Title: The Boy Book
Author: E. Lockhart
Warnings: Spoilers (and I spill the ending)!
A summer has passed since TBL. Ruby Oliver is now a junior at fictional Tate Prep in Seattle, Washington. The school year brings changes: Ruby learns a secret about Noel, she forms a secret agency with Noel, she gets a job, she starts getting notes from her ex, and she goes away on a school retreat.
At school that first day back, Ruby sees Noel in her fourth-period Chemistry class. He asks her to be his lab partner, and she says yes. After class, they walk toward the cafeteria together for lunch. When they’re a few feet away from the entrance, Noel grabs her arm and drags her into the bushes where no one can see them. He reveals that he has asthma; despite this, he smokes cigarettes. Ruby asks why he smokes, and Noel says having restrictions bothers the hell out of him.
Ruby’s ex-best friend Kim is away spending a semester in Japan. First day back, everyone is talking about Kim’s epic going-away party, but nobody talks directly to Ruby. She finds out that another student (Cabbie) allegedly took a picture of Nora sitting topless in a hot tub. Ruby is pissed when she finds out, and she and Noel form a top-secret agency (Hooter Rescue Squad) to try and retrieve the pictures before they’re passed around the school. Unfortunately, they don’t succeed; Cabbie brings the pictures to school and gives copies to his friend Darcy. Ruby rips up all the ones of Nora calling Darcy a pig.
Ruby gets a job at the Woodland Park Zoo. Her therapist Doctor Z. suggested she get a job so she has something to focus on besides the badness that happened last year; if she isn’t always focused on what happened in the past, she may not have as many panic attacks. She enjoys watching the penguins; she gives a talk about their diet with some fun facts.
Ruby’s ex-boyfriend Jackson begins to write notes and leave them in her mail cubby. Throughout the book, Ruby struggles with how she feels toward him; she finds that she still has feelings for him. She knows that he isn’t the person she’d thought he was when they first started dating, but she still misses being Jackson’s girlfriend.
Ruby goes on a school trip; she goes to a tiny island off the coast of Seattle. She and her classmates watch movies and discuss philosophy. Noel leaves the trip early and won’t tell Ruby why; one of the teachers says someone in Noel’s family got sick and he had to go home. When Ruby gets home, she goes to Noel’s house to see him; she apologizes for butting into his business. Noel says he was an ass and says that he was the person who was sick. He says he’s been ignoring his asthma for awhile, but kept having taking asthma attacks on the trip. He told the teachers what was going on, and they called his parents who made him come home to see the doctor. Noel says he’s taking the pills and he’s given up smoking.
The theme in this book is right and wrong in friendship. While working at the zoo, Ruby sees Jackson with another girl; all through the book, she struggles with the idea of telling Kim or not telling Kim. For one thing, they’re not friends anymore, and Megan says it’s none of Ruby’s business. But Ruby’s not so sure. She feels an ache for Kim—for the kind of friends they used to be—and when Kim shows up at Canoe Island (she came back to Seattle because she didn’t like the exchange program; her host family was mean to her), Ruby tells her that Jackson is cheating on her. Unfortunately for Ruby, Kim doesn’t believe her.
Another way the theme is explored is when Nora tells Ruby that she likes Noel. When Ruby, Kim, Cricket, and Nora were all friends, they had all kinds of ground rules for dating because they didn’t want boys to split up their foursome, and the biggest rule was that if your friend calls dibs on a boy, she’s called dibs. Ruby realises that she also has feelings for Noel, but Nora voiced hers first. Ruby really can’t do anything about it.
I really liked this book; it was a good sequel. I like how Ruby managed to make up with one of her old friends.
Thanks for reading; I really do appreciate it.