I made a library run yesterday and came out with 3 of the books on my 'to-read' list. Namely, The Treasure Map of Boys, The Monstrumologist and The Waters, The Wild. Since I've got a workshop tomorrow I thought I'd sneak in a review.
E. Lockhart, The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon--and me, Ruby Oliver, 2009, Delacorte Press.
Ruby Oliver is doing well dealing with the events of the past year and a half which left her with a stolen boyfriend, a group of former best friends, and the not-so-pleasant experience of panic attacks. With her two friends Megan and Nora at her side Ruby is living her life the best way she knows how while making the normal mistakes of a heterosexual teenage girl. But things never go smoothly for Ruby and a slew of events leave her questioning what makes a good friend, what kind of boy is worth the trouble, and how to count her treasures.
Despite the prominence of her visits to her therapist, Ruby is not a neurotic character and if it were not for her panic attacks I would have questioned why she needed these visits in the first place. Instead they help serve to move Ruby forward as a character, pointing out her flaws in an objective and safe manner (as opposed to the way her peers deal with her). As for her focus on boys, it is a healthy amount that doesn't turn the book into a romance nor does it make her character come across as boy-crazy. Ruby's relationships with her two girl friends feel real even with their topical slang.
I hadn't read the previous two books about Ruby Oliver, so I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to pick this third one up. Instead of making new readers feel that they had to go back to read the first two in order to figure out what happened, E. Lockhart included enough information for new readers to have sufficient background without making those familiar with the story have to sit through a rehashing of the first two books. That was a relief as formulaic first chapters were a hallmark of the series I read as a tween--most notably The Babysitters Club. Young adult fiction is better without them despite the comfort of knowing what will probably happen.