? Am I causing myself to be upset? Am I letting him know what I really am saying, or am I saying something different and I want him to read my mind? But don't forget that I must expect respect too. A reasonable person could expect this. -- I don't know, it basically reads like mental health in a can, in an immensely touching, outstanding can. I just am so impressed that this doesn't suck, or ring false, it being as simple as it is. But its transparency works in its favor 300%.

"'But I'm not a forgetting person,' I said. 'I'm not an ignoring person. ... I'm a lay-it-all-out person...'"

Essentially I think I'm still apologizing to the universe a bit for being one of those people who thought these books weren't important because each one has "boy" in the title. I'm sorry, universe. Please keep these books around. And maybe get one in the hands of every single kid, at just the right moment.

And #3 is still my favorite.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,854 reviews1,046 followers
February 20, 2013
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.

Full review:

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
Profile Image for eb.
356 reviews38 followers
April 23, 2012
To me, E. Lockhart’s books are the best of Teen Chick Lit– they are realistic without taking themselves too seriously, they are funny without sacrificing wit and without blithely avoiding the difficult problems that come with learning who you are, who you love, and what’s important to you, as some chick lit does. Over the course of these four novels, Ruby suffers a major falling out with friends, goes to therapy because she starts having panic attacks, gets a job at the zoo, sees lots of films, consumes too much chocolate cake and too many spearmint jelly candies, fights with her truly nutty parents, falls into and out of love, and figures out who her real friends are. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s confused, just like any other teen.

I love that these novels (and the rest of Lockhart’s work) tell a good story, but also explore broader themes, like self-empowerment, self-discovery, and social power. They can be read on many levels– for the nutty hijinks and snappy dialogue, and for a nuanced look at complicated people who run up against social confines and have to figure out what to do next.
Profile Image for meg.
482 reviews
May 18, 2010
i was excited to get an advance reader's copy of this book so early (it's not out till the end of the year), even with the new cover treatment. this fourth, and likely final, installmet of ruby oliver's boy chronicles does not disappoint. sigh. oh how i'll miss you, ruby oliver.
Profile Image for PB.
310 reviews42 followers
January 22, 2018
Original Source: https://bookdragonlair.wordpress.com/...

My synopsis: Senior year, Ruby is in a serious relationship, one more year and she can leave the Tate Universe forever – the thing to consider is… is she ready?

Love is when you give someone else the power to destroy you and you trust them not to do it.

I have to say, Real Live Boyfriends is a satisfying conclusion to the Ruby Oliver series. Bravo, E. Lockhart!

By this fourth piece, the main cast of characters have gone through such growth – the character arcs are amazing, least of all, Ruby Oliver’s. It almost made it feel okay to say goodbye (almost, but not quite :()

We now have an idea of Ruby’s career aspirations (good to know, I can actually imagine a future for her, it’d be greater if E. Lockhart writes MORE books about the grown-up life of Ruby Oliver!!). And it also ties in to Ruby’s journey in discovering the many definitions of love, not just the romantic love.

As for Ruby’s love life, she gets her perfectly imperfect happy ending.

I want your updates. I do. I want all your updates, Ruby.
Profile Image for Maria.
531 reviews40 followers
March 4, 2018
в общем, первая книга самая хорошая
Profile Image for Michelle (Michelle’s Library).
784 reviews139 followers
October 3, 2021
These books are excellent. Ruby’s growth throughout these four novels is outstanding and I love Noel and Hutch so much. Also Megan is great and these books are great.
Profile Image for Dann.
122 reviews12 followers
January 16, 2022
I’m so sad it’s over.

I love these series and I can’t believe I’m done. And I guess I have to grow up now?

We’ll see.

I absolutely recommend it to anyone who’s into silly YA stories about dramatic people. If you don’t take life too seriously, this book (and the series) might be for you.
Profile Image for Lix Hewett.
Author 1 book17 followers
February 23, 2012
This book felt a little superfluous in terms of romance, which is odd because technically it wraps up various things that started earlier in the series. Ruby comes out of it stronger, smarter, more self-assured with regards to boys and much less dependent on her relationship with Noel. We're talking about someone who compares her boyfriend to a flashlight in the darkness of her life in the third book, and her therapist says, paraphrasing, "That's an interesting metaphor. What happens if the flashlight goes out?" -- a Chekov gun that fires early on in the fourth book. I remember being really delighted with the end of the third book because of Noel and Ruby, because I've liked Noel a lot all throughout the series, but by the end of the fourth book, , my investment has dwindled remarkably. I'm not sure I'm ready to forgive him, I guess, so I didn't jump at that ending.

It also wraps up, more or less, Ruby's issues -- her self-loathing and her obsession with being crazy and maybe a little bit her difficult relationship with her mom. It blows up and Ruby says a lot of things that are very, very true, and eventually they start to patch things up. My only problem is that I didn't necessarily feel the other books were leading up to this, so again, the fourth book just seems like an afterthought where the author tried to get Ruby to a better mindset and just put some plot threads together to carry that along. Even the Gideon thing, which had been hinted at before, was very meh for me. Ruby growing up makes me happier in retrospect than I was while reading it, if that makes any sense, even though it was a welcome breath of fresh air after all the boy drama in the first book/s.

