Plot: Ruby Oliver has had a hard year. She lost her boyfriend and her best friend and became shunned as a boy-stealing slut by the entire school. She spent months in therapy to get over the panic attacks. And now it’s all happening again. Her ex-boyfriend Jackson wants her back (and she knows it’s a bad idea) but she’s crushing on Noel, who she can’t have because her friend Nora called dibs. How is she supposed to concentrate on a bake sale and work with all this boy drama?
The Treasure Map of Boys is the third Ruby Oliver book (see my reviews of The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book). Things are worse for her than ever: there a pygmy goats (with whom she corresponds), bake sales, huge ridiculous dogs, smelly feet and more boys than any girl can handle. It’s no surprise that her panic attacks have gotten worse. But Ruby recounts her tale with the same humor and play on words that I have come to know her for.
This book was hard for me at times. When things were going wrong and when people were being unfair to Ruby, I got anxious and angry along with her. Perhaps this is because her circumstances were worse or because I’ve gotten attached to her after 2 books but the emotional impact of this one was much more visceral for me. Still, ultimately, it was as fun as the other books and it was a pleasure to watch Ruby begin to stand up for herself.
If you’ve read my reviews for the previous books, you already know that I like Ruby. I won’t bore you again. This volume also really fleshes out Hutch (with whom I think I would have been good friends) and Doctor Z and merely deepened my crush on Noel (though, like Ruby in previous volumes he made some bad, hurtful choices). Lockhart has created an entire world of complex, interesting characters… even though Ruby sometimes fails to appreciate them.
Just like the treasure map that Doctor Z asks Ruby to make, this book is really more about friendship than romance. Ruby finds out what a true friend is, and that sometimes you can find them in the most unusual places, including retro-metal obsessed boys. Ruby can be a bad friend but she’s working on it and comes to realize that others having also been bad friends to her.
I continue to love Lockharts quirky high school romance. Look for my review for the final volume in the series, Real Live Boyfriends, very soon.