From the Publisher
Praise for real live boyfriends:
“Fans will enthusiastically embrace this hilarious novel.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Wryly comic lists, footnotes, and narration lay Ruby Oliver’s heart bare and construct a vulnerable, sympathetic character with whom many teens will relate.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Fans of the series will clamor for Ruby’s latest adventure.”—Booklist
A Junior Library Guild Selection
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
The final book of the "Ruby Oliver Quartet" series delivers more family turmoil, friend drama, and plenty of boyfriend woes. Ruby still visits Dr. Z. for therapy and is on the outs with most of her former friends. Her parents continue to act like eccentric adolescents. The one seemingly wholly good thing in Ruby's life is that she is now dating quirky Noel. But when Noel goes away for the summer and stops returning Ruby's calls and emails, she wonders if he is still her Real Life Boyfriend. It does not help that Gideon Van Deusen, Ruby's former crush, is suddenly interested in her. When Ruby's mother takes off for an extended break after a big fight, her father sinks into a depression that mostly involves him lying on the floor and eating Cheetos. Between her family and her friends, Ruby is on drama overload. But for once, her panic attacks and self-loathing do not seem to consume her as they used to. As she copes with the changing relationships and mends some fences, Ruby has to face up to the fact that she just might be a functioning human being and not the deranged mental patient she has always seen herself as. Peppered with humorous lists, footnotes, and dialogue from a documentary Ruby is working on about love, popularity, and friendship, this final volume is a satisfying ending to a magnificent series. Ruby is funny, awkward, unique, and real. Readers can pick up this book without having read the first three books in the series, but will surely want to go back and start at the beginning once they discover the charismatic Ruby Oliver. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
The chronicle of the irrepressible Ruby Oliver continues in this fourth installment of her coming-of-age struggles. During the summer before and beginning of her senior year, Ruby makes a documentary film that explores her friends' definitions of love and popularity. She also gets in a family-rending fight with her mom over her bizarre eating habits, argues with her infinitely patient therapist Doctor Z about whether it is better to flush or confront negativity, navigates the rough waters of her grandmother's funeral and seriously questions her connection to emo boyfriend Noel, who has sunk into an inexplicable funk. While Ruby tries to get Noel to open up, her head is turned by hunky former crush Gideon. Who will end up being her real, live boyfriend? And will Ruby ever really understand the meaning of true love? While fans will enthusiastically embrace this hilarious novel, narrated in Ruby's perfectly executed teenspeak and littered with her manic lists, newcomers will easily be able to join the angst-fest without having read Ruby's earlier adventures. Like, really recommended. (Fiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This book is the latest installment in the saga that is Ruby Oliver's life. All the 17-year-old wants is a "real live boyfriend," whom she finds in Noel. Things are going great—he is everything she wants—until he starts ignoring Ruby and acting oddly around her. They break up after causing a colossal scene in class and Ruby begins hanging out with Gideon, the older brother of her ex best friend, Nora. Meanwhile, Ruby's father is too depressed over the death of his mother to get off the couch and her mother has taken a vacation with a friend. It wouldn't be a story about Ruby if there weren't a ton of drama involved. Writing in the same fast-paced narrative that fans have come to expect, Lockhart has done it again. Fans of neurotic Ruby Oliver are going to love reading about her latest trials and tribulations. And while it isn't necessary to be familiar with the previous books, newcomers may find themselves yearning for a little more Ruby in their lives.—Robyn Zaneski, New York Public Library
Read an Excerpt
1. Real Live Boyfriends!
A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.
You do not wonder if he will call.
You do not wonder whether he will kiss you.
And he does not look at his phone while you are talking, to see if anyone has texted him.
Of course he calls. He's your boyfriend!
Of course there will be kissing. He's your boyfriend!
And of course he listens. He's your real live boyfriend!
You can sit down next to him at lunch whenever you want. There's no need for mental gyrations such as: Will he want me there when he's hanging with his friends? Or will he half ignore me in order to seem golden in front of them?
Of course you can sit with him. He's your boyfriend! You can assume you'll see him on the weekend. You can call him just to chat. You can expect he'll be nice to your friends.
Contrary to some rumors, however, you don't have to be in love. You don't have to engage in any horizontal action beyond what you're in the mood for. You don't even need to stay together after high school. But you have to like him and he has to like youand everyone has to know you're together. He's your real live boyfriend!
2. The Insanity of My Parents! And Romance!
From seventh grade to ninth, I had a real live boyfriend named Tommy Hazard.
Tommy was perfect. He had clear skin, he was never obnoxious in class, and he was excellent at sports. He had beautiful strong shoulders and a secret mysterious smile. Tall but not too tall. Great teeth. Smoldering eyes.
In fact, he was superhot and could have any girl he wanted. And the best thing washe went weak whenever he saw me.
He was also imaginary.
I told my best friend, Kim, all about him. He changed according to my mood. Sometimes he was a surfer boy in board shorts and a bead choker, tossing the water out of his hair as he smiled down at me. Sometimes he was a skate punk. Other times a mod guy in a narrow tie who took beautiful black-and-white photographs.
Then I started going out with Jackson Clarke, sophomore year, and Tommy Hazard disappearedI guess because I finally had a real live boyfriend with a real live heart pumping in his chest.
Onlythen it turned out he didn't.
Have a heart.
And he didn't want to be my real live boyfriend anymore
He wanted to be Kim's.
Flash to end of junior year.
When I wrote the above definition of a real live boyfriend, it was fourteen months since Kim and Jackson got together and shattered my heart, plunging me into an abyss of bad mental health. I wrote it sitting in the B&O Espresso, where Meghan and I were supposed to be studying for finals. We were hopped up on dobosh torte and coffee drinks, and I couldn't think any more about chemistry formulas.
I flipped to a new page in my notebook and wrote something else, just to give myself a break.
Meghan crinkled her sexy little freckled nose when she read it. "What do you mean, real live boyfriend?"
"Exactly what I wrote."
"But" Meghan looked perplexed.
"Isn't this just what a boyfriend is?" she asked. "Any boyfriend?"
Just to be clear, Meghan has had a pretty much continuous cycle of serious boyfriends since seventh grade. Me, I had been in the state of Noboyfriend since April of sophomore year, when the Kim/Jackson debacle made me pretty much dysfunctional.
And while you could argue that Meghan's male-oriented outlook on life was all about the fact that her dad died when she was twelve and that's why she's the only other teenager I know who sees a shrink on a regular basis, there was no denying that she was being truthful when she said she didn't know what I was writing about. She and her boyfriend, Finn, who was making espresso behind the counter at the B&O right that very minute, got together just before Spring Fling junior year and were as real and live as real and live could be. And before Finn, Meghan had been real and live with Bick.
And before Bick, with a guy she met at camp.
And before that, with Chet, who moved away.
And before thatyou get the idea.
Meghan didn't know much about how it felt to wonder if a guy still liked you. She didn't know about half-boyfriends and awkwardness and partial breakups and all that human weirdnesspartly, yes, because she is one of the most oblivious people I've ever met and really might not know human weirdness if it bit her, but also because she somehow knows how to connect with boys. Not like they're Neanderthals or wildebeests or aliens or pod-robots, but like they're normal human beings.
Which obviously they are.
Only, it is extremely hard to tell sometimes.