What makes this book enjoyable and good and aww-inducing is the friendships. Ruby held on to Kim and Cricket for so long, but she lets go of Nora fairly easily, and when they talk again, call a truce of sorts, things are -- not good, but looking hopeful. Meghan is, as usual, a marvelous influence on Ruby and speaks all sorts of truths that many people never even arrive at and which are really not that difficult to reach at all if you step back from all the bullshit teenagers are fed on a daily basis. ("Meghan: Get over it, Roo. If you have friends who actually like you, you’re popular enough.")

I'm just going to include the excerpt that made me tear up and leave this at that:

Meghan pushed her chocolate cheesecake across the table to me. I hadn’t gotten paid yet for November, so I had only ordered coffee. “Here,” she said.

“Don’t you want it?”

“Sure I want it. I ordered it. But I’m giving it to you.”


Meghan stood up and got me a fork. “Remember what Nora said about love? In your movie?”

“Love is when you have a really amazing piece of cake, and it’s the very last piece, but you let him have it,” I said.

“So it’s really amazing cake,” said Meghan. “And I want you to have it."

I wish there had been more of Varsha and Spencer in this book, since Ruby considers them friends by the end of it, and selfishly I would have liked to see more of Mr. Wallace. But that excerpt makes the whole book worth it.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
December 17, 2012
*Just FYI: This review contains zero spoilers for any of the books in the series*

Remember that time I read a complete series in a week? Yeah, that totally just happened right now! I started The Boyfriend List, the first Ruby Oliver book on December 9th and finished this one today, the 15th. Reading a complete series in a week can take some dedication, as well as some wiggle room in the review schedule. I would not have been able to complete this feat had the Ruby Oliver books not been so consistently hilarious, honest and enjoyable.

Lockhart keeps the Ruby Oliver series so consistent in tone and Ruby's narrative voice and how much fun they are to read. This, more than anything, impressed me so much. Keeping a series interesting and each installment just about equally as good as the last is a seriously difficult task for an author, but Lockhart succeeds with flying colors.

What I love most about this series as a whole is how honest it is to the high school experience. There's frank discussion of kissing and sex and friendship debacles, of the awkwardness of parties, and of things that don't matter one bit after high school, like how the bake sale went. Ruby acts one hundred percent like a teenager, a very smart one, of course, but she never feels like an adult trying to create a teenager. She has her own weird slang, which, in some books can be annoying, but with Ruby just comes off so naturally. Ruby grows a lot as a person throughout these four books, but remains ever her charmingly neurotic self.

The romance throughout the series is precisely what I love to see in YA. Yes, it's a primary focus, but, let's be honest, boyfriends and girlfriends or being in a state of noboyfriend are pretty monumental aspects of life in high school. However, Ruby also spends a lot of time being worried about her friends and consulting with them, and, in fact, I think her panic attacks were more about friendship stress than boys. Though Ruby does think she's in love a number of times, there's no feeling of instalove or any sort of assertion that this love will last for all of time. Even when she thinks she's in love, none of her relationships are perfect.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys humorous books that honestly tackle what it's like to be a teenager. Ruby has a very strong voice, which will not work for everyone, but these books are utterly delightful and it's worth finding out if you will get as much entertainment from them as I have.
Profile Image for Ana.
345 reviews168 followers
July 30, 2011
The review won't be just about this book, it will be about the entire series.

I still like Ruby, with all her obsessing about boys. I like how she started to understand who her friends really are. She really matured during the course of the series. Of course there were some moments when she annoyed me, but overall she was OK.

I'm primarily a romance reader and there were times when it bugged me that she couldn't settle on a guy and kept changing her opinions. But the confusion she felt was real so I cut her a break.

One of the best things in the book, and my favorite quote is her thoughts on HEA.

In life, maybe you do eventually find love, but it's not with your high school boyfriend. It's with a completely different person whom you never even met before--someone who didn't figure into the first part of the story at all. In life, there's no happily-ever-after-into-the-sunset. There's a marriage, complete with arguments, bad hair, lost hair, mentally unstable children, weird diets, dogs that fur up the couch, not enough money. Like my parents. That's their life I just described-but then, there they were, talking on the phone about my dad massaging my mom's groin area after yoga; cuddling on the couch; holding hands and wearing stupid Great Dane paraphernalia.

That's all we can realistically hope for. In fact, I think it's as close to happily-ever-after as things get. Though I am not yet sure if I find that fact depressing or encouraging.

That's incredibly mature of her. The quote is from The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver.

I think that reading a couple of books and not the entire series would've been less of an enjoyable read. As I said, as a romance reader I wanted at least a sort of HEA, when she's with a boy at the end, happy. That didn't happen in the first two books.

All in all, a good funny contemporary YA "romance". :-)

Rating (for the series):

3.5 - 4 stars
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
January 10, 2011
Can't wait! (But hope they fix the cover a bit...)

I was wavering a bit over my reaction to this one - it was a very enjoyable read, and I liked it a lot on the whole, but there were some things I was less happy about. Roo is as mixed up as ever, and it's as ever, largely in response to the people around her, who are pretty damn confusing. Noel goes from being her real live boyfriend to someone who doesn't call her, doesn't email her, doesn't want to talk to her. Hutch goes away to Paris. Kim and evil sidekick (whose name I can't remember atm) are as wenchy as ever. Gideon turns up shirtless and clearly *very* interested in her. Her mother - well, that's actually one of the things I had trouble with. Her mother isn't at all endearing in her goofiness or dramaticness - she's really, really nasty. And Roo's dad goes to pieces when his mother dies, in a way that's mostly kinda sad, and kinda funny, but it culminates in a crisis that's pretty horrific from Roo's POV. And her dad apologises, but as if it weren't that big a deal, and her mother never apologises, and -- I don't know, it just doesn't seem okay somehow.

Anyway, Doctor Z is as wonderful as ever, and it's a delight seeing Ruby get some insight, put it into play, miss the point, and eventually figure things out with the help of Doctor Z's patient silences and questions and repetition of what Roo's just said.

Is this definitely the end of the series? I could see it being a good end, with the end of high school in sight, but -- maybe a break and one last one?
Profile Image for Galla.
136 reviews30 followers
May 6, 2012
I never would have picked up this series if not for some glowing reviews from trusted Goodreads friends; the titles don't appeal to me at all, and the summaries for each book tend to play up their quirky side in a way that could easily lead a potential reader to believe these books are shallow.

They really aren't. While they are fun, and they are funny, E. Lockhart's real strength in this series is her ability to write characters--a main character in particular--in an emotionally authentic way. Ruby is a flawed character, but she's flawed in ways that are easy to relate to: she's learning to let go of friendships with people who aren't good friends anymore, she's learning to see value in people she previously would have written off, and, most importantly, she's learning to like herself enough to stand up for herself.

That said, part of why the books work so well is the fact that Lockhart refuses to steer into After School Special territory. She avoids moralizing; she avoids oversimplifications. She doesn't avoid humor. Highly recommended for teenage girls, people who've ever been (or been confused by) a teenage girl, and anyone who agrees that retro metal can have beneficial effects on one's mental health--even if you're now old enough that seeing Metallica and Guns N Roses referred to as "retro metal" makes you cringe a little.
Profile Image for Eva.
200 reviews19 followers
December 31, 2016
Honestly, I am so disappointed in how this series turned out. The first two books were great, but after that it went down. This last book was even worse than the third.

I never really liked Ruby's mother. She is horrible. A horrible mother, a horrible wife. She doesn't treat her family good, she says nasty things to them, her crazy ideas are stupid, she annoyed me so much. Ruby's dad isn't much of a help either. He should have gone to therapy. This problem was solved, as many problems in this book, unrealistically.

Then, the boys. Ugh. Noel acted like an asshole the whole time. Ruby should have broken up. But no, she started even more drama. And more boys got involved. Everything got so messy. The end was a bit more of a satisfying explanation and yeah, I could understand why Noel acted this way but still, Ruby deserved better.

Meghan and Hutch are the only normal and like-able characters in this book and I wish Ruby would have spend more time with them because those two are real friends and very caring and supportive.

All in all, this book was so much drama. Almost all the characters annoyed me. Which is sad because I really enjoyed the first two books of the series.
And one more thing: Ruby is a feminist right? But she acts like her happiness depends on whether she has a boyfriend or not. Kind of doesn't make sense and slightly annoyed me as well.

Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
774 reviews510 followers
October 8, 2021
***Read first on December 18th 2013*** I can relate so much in the parental department: Elaine Oliver's changing obsessions with food trends, her moods, her lack of reason, her spontaneous outbursts and her way of controlling her family reminded me such much of my own mother (That raw-wheat-grains-soaked-in-water porridge with mineral powder and raisins. Uggh. The beetroot-and-banana-salad. Double-ugh. The dry wholegrain-and-honey cakes. The pork-is-evil-phase. gh, ugh, ugh. Plus shouting, pouting, blaming, new house rules stuck to the mirror at unexpected times ... and being really embarrassing around my friends). I love Ruby for not relenting and for not taking back the things she said ... well, and for being Ruby. Ruby is far from perfect, but that makes her a perfectly shining heroine in a teen novel about relationships.
Profile Image for Natalie Williamson.
Author 1 book150 followers
September 16, 2014
The titles of these books are all about boys, but they're really all about friendship. I don't know what I was expecting when I started this series, but what I got out of it was this:

Profile Image for Shannon.
47 reviews2 followers
March 2, 2012
Reasons I enjoyed the Ruby Oliver Series
1. Like Ruby I am a list maker
2. While I am not a teenage girl, I have been a teenage girl & I thus could relate
3. I do however have a teenage daughter who has much in common with Ruby so often it was often like getting glimpses into her mind
4. I loved Ruby's parents- their relationship with each other & with Ruby was the highlight for me
5. These books made me laugh out loud
Fact: I am sad that they are over.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 564 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